thumbnail of Mary Jane for perspective; 6
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
Blake. He's still playing every thing. Did you know. Just. Mary. Take. A plane to. We're. Going to try to. Play me. I have three. The extremely positive sentiments toward the drug marijuana that are expressed in this song are not held by a large number of people. If this series of programmes about marijuana has shown anything it is that the polarization of views about the drug is as extreme as ever. In the preceding five shows we've listened to people who believe marijuana is harmless and should be legal.
We have heard others who claim the drug causes crimes of violence and leads to heroin. And we've heard of variety of other views that range up and down the spectrum of opinion about marijuana that exists between the two poles. In this final program we will meet a man who was a member of one of the study groups for the 1967 presidential Crime Commission task force report on narcotics and drug abuse. The Crime Commission thinking about mainly because. The part I was involved in was being handled by a Cambridge research firm Arthur de little company and I ran into someone at a Cambridge dinner. The way those things usually occur who is working and I said you don't know anything about drugs why are you doing it. And he said well nobody else on the project does either. And I said why don't you consult for a few days. And I wound up as a result of that consulting for 100 days which was the duration of that project.
His name is Bruce Jackson and He currently teaches in the English department at the State University of New York at Buffalo before coming to Buffalo he was a junior fellow in folklore at Harvard and while at that school also taught a graduate seminar in drug abuse in the last two years Bruce Jackson has written two articles about drug abuse for The Atlantic magazine. Mary Jane perspective. A series of six programs about marijuana produced by Brian Reuben for Michigan State University Radio. Today Part 6. The president's report and the future. Of pro drug study were used to compile the information that resulted in the
final presidential Crime Commission report on narcotics and drug abuse. The study in which Bruce Jackson took part was concerned mainly with the law enforcement of drug abuse in this case says Jackson drug abuse is not used in the medical sense but instead to refer to the use of drugs that are illegal most of Bruce Jackson's past work in the area of drug abuse had been related to drug users. The majority of the hundred days he worked for the Crime Commission however were spent travelling around the country to see law enforcement officials. A conversation with Bruce Jackson now about his views on the issue of marijuana. We were concerned with why. Why public policy is the way it is regarding marijuana abuse. I mean everyone everyone who can read knows that the dangers to health and to other people from. Addicting drugs like alcohol and
cigarettes are far greater than any of the cannabis derivatives. And we wondered why the positions of the penalties regarding marijuana are perfectly savage there in our federal code for example there are only two other offenses that have mandatory minimums and that's treason and kidnapping. And then and then comes drugs. You seem kind of hysterical and we thought we'd inquire what are the main causes and there were four or five things that all the law enforcement people gave that they subscribe to variously that if some took two or three and said this is it and the others are nonsense and some say it's this one sums that it's all five. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics of course says it's cool. And what are these. One is that it leads to addiction to what they call harder drugs which is a metaphor I've never quite understood because how she should certainly harder physically than heroin is it leads to addiction it leads to sexual
promiscuity it leads to violence it leads to other kinds of crimes it leads to automobile accidents. One of the bill accidents is the most recent and I think it's a response to research that finally permeated government activities research that. Demonstrated pretty well those other four were nonsense. And we tried to check out each of them. And as I said most of our findings were negative in that what we found was most of those characteristics for reasons I'll tell you about in a moment are simply weren't there with regard to sexual promiscuity that seems to be the great bugaboo with deviance anyway. People seem to worry a great deal that other people are going to take their clothes off. I never quite understood that but that was there. And we found pretty much the same thing at the LaGuardia Commission found 25 years ago. That is that the kind of inhibition cannabis releases is not a physical inhibition.
