Mary Jane for perspective; 3
I think it's a bit hypocritical of my generation to be so terribly shocked and horrified at yours for using marijuana when the use of our drug alcohol has caused so much heart break and so much disease and so much death and destruction so that I do think that our attitude is hypocritical. But I see nothing to commend marijuana I would hope that that's a kind of legislation I'm calling for would result in real controls whereas the kind of legislation presently extant is resulting as has pointed out interestingly enough by your own Doctor Leroy Augustine here is not solving the problem is not preventing usage. True marijuana on an individual can be a very important problem and I'm not a medical expert I'm an attorney and a legislator. But that's another question entirely in terms of danger to the society as a whole which we as legislators have to be concerned with. We've got to zero in on the big problems and assign
them our first priority right now marijuana laws could hardly be more rigorous or more stringent that is marijuana is regarded with a great deal of fear and loathing in their society and by our legislators and the laws are right there right now. They couldn't possibly be more rigorous unless we were to put people to death. Will the two men are Roger Craig and Dale Warner. Both are members of the Michigan legislature. Roger Craig is a state senator from Dearborn. Recently he introduced amendments to Michigan's narcotics laws that would remove marijuana from its present classification with narcotic drugs. Dale Warner is a member of the State House of Representatives during the last year Warner was the chairman of the House Special Committee on narcotics in the last 12 months both of these men have had cause to involve themselves to a considerable extent in the issue of
marijuana in this program. We will hear some of their conclusions from Mary Jane in perspective. A series of six programs about marijuana produced by Brian Reuben for Michigan State University Radio today part three. The lawmakers. Are right. Attempting to put together a series of programmes about marijuana has some drawbacks. For one thing a lot of people don't want to talk about it. Whatever excuses they might give for not participating in programs dealing with marijuana most people really refuse simply because the topic is too controversy old and in the end to jobs and life in general somehow seem to proceed much more smoothly if it's possible to avoid taking public stances on matters of controversy. The list of people who
refuse to participate in this series for example is dotted with well-known names dean of students at a major university and a scientist and researcher with an international reputation to name only two. It would seem really that politicians have the most to directly lose if they decide to express their views on unpopular or controversy all subjects because of their position is unpopular anough they can be voted out of office. And plainly if you are a politician it is much safer to oppose marijuana than to question current treatment of the drug under our laws. Why then does someone like Senator Roger Craig involve himself in a cause that he knows might jeopardize his future career in politics. I think that's the public feeling with reference to marijuana frankly springs from wells of ignorance. And addition from to a limited extent from wells of indifference I think that in my district and in most legislative
districts you say marijuana and people think heroin. They think hard narcotics and make no distinction. Educating people is a long hard process and it's very difficult for people to get upset about a misclassification if they themselves are not affected. Indeed I think it's bad politics to talk about marijuana and to talk about classifying it putting it where it belongs. It's also bad politics to talk about open housing. It's also bad politics to talk about equal employment opportunities equal opportunities to attend Michigan State University none of those are particularly good politics in my district. I've long had the feeling that too many of my colleagues are more concerned about what's good politics than about what they originally ran for the Senate for. I came up here to do the best I could and if that that means to me that I try to correct things that are obviously unjust if they that cost
re-election so be it I think it's a if I can't be up here saying what I ought to be saying and doing what I ought to be doing and calling them like I see them then who needs it. And I think it's a very important attitude that politicians could well afford to have more of it seems to me that if I'm saying what's true as I see it and are calling the shots the way I see and that's the most and least I can do. Approximately one year ago Deo Warner helped introduce a resolution in the Michigan House of Representatives that called for the creation of a special committee on narcotics to study the state's drug laws their enforcement and the use of drugs and narcotics. The resolution passed and Warner became the chairman of the committee. Now nearly one year later does Dale Warner agree that a politician might conceivably risk political suicide by involving himself in the issue of marijuana and drugs in general.
