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You think you got it. Then. This recording of abuse of bike it was made in 1936 and as such it was one of the first songs to tell about the world of the Cannabis sativa plant and its primary acts or act in this country marijuana more than 30 years have passed since this record was made those years obscene many more songs written about marijuana and they've also seen a great variety in the kinds of people choosing to act as opponents and proponents of the drug. Today in the late 1960s marijuana is the center of more
controversy than ever before this use an experimentation with marijuana and other drugs it is an epidemic but it's getting so close to somebody that may have come down on it with both feet in order to legalize marijuana. It would be something like. Calcium mining in a diseased heart and then sending around looking like a little Bo-Peep to spread a disease wherever she may. I don't know a single redeeming feature about the drug marijuana marijuana the nature of marijuana such that once you get turned onto it and you cut through you know by experiencing it for itself you cut through all the stories and all the rumors and all the reports of the. Official Bureau circulate. Well it's just so pleasurable and so enjoyable that people are converted to instantly and that would be the biggest factor in the widespread growth of of of
people who are using it because it is so pleasurable and then all you have to do is be made aware of it all you have to do is get your hands out when I was going to college you couldn't you couldn't get in. Now you know just about anybody going to college I would imagine not just about anybody but the people who do want to smoke marijuana usually can get their hands on. The two men you just heard are examples of the extreme polarization that exists today over the issue of marijuana. The first speaker was Ross Ellis the director of the federal narcotics bureau for Michigan Ohio and Kentucky. And the second was John Sinclair a poet and writer. Between the poems represented by these two men why many opinions about marijuana as it affects our society today. In this series of radio programs we will examine the issue of marijuana through the eyes of doctors university officials the federal narcotics bureau the police
proponents researchers and law makers. And in the end perhaps we will arrive at a better perspective. Mary Jane in perspective a series of six programs about marijuana produced by Brian Reuben for Michigan State University Radio. Today Part One. The civil authority. In most parts of the United States it is called grass or pot. But it is also referred to as joy t. Bu jive and Mary Jane. Marijuana derives from the flowering tops and leaves of the hemp plant cannabis sativa which has been cultivated for centuries throughout the world as a source of rope and cloth fibers birdseed oils and medicines. One of the first references to the drug occurred almost 3000 years before the birth of Christ. When the
Chinese emperor Shan nung described it in a book about pharmacy he recommended the medicine from the cannabis plant for female weakness God rheumatism constipation and absent mindedness. In the United States cannabis sativa has been harvested for years. George Washington cultivated the plant in his garden and his diary indicates that he used it for purposes other than as a source of fiber hemp was an important crop for most planters and colonial and post revolutionary America in the 19th century a rope made from hemp ribbon sailing ships all over the world and the wagons of this country's pioneers were covered with hemp fabric. Until 1937 a liquid extract of marijuana was available in the United States from several large drug companies. It was sold by prescription. Up to the 1930s the government paid little heed to marijuana during the
Depression years however the grogs popularity began to grow as a result of this increasing popularity the federal narcotics bureau and its director Harry M. slinger began a drive to outlaw the drug as an outgrowth of their activity. Congress passed the marijuana tax act in 1937 an act that imposed severe penalties on both sellers and buyers of marijuana. The arguments offered by the Bureau were that marijuana was a killer drug that it brought about crimes of violence and sexual excess and that it led to insanity. Essentially these same arguments are presented by the federal narcotics bureau today. First marijuana a potent dose age or overdose age. Leads to psychotic acts acts of violence crimes of violence and one of the unusual features is that
quite often none of the influence of marijuana a person who had no prior history or record of being inclined toward psychotic acts or an act of violence will commit such an act or such a crime. As some researchers have stated it induces a kind of madness. It distorts your perceptions of time space and others to a degree that an individual that the milquetoast type of person may become somewhat of a lion. He may commit an act that is completely foreign to his normal nature. There's an awful lot of statements and some of these people with these highly impressive credentials. So the fact that marijuana does not cause psychotic acts of crimes of violence or acts of violence as a result of this
a little over a month ago we just practically discontinued Forsman as a three state area. But every agent go out. And check with almost every city in the three states in fact every city within the three state of over 50000 population for acts of violence psychotic crimes committed at the end close by either a bitch o users or admittedly under the influence of marijuana. We received a number of so many that I cut this report down to a 12 page summary of about four to nine line summaries of these individual crimes in the three state area. And I can find it to stabbings shootings murders and rape and the result was 12 pages closely typed it in the 49 line summaries of crimes of this type