It's a mental one. In fact it's mainly oral one that is people talk people talk a great deal. People sit around and talk about lots and lots of things of great length with relatively little coherence but they don't get very dynamic. People may talk about sex but they seem to be far less likely. And this is hard to empirically demonstrate at this point. It's just that there's no evidence to the contrary. They seem to be far less likely to get up take their clothes off hop into bed and they are under the influence of alcohol or perhaps even straight. There's simply no evidence anywhere that cannabis leads to sexual excess. A lot of people who point out that if you happen to be high on cannabis that is marijuana or hashish or to Ross It makes sex more pleasurable. But so do soft lights appropriate background music which is you know that's really not the question at all as far as leading to activity that would not
occur otherwise there's just no data anywhere in the world for certain doubt of the contrary that is in India. Certain researchers have found that prostitutes who used to get stoned on hashish before going to work now with the liberalization regarding alcohol get stoned on alcohol because they find alcohol helps them do their work better. OK so the sexual one was out as far as physical violence. And they're about five or six atrocity stories that have been around since about 934 33 when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics really started its concentrated propaganda drive against cannabis. And those stories of change very little of the same ones still pop up that is someone will give a speech somewhere and say consider the following of that money doesn't tell you is it happened 30 years ago. A and B that there's no way of knowing. First whether the guy had marijuana anyhow and second whether that was the controlling variable
we found in. If you look through murders for example about the one thing that makes murder likely in a violent situation is people drinking booze. We don't find any alcohol in any any and any murders we could ascribe to cannabis. We found no fights we could ascribe to cannabis. As I said it is the inhibition that releases verbal. People don't get violent that way on the stuff so that was out leading to other kinds of crime. But that seems to have derived from or some of the other atrocity stories both connected with violence and sex that is a gang of kids who go out and rape someone or something like that. Again what we tended to find was that it would be people who were going out to rape someone who were in the car on the way. We would be turning on and the grass hadn't changed their minds at all it was just like having the car radio on it was something else you were doing to keep you in the
mood. As far as going on to hard narcotics that is what they call hard narcotics meaning opiates. We found law enforcement officers are often very sincere and very good at their job. I simply don't know the difference between statistics and numbers you know and numbers are something anybody can play with statistics take a great deal of training and they didn't have it and they tended to confuse causality and kind of competency. And if two things happen to occur in a great frequency together they assumed one cause the other. They knew that in the thirties and forties a lot of heroin addicts had used marijuana before and therefore this great absurdity grew up that marijuana led to heroin. And this is like saying kissing leads to prostitution. It's very likely that there are no prostitutes around who have never been kissed. However. So what it turns out of course is that the areas with the highest
heroin incidence are also the areas in those days with the greatest marijuana use but there are also the areas with the greatest alcohol use. I've met a lot of heroin addicts who never use marijuana I have met one who never used milk and you could use the same kind of lousy statistics to do it. And the thing that really puts that into the absurd perspective it deserves is what's going on now. Where the tremendous portion of the population using marijuana with a great deal of regularity and it's a population with just about no opiate addiction whatsoever just doesn't exist. So that's out. Then the final one was automobile accidents and this seemed to us to be kind of a desperate grab because if you look at automobile accidents if cannabis ever approach alcohol as far as its relation there would be a staggering achievement. So we look for evidence of cannabis connected accident we can find anything anything we found was someone told us about around San Diego. There are a lot of wrecks on the
road coming from two Wanna up to San Diego with kids four or five in the morning who are coming back soon. But there was these are kids who had spent the night in her house and in bars you know they went down the previous afternoon they had been asleep for a day and. Very surprising that they wrecked their cars coming back. So they said before the evidence that we found this was negative we just didn't find those evil things. In one of the articles you wrote you mention kind of a curious relationship between narcotics police officers and most of the big cities you've visited and the junkies and the people they work with is there a similar relationship between and I caught ex police officers and marijuana users or is there more hostility. There's a lot more hostility and there's a very good reason for this. The hurling addicts I've met in most cities tend to come from very much the same socioeconomic background as motorcycle gangs and policeman. That is
you go through a block of kids in a certain neighborhood in New York or certain parts of Buffalo and tried to determine who's going to be what. You can't say who's going to be what but you can bet that a certain portion are going to belong to the road vultures. A certain portion is going to belong to the police department a certain portion are going to be hung up on alcohol or drugs and I don't know of any personality test right now that will differentiate among them but I rather suspect that none will. That it doesn't really matter that that any of those agencies serves approximately the same kind of personal needs. Now that's that's the heroin people marijuana people are very different in that marijuana is as you may know it's become in the last five years especially in the last three. An astounding middle class activity. It was for a short time an astounding middle class youth activity from about that's 68 now from about