You're very correct. I might mention that one of the reasons I have primary opposition this year is because I was willing to undertake a study in this area. And surely this is an important area not as important as the war in Vietnam or the urban racial crisis or a number of other topics to which the state must assign a higher priority. But surely if everyone is convinced that the youth of the nation is running itself into the ground with drugs and losing all ambition and whatnot. Surely it's something for the legislature to concern itself with as they're fact there's no agency in government currently concerning itself with this. None whatsoever the public health department mental health department. Neither have any role to play in this the state police have a role to play in it but their role is to put people in jail. And that's hardly the most preventive necessarily or rehabilitative type activity. But if I were older and wiser. And more political I doubt very much that I would have gotten into this area
it's been very detrimental to my political career to even be willing to talk about it. And and for example at one meeting I was asked by someone why I had said that I would be open minded on the subject of penalties. And drugs and so on. And I said well because I meant I would be open minded that I would be objective and try to find out some facts. And the whole room raised up and pointed out that these drugs were evil that the question had been decided and closed and the door was to remain closed forever. Well certainly that's a point of view and that's their privilege. I was surprised I had gone into the legislature this is my first term. I'm a little bit of the idea that we were to study problems and try to see facts and change circumstances and change. And I found out that such was not necessarily the case that there are some subjects that are so horrible so threatening that it's dangerous really dangerous thing to do to even talk about them.
They all Warner says the House Committee on narcotics was formed because there seemed to be a marked increase in the number of youthful drug offenders. The committee says Warner was a study committee and it won about its work by talking with people such as law enforcement officials judges teachers health department workers the State Medical Association and people who actually use the drugs. The committee's study according to Dale Warner turned up some interesting facts concerning the adequacy of the state's drug laws and the scope of the problem regarding marijuana. Well the laws are inadequate in the sense of holding marijuana use down. Intuitively I'm sure use is becoming more and more frequent. But basically what we're finding out is that the laws about marijuana really the crucial problem the drug abuse problems in Michigan don't center around marijuana no matter what you might read or hear particularly from politicians attempting to create headlines.
What we have in Michigan and it's true in other states is that the first and most important drug of abuse is very plain alcohol. No question about it. Number of Deaths toxicity families wrecked the happiness ruined careers. Alcohol is number one and probably is as destructive and as harmful a drug as all the others that we might abuse put together. I really don't question that kind of a judgment after doing a great deal of study in this area. Secondly in terms of harmfulness we have something called nicotine and cold tars coming from tobacco. That's our number two drug both abused in both and in terms of harm. Number three we have aspirin that might sound surprising but infant mortality from drugs is chiefly caused by overuse of aspirin. In my investigations I've run into people who have take in perhaps 10 or 15 aspirin crumbled them and inject them
both of those pieces of legislation. Marijuana is included as an AR Karthik. My proposal would have removed marijuana from the category of narcotic. And what I have by a separate bill included in the legislation prohibiting U.S. on possession of dangerous drugs would have in effect lumped marijuana with like substances such as LSD and what have excluded from unlike unlike substances the hard drugs the opium derivatives and heroin and the like. Even though he had what he considered to be a fairly constructive hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Craig's amendments failed to clear committee in light of that fact does he now think that there will ever be a change in the state's treatment of marijuana as a narcotic. I think there is a chance that this kind of legislation will pass once the motivation and justification for it is understood.
I think that one of the. Things there has to be explained as part of an educational job is that marijuana does not have any of the properties of the higher drugs of heroin and so forth and that its inclusion in this legislation is the inclusion of an unlike substance with other substances which are like hard narcotics are addictive they require ever increasing doses to satisfy the user and they have various side effects which do not occur with reference to marijuana. Therefore it is appropriate as any good Birkin would agree that like things to be classified likely and unlike things we classified separately and I think that's the factual justification more than that what's happening is that the facts I've just explained to you are well-known to prosecutors police officers and judges and as a result
those agencies of government are bootlegging humanism if you will by winking at current laws which would give the dispenser of marijuana for example a minimum of 20 years. Those sentences are just not being imposed and the. Prosecutor's office the law enforcement officers and the courts are doing the legislative function in effect what they are doing are legislating by ignoring existing legislation. The investigation by the special House committee on narcotics has caused Dale Warner to reach a conclusion in some ways similar to that held by Senator Craig. He talks about the question of whether Michigan's current drug laws as they pertain to marijuana are too severe. You can make that argument that's a constitutional argument of course the idea of a. Penalty being cruel and unusual and the and different courts
