TRUE ROMANCE / CONFESSIONS
(An Editorial Opinion)
While technically classifiable as distinct genres, almost all women's/girls magazines seem to follow the same literary patterns. As it was assumed that women (in general), had more free reading time on their hands, the stories seem to be longer. And in general, while Reefer Madness stories are Reefer Madness stories, there was a lot less emphasis on 'Naked Girls Jumping Out of Windows' and more on; 'He Done Me Wrong,' stories. And oh, if only he hadn't been a Medical Marihuana addict, this would never have happened. Etc. The shame, the disgraces of it all etc.
The following provides us with a good example of a non fictional Reefer Madness article written specifically for a female audience. Note how it pretty much looks like any other Reefer Madness article except that the sex angle is toned down quite a bit.
– Feb. 1942 - Published by the Farrell Publishing Corp. 350 East 22nd St. Chicago Ill.
“What Marijuana Can Do to You” By George Ford (page 19)
ON AUGUST 4, 1940, a hotel room in Spokane, Washington was turned into a shambles by a ruthless slayer. An old harmless man was battered to death ----so battered that his body was almost unidentifiable. The murderer, 26-year old Joseph Mines, after committing the crime, leaped to an alley about 30 feet below without injury.
It was revealed that a short time prior to the crime Mines had smoked two marijuana cigarettes. He claimed at his trial that they had crazed him and that he had no memory of the deed.
There is hardly anyone who hasn't heard of marijuana at one time or another; but few of us have ever been in a position to sample the effects of this insidious drug. Yet the country is dotted with peddlers selling "reefers," and the plant itself is so hardy and so common that it can often be found growing wild nearly anywhere in the United States -particularly in those sections where there are heavy summer rains. It is a husky perennial and can be found in vacant lots, parks, and even in your own back yard. In its cultivated state it sometimes attains a growth of about 16 feet. It has from 5 to 11 sharp, pointed, gracefully shaped leaves which are from 1 to 6 inches long. These leaves have sawlike edges and are covered with fine hairs which can be detected by the sense of touch. When it is in bloom it has several clusters of white flowers. In 1939 alone, approximately 19 million acres of land in the United States were cleared of marijuana.
THE PLANT FIBER is used for such products as cloth, floor covering and cordage, while the flowers and leaves are the source of the drug itself. Marijuana is known by many nicknames, the most common being reefers, sticks, tea, grass, muggles, mootah, gritos, mary warners, hashish, and cannabis, which is its pharmaceutical name.
It has frequently been called the crime drug," yet it is unknown to what extent marijuana can be blamed for a greater number of crimes than any other intoxicant. Like liquor, it tends to break down inhibitions and give sway to natural impulses that are ordinarily held in check. There is no doubt that crime would decrease if the illicit sale of marijuana, and the vice resulting from it, were stamped out.
LET'S take up a few of the common questions most frequently asked about this drug and its effects: I have heard tales of peddlers operating around high schools and universities. Is it true that my son or daughter might unknowingly smoke a reefer?
That depends on your youngster. Peddlers do operate around high schools and colleges, but in most cases, the young "victims" are not so innocent as they have been made out. Anyone who smokes a marijuana cigarette generally knows he is doing exactly that and is doing it because he wants to. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred they are crude, homemade affairs tucked in at each end so that the coarse, greenish weed will not fall out. This in itself should signify that there is something out of the ordinary. Occasionally standard cigarettes are dipped in the essence of marijuana and dried, or are partly filled with the weed, but they are easily recognized by the heavy, pungent odor and taste, if nothing else. This should be enough to make any normal youngster suspicious.
A peddler may approach a youth smoking a cigarette and try to sell him a new kind "with a special kick to it." In that way the youngster who already smokes ordinary cigarettes is easier prey than the one who doesn't. But it does not necessarily follow that the non-smoker will not become addicted to marijuana---any more than you can say that the person who doesn't drink beer cannot become a drunkard. A youngster's real innocence lies, not in his inability to recognize the drug, but in his ignorance of what its results may be.