64 to 66 or so it sort of just swept across campuses I finished graduate school in 63. And marijuana use was still fairly anomalous someone was way out if he was turning down even even irregularly. And that's that's just gone now. And I and I spent a lot of time to a lot of colleges around the country. Well a lot of those kids have graduated. And a lot of them go into places where they can't connect for drugs anymore and don't use it or don't have the situation that is if you're at a party where everybody's drinking booze you're not going to smoke marijuana but a lot of them have maintained contacts. So it's sort of metastasized through the young middle class. And this is an area that police departments. Have just about nothing to do with so the kind of symbiosis the kind of first the reason a symbiosis develops with heroin addicts is first because people come from a common background anyhow. Second because the policeman to be a narcotics policeman has to be able to live in the world of the junkie and he really has to be able to dig it. He may loathe them. He may beat them up when he
arrests them but he's very dependent on them. He's very dependent on them for a kind of psychic sustenance that I find very peculiar. He doesn't find that psychic sustenance in these middle class kids because first of all they're too smart for him. You know too many words. One of the things I found out talking to two federal narcotics people and police and judges and that for this is that there doesn't seem to be any set pattern for trying people in other words that will be a raid there was a raid in Detroit for example where 50 some people were arrested about a year and a half ago. And there are federal narcotics people Detroit police narcotics people state police FDA people involved in it. And when I asked the director of the federal narcotics bureau for Michigan Ohio and Kentucky how they decided what laws to prosecute people under when there were so many against the drug he said that essentially this differs from state to state they'll prosecute under whatever law in whatever court they think will give the stiffest sentence is this something that's common
across the country. This is to a point that is there's this sort of united to be a narcotics cop you have to believe that drugs and narcotics cop now includes everything from the amphetamine tablet to or Pavin to be one of these you have to believe that this stuff does as much damage as you tell people it. You know so this sort of dedicated you know many people it was kind of a surprise to me working that crime commission job how many people I met doing that I really liked you I mean who are who are real people that knocked out a lot of my cliches is kind of upsetting. You know some honest sincere people who just happen to have some wrong information is the basis of their operation. And you get people who really believe that they're forming performing a vital public service. What they're doing and that where that service lies is getting certain people off the streets and they do operate that way. That is they'll they'll decide who who among us on this raid can lock this joker away for the most
time except if that particular agency hasn't had any good busts lately or feels it needs publicity for some reason or other in which case they all sort of scramble for who's going to get in the papers as having made the case by ascribing different motives for people's using marijuana such as you know a desire to belong to an in crowd and not being able to face reality things like that are people over complicating the reasons for a lot of perhaps middle class use of the drug. There are no overcomplicating it but they're moving I think to the wrong area of intellectual activity. They're oversimplifying it. First of all. There's very little adult behavior and I feel when somebody is over 20 he's pretty much moving into the adult world that you can wrap up by a sentence or two like that and you know anybody in social science knows that there are number of deviant activities that really serve important social functions. They keep people from getting screwed up in a lot of other ways
it would be a lot more troublesome motorcycle gangs for example which usually house under a kind of phony shelter a lot of people who are screwed up in a lot of ways. And it lets them have a deviant role that doesn't trouble society too much they have their thing and you break up these gangs and usually find a year or two the very same people are getting into kinds of trouble that hurt a lot of people. Well for a lot of people drugs or marijuana lets them handle certain deviant proclivities that's for South for others I think you're right they are over complicating because for a lot who perceive marijuana in the same category as some people perceive a cocktail that is as a as a relaxin that you use when you have a three or four hour party going. It is a very trivial experience. The only part that's not trivial is dealing with the police. However I can't look upon it as as simple an activity as I would like
to because when intelligent adult engage in an activity that they know can get them locked up in jail for a month for a year for five years I wonder what other functions are being served. And you know and then there just has to be a whole bunch of them a little a little bit of a lot of defiance I guess is something we all do and it's kind of healthy in a way to you know in the most outrageous thing about the marijuana penalties it's a very I'd really like to see it a little bit legal. Like about $5 fine. One point that you that you make is that we're increasingly living in a drug oriented society right hand and society now placed in this context in your view. Do you think marijuana use is as great a cause for concern say or even as serious as the other implications of this whole scene. Oh no. You know considering if I were to consider all the drugs that are being used in a large scale right now.