have heard arguments based on that constitutional principle and have uniformly rejected it. That the legislature they feel and they'll say this in their various legislature and it's deliberation surely and wisely considered this problem and what the legislature says in general is not to be set aside by the courts. Let's not forget only talk about marijuana we're not just talking about marijuana we're talking about the so-called narcotics laws. And when you're talking about marijuana you're actually talking about the statute that governs not only marijuana but which is and euphoric you're talking about cocaine which is a stimulant and then you're talking about the narcotics the opiates morphine heroin the lauded. What have you. So we're really talking about an entire law not just a law singling out marijuana. Now you sure you can make an argument that those that those penalties are cruel and unusual. It wouldn't stand up in any court in the country probably perhaps the
United States. Supreme Court might hear an argument based on that. From a legal point of view they hear arguments based and very interesting and novel and unheard of doctrines in this case they might very well take up something like that. But I whether the. The question is odd a person be penalized to that extent. That's another question. And in point of fact very few people are ever sent to jail for 20 years. What happens is generally that the prosecutor and I'll be very blunt makes a deal and goes on this area all the time with a defense attorney and the client pleads guilty to use which is a misdemeanor and then he's given a lecture by the judge and asked in open court if a deal was made whereupon the defendant perjured himself and says no no deals or promises were made and the judge proceeds to bind the young client generally the young defendant
over to the sheriff or put them back out on bond in 30 days or some days later they come back and the young person in this case with marijuana it is a young person. He's sentenced on a misdemeanor charge. But it is funny that he's required to perjure himself in a in an open court on a record about the deal because everybody knows that that is done. Another thing is that people that use marijuana are spread throughout society. I doubt very much as a matter of fact that marijuana use is concentrated among the youth. I have lately become convinced that it may very well be centered in that same population area that abuses alcohol and fed a means and barbiturates that is the 30 to 60 year old class of people and the only problem is youth is. In terms of dealing in terms of being caught. Youth is apparently less discreet less careful and less secretive about it some law violations. But I'm beginning to question we don't have proof for this
yet but I'm beginning to question that marijuana use is centered. Either relatively or absolutely amongst the youth of the population on the last programme in this series we examined the case of Johnson Clare a man who currently faces a possible 20 year prison sentence for the sale of marijuana. Appearing with Sinclair on that programme was Judge George Crockett of Detroit recorder's court the man who was Sinclair's pretrial judge Judge Crockett gave his reasons for impaneling three judges including himself to rule on whether Sinclair would have to stand trial. And he talked about why in the end the three judges decided that Johnson Clare's arguments were not sufficient enough to prevent his being tried. Roger Craig on Johnson Clare and the decision of the three judge panel. Well now Nanette and Jason in my district in a rather fashionable suburb Oh a high school class was busted for everything from you say opposition
dispensing of marijuana. The prosecutor didn't prosecute him. The judge didn't indict him. They their parents were called in they were slapped on the wrist they were told forced to go forth and sin no more. That's because they were the children of the rich in the well-born. They were respectable otherwise respectable citizens. The law wasn't interested in in hanging a criminal record or a criminal criminal rap on them. In the Sinclair case the case you mentioned however part of Johnson Claire's problem is he runs around wearing funny clothes saying funny things wears beads and doesn't wash too frequently and that causes those of us who do all those things to feel upset by him in the first place. Well this gives us an opportunity those of us in law enforcement and those of us in the establishment gives us an opportunity to make an unequal application of the law. We get Johnson clear not for dispensing marijuana but because he upsets us generally. Laws like that are an invitation to such abuse unjust laws are an
invitation to unequal application. And that's just what's happening here if we want to make a law that says you can't wear a long hair and hippie beads and gowns and. And you can't refuse to wash if we want to make that law and let's do that and see if that's an forcible and convict Johnson player for what we're really upset about him for and not use some of the laws that we apply in one fashion for Troy High School students or Latham a village high school student. Another standard Johnson Claire I think that the decision to which you made reference that the three judge panel came up with. I was in my view a disappointing decision. I read it with interest. The judges agreed that our policy our legislative policy was unwise and it was no question in our minds we were doing the wrong thing. But I think in pretty good traditional judicial fashion they said if the legislature wants to send people to hell in a handbasket that's the
legislature's business within certain boundaries. So I think that's what that decision was all about. That has been appealed as I understand it and I suspect that one of these days we'll get a judicial determination that. You can't call a narcotic. You can't call marijuana narcotic unless it has narcotic properties since it doesn't have narcotic properties you can call America can it seems to me that it's like calling a dog a cat it just isn't a cat that's all there is to it. One of the main points being raised by Johnson clay or in his case is that the penalties for marijuana convictions in Michigan constitute cruel and unusual punishment after his work for the special House committee on narcotics does Dale Warner believe that any lessening of penalties for marijuana convictions will ever come about in this state. I don't know about marijuana I suggest frankly that penalties are going to be increased for almost every other type of drug. This year the legislature for example