Can a person become addicted to marijuana?
This depends entirely upon what is meant by addiction. There is certainly a mental addiction to the drug, but marijuana is in no way physically habit-forming. Determination of physiological addiction to any drug is based upon its withdrawal effects. There will be nervous symptoms, as in the case of cigarettes, but there is none of the wracking withdrawal torture in the case of marijuana as there is with opium and its derivatives such as morphine.
What would happen if I should smoke a marijuana cigarette?
The truth is, no one on earth can tell exactly how you will react because marijuana affects different people differently. Perhaps you could smoke several cigarettes without feeling any acute effects. In general, though, one drag to one stick will produce the following effects within a period of 15 minutes to half an hour:
Feeling of exhilaration. You want to sing, you want to dance, you want to giggle---and you do. Your heart and pulse speed up. You wave your hands as your speech vainly tries to keep up with the abnormal flow of thought. There is a feeling of lightness, such as one girl experienced as she "walked out" on a reefer party. Believing she could float, she walked out of a window and plunged to her death quite a few stories below.
Feeling of depression. This depression may be an accentuation of a depression felt before indulgence in the drug and may result in the frenzied kind of panic which is the basis for many urges to suicide and assault.
A great many crimes---and this is as true of any other intoxicant as of marijuana----are due to the fact that a person under the influence may imagine that someone is about to do or, already has done him harm. This delusion is frequently acted upon, for the intoxicate feels compelled to obey his instinct for preservation, and there is another knifing, shooting or beating on the police records. In many cases, when the enormity of the crime is realized, suicide is the happy ending.
Sense of mental brilliance, Fitzhugh Ludlow wrote in his Confession in 1860, "the sublime avenues in spiritual life, at whose gates the soul in its ordinary state is forever blindly groping, are opened wide by hashish." Recent scientific research has proved that this mental excitation is a delusion caused by a speedup of the thought processes, and that the emotional stimulation has nothing to do with increased powers of thought or understanding. This speed-up of the thought processes frequently results in mental confusion.
Visual distortion. California recently passed a law making it a felony to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. This was done because time is slowed and space tends to be extended while you are under the influence of the drug, thus making it impossible to gauge distance or speed.
This time and space distortion makes a second seem like a minute, a minute an hour. A matchstick on the sidewalk might look like a log; a crack in the sidewalk, a chasm. More than this, you believe your eyes. Sometimes ordinary colors take on vivid hues and strange shapes. You may have a feeling of great beauty and an elongated sense of perspective. You may also see flying masses of unusually vivid color.
Lack of censorship ability. Destruction of inhibitions. Here is one of the deadliest effects of any intoxicant. Under normal circumstances, when you are urged by instinct or emotion to give way to violence, you are held from it by mental censorship which does not allow the emotion or instinct expression.
Inhibitions are likewise destroyed. An impulse which normally Would be restricted or suppressed is allowed full action---which is the reason for the sex crimes, murders and violence which we so often read about in the papers.
Muscular reaction. Under the influence, of marijuana you may seem able to perform feats which otherwise you could not. And you may feel physically stronger. You can go without food or sleep for long periods at a time.
Can marijuana cause insanity?
In the United States, because of our strict narcotic enforcement, this cannot be said to be true. In Egypt, however, its widespread use is considered by some people to be one of the major causes of insanity.
If marijuana is habitually used you might reach a toxic stage---as you would if you habitually used any other intoxicant. At this point anything might happen---with or without the drug.
Is it true that marijuana is used by musicians?
In some cases, yes, but not by musicians alone. Because marijuana produces the effect of lengthening time, it seems to the person using it---in this case the musician---that the musical tempo is slowed, that he has a longer time to play each note. However, his playing is usually sloppy and sounds better than usual to no one but himself. [more] . .
WANT TO KNOW MORE:
Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are displayed. If you would like to obtain more information, feel free to contact the museum. All our material is available (at cost) on CD-Rom format.