I really think that marijuana is probably the most sensible and I mean that in several directions. First as far as intoxicants go it's the healthiest that is unlike alcohol it's got no calories unlike alcohol it doesn't dissolve the front end of your brain unlike outgo or it doesn't get you violent unlike alcohol it doesn't lead to addiction. When I consider the drugs that are be being used for certain kinds of either self or even medically prescribed kind of therapy reasons on outrageous scale such as of amphetamines and barbiturates. No one is extremely innocent. I know lots of people who can't sleep without a couple sleeping pills. You know they're really hung up and strung out and then a lot of people can't make it through a day without a tranquilizer. I know television cannot make it through an hour without at least one drug commercial. I know a lot of people who can't. Not over stuff there without even phantom and. And then if they go off in Phantom and then only over stuff they're got but they're
nasty irritable. Cranky and bored. This seems to me that all those people are far more hung up strung out screwed up and Balak stuff than anybody I know on grass. Now I know some people on marijuana who are troubled you know who are sorely troubled. However if the old can come in some causality thing that is. I tend to find people I know who get strung out with marijuana or hashish or people who are strung out you know who happened to after a certain point have used that and it's irrelevant as a causal factor for drugs for entertainment. You know we're living in a society where every day you're being given these luscious and cheese to use chemicals to make you more acceptable to the world. Every time you turn on the tube or open a magazine there's something that will tell you to make you healthy. Why is wealthy successful sexy you know something a chemical will do this for you. And so when
kids come along it's because it makes me feel good. Period. I really hardly find this perverse. Many of the very frank opinions held by Bruce Jackson did not show up in the presidential Crime Commission report on narcotics and drug abuse. The final report did however contain some interesting statements for example regarding the effects of marijuana. The report says marijuana is equated in law with the opiates but the abuse characteristics of the two have almost nothing in common. The opiates produce physical dependence. Marijuana does not. Both can lead to psychic dependence but so can almost any substance that alters the state of consciousness and the relationship between marijuana and crimes of violence the report says that the
opinions as to whether the drug causes crime are beyond reconciliation with neither opinion provable. A likely hypothesis says the report is that given the accepted tendency of marijuana to release inhibitions the effect of the drug will depend on the individual and the circumstances. It might but certainly not necessarily or inevitably lead to aggressive behavior or crime. The response depends on the individual not the drug. Because evidence shows that marijuana does not alter the basic personality structure. The charge that marijuana leads to the use of addicting drugs needs to be critically examined says the report. Evidence shows that most heroin users who come to the attention of public authorities have had experience with marijuana. But there are too many marijuana users who do not graduate to heroin and too many heroin addicts who never used marijuana to support the idea that there is a causative relationship between
marijuana use and heroin addiction. Moreover says the report there is no scientific basis for such a theory. The basic text on pharmacology Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of therapeutics states that marijuana habituation does not lead to the use of heroin. The main thing that is needed at this time says the task force report is more research much more research about the drug marijuana whether the advice will be taken remains to be seen through the years studies that have taken exception to or at least questioned the wisdom of some of the ingrained beliefs held by people in this country about the Maryada evils of marijuana have usually been shunted aside and ignored. The LaGuardia study of 1944 is a prime example. One thing does seem for certain however the task force report on narcotics and drug abuse has not measurably changed the view of law enforcement officials in this country.
On the first program in this series Ross Ellis the head of the federal narcotics bureau for Michigan Ohio and Kentucky expressed his views about the drug that is used in experimentation with marijuana and other drugs it is an epidemic but it's getting so close to somebody that I have been down with on it with both feet in order. To legalize marijuana. It would be something like. Hell some mining and or diseased harlot. And then standing around looking like a little boy to bed it is a Wherever he may. I don't know a single redeeming feature about the drug marijuana. It does seem highly unlikely that marijuana will ever be legalized in this country. One reason for this opinion is that in 1967 the United States Senate ratified a new international convention on narcotics known as the single convention on narcotic drugs it was ratified by
fifty eight countries and provide stiffer controls on the sewing reaping processing packaging importing export ing and selling of narcotics and listed in the provisions of this convention is marijuana. Perry and slinger the man many people say is responsible for marijuana as having been made illegal in the first place back in the 1930s. Notes that because of the convention the issue of marijuana is locked up so tightly they'll never change the law. Perhaps they won't at least as far as making the drug legal is concerned. But along with its plea for more research about marijuana the president's Crime Commission task force report on narcotics and drug abuse also expressed serious reservations about the severity of our laws against the drug. The commission says that state and federal laws calling for mandatory minimum sentences need to be re-evaluated and sentencing discretion should be given to judges.
One of the law enforcement officials question for this series claims that the strict laws about marijuana poses no problem because they're seldom if ever applied. This may be true but the presence of the severe marijuana penalties might be likened to a country with empty prison camps whose government tells the citizens not to worry because the camps are not used. Maybe they aren't used but their very existence alone would appear to be more than enough justification for concern. The president's report and the future the concluding program. Mary Jane in perspective. A series of six programs about marijuana produced by Brian Reuben for Michigan State University Radio. This is the national educational radio network.
Mary Jane for perspective
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-q23r0m7m).
No description available
Social Issues
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-8-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:33
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Mary Jane for perspective; 6,” 1969-01-21, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Mary Jane for perspective; 6.” 1969-01-21. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Mary Jane for perspective; 6. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from