made illegal possession of amphetamines and barbiturates a high circuit court misdemeanor giving rise to a maximum of a one year penalty. Pressure is on. Federal government and on state government to increase penalties for LSD to equal those of marijuana. That is an argument has been made sometimes that LSD is worse then marijuana which is an interesting argument but one that we can't get into here necessarily. And and the point then is therefore it is silly to have the marijuana penalties higher than those given for. LSD in Michigan law possession illegally marijuana is a felony giving rise to a four year sentence while of course possession of marijuana gives rise to a maximum of 10 year sentence. Well legislators didn't react to that in particular the way the proponents of legalization of marijuana wished that his bills were immediately introduced to raise the penalties for allies did equal
those of marijuana rather than reduce those of marijuana to equal those of LSD. I wouldn't predict. I know the people in my district that have communicated with me are very very frightened about the possibility of a new intoxicant. Mind damaging chromosome destroying and axe murder inciting are very much opposed to new intoxicant of this sort being Bluestone society. Many of them would be surprised at the extent to which the black market already operates within my own district as far as it is concerned to distribute this. Drug to people who want to use it. But no people in my district are very much opposed to any. Any change in the law that might be viewed as a loosening up of that law. I agree that it ought to be classified under that piece of legislation which deals with dangerous drugs. I would think that if it belongs logically with any set of
drugs it belongs with the LSD type drugs. However I am also satisfied that the evils of marijuana have been pretty significantly exaggerated. I would agree that use of marijuana by juveniles and they are the people who apparently have adopted the drug. Has no nothing to commend it. I think it's an interesting phenomenon that so many people want to use drugs that or substances that are an escape from society. And escape from society's problems and I would submit that would probably be a lot healthier. To face those conflicts which cause a guy to use marijuana. Then to instead ask even a cloud of smoke. I would say that I could take you around the bars of Lansing at 1:30. A.m. Saturday morning and show you a whole bunch of people over 21 who would be well advised to seek real solutions to their problems instead of hiding in alcohol.
The opinions of two men Roger Craig and Dale Warner Roger Craig who believes that marijuana is at most a dangerous drug and they are Warner who believes that the penalties for marijuana offenses will probably not be lessened but instead the penalties for other drug offenses will possibly be increased to bring them more in line with marijuana. A final thought by Dale Warner. I'd hoped when we began this study that we would be able to come up at the very least with an honest report detailing facts about the situation. Unfortunately most of the material we've come up with and most of the terror that we've seen written from almost any government agency has been so full of meth that I have personally arrived at a reversal of my or original ideas about truthfulness of governmental agencies and particularly federal governmental agencies because when one takes a time as any scholar should to
check the footnotes and bibliographies of these articles one finds often often mind you not just sometimes but often that the article that is cited to prove a general statement in the body of the article put out for public consumption is totally unrelated. To the general statement and in fact sometimes proves just the opposite. We often see cases too of what I like to call a pious hoax as happened in Pennsylvania where a gentleman who was blind and naturally concerned about blindness and youth because it's a terrible thing to be blind. He he produced evidence that CICS use had been blinded by staring at the sun as a result of ingesting Austine. Well these later turned out to be nonexistent you see. But the story about their nonexistence and the man's subsequent self commitment to a mental institution was buried in the very back pages. Frankly I and I think many of my committee have learned more about the face of America and the type
of society which she is willing to maintain than we have about drugs really society's concern about drugs and over use of the legal ones by anybody's anybody's measure. But our concern for some of these evil illegal ones and our pendants and some of the legal ones. Is such a paradox and such hypocrisy in some ways that it really has resulted in a kind of. Call it a paralysis of analysis. We've accumulated such a body of knowledge such we've discovered such contradictions in the oficial line. Not that everything they say is untrue but we've discovered such a willingness to bend the truth and bend the facts to produce an the end result that that I've become very concerned. Not just for young people who are using these substances and can be severely damaged
under certain circumstances by them particularly if they're sent to jail. But also by the willingness of America to sustain agencies that willfully propagate myths and then when they're disproved pass over them and generate new ones it's very frightening in many ways it suggests what the book 1984 threw at us and that is an age and in a society where governmental agencies create truth at will and frankly I discovered that some of this is generalized or can be generalized over to other institutions in our government and in our society as a people we're not particularly truth oriented. Will the participants in this program were state senator Roger Craig and State Representative Dale Warner on our next program we will examine the issue of marijuana as it is viewed by two
- Mary Jane for perspective
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- Chicago: “Mary Jane for perspective; 3,” 1969-01-03, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 29, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-k35mf502.
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