and this only covered in 1966 and 1967. Even we were surprised at the number of crimes committed in this category. Ross Alice in the years since the marijuana Tax Act was passed the federal narcotics bureau has offered an additional argument in its case against marijuana. The argument is that the drug leads to more dangerous drugs such as heroin. The second very compelling reason why I feel it's dangerous is that. Most hard narcotic users and that would be heroin in the main as heroin is the drug of choice among addicts in this country. Eight to nine out of 10. Frankly admit that they graduated from the use of marijuana to the use of heroin or the other drugs. And this is not that there's
any real causative factor in the drug itself in other words. People who take the other side of this problem will say there is no causation between the use of marijuana and the use of heroin. Well there is nothing about the drug marijuana that gives you a particular appetite for the drug heroin. But it's a matter of fact that if you start using marijuana hanging about associating with people who use these hard drugs they will introduce it to you. Number two if you continue to use marijuana you develop an appetite for a stronger drug a drug that even more euphoric. And it's just a matter of fact that. 70 to 80 percent of the headaches in this country did begin with marijuana. The people in this controversy say well didn't they also use a has been allowed to
play on words. They also probably drank milk but I don't think either the milk or the aspirin led to the use of hard drugs. Well marijuana has several effects nother one. Number one the end of a this is Lieutenant Walter Scott head of the registry detail for the Detroit police narcotics because is that the individual can boast and shout sing and dance and he sometimes has a wanton disregard for the rights of others you will literally walk right over you if given the opportunity. Now this individual can commit crimes. While under the influence of this particular drug or. Can come in smoke while committing these particular type of crimes and there are we are now beginning to accumulate instances where the use of marijuana
has led to. Particularly dangerous crimes. Secondly the any other type of effect is that the individual relaxes the. Smoking Wireless-N sation is are stimulated and he often describes beautiful sights and people dancing in trees dancing. Now this individual lacks a drive necessary for everyday living. He ceases to be a productive member of society. He becomes a lifeguard tick in his thinking and his actions. Such as student who. Puts off his studies. Well one day and then maybe a little while later I'll put him off two days and pretty soon fails in his studies because he has used this particular type of drug. No next the use of this drug affects the central nervous system
which is the mind and spinal. Cord. This produces a distortion of both space and time. Space seems further away than it normally is and time seems slower so that the individual who is driving a car would be a menace to everyone on the road and pot parties or little smoking sessions do take place in cars. This to me is dangerous for all of society not only just the individual user. One of the arguments offered by opponents of our current marijuana laws is that the federal narcotics bureau and police departments all over the country spend too much time on marijuana cases and too little time dealing with other more dangerous drugs such as heroin. I'd say we spend today about possibly 35 40 years of age and time on the street.
In an average month it would be spent on marijuana enforcement as against possibly 5 to 10 percent of our time. Three years ago four years ago or back to back in 65 we seized and purchased and were pretty active throughout the state. Forty four kilograms of marijuana nationally for their sisters four of five or eight kilograms we don't see. The following year it ran about 70. Last year it jumped to almost 200 199 kilograms. This means that you've got and this would be borne out the police record to cull from high schools colleges people who are coming in contact with the users and sellers. There's been an increase in the use and experimentation distribution of marijuana here. About something between 400 to 500 percent.
That's a lot. And the horrible thing that goes along with this thing and I regard as so dangerous is that back in or in the 1950s say after 1956 we ran about. 30 to 50 new addicts a month coming to our attention. I'm talking about in the state of Michigan. And this was borne out by our Kentucky but I'll take measure of this decrease with the mandatory penalties with the stiffer laws and couldn't foresee this decrease to the point where in 61 two and three we were running between 8 to 10 I think in 1963 11 new addicts per month were coming to the attention of policing ourselves wholly in the cities when in the state of Michigan this increased in 1957 the calendar year to 19 plus new addicts coming to our attention. I have no way of proving that
this use and experimentation of marijuana led directly to this increase in diction. But you know it's the case here we had a decrease for years and years for 10 years. Privately or more when the ten years would be about an eight year period where your new antics coming your tension were dropping your heroin traffic had dropped about 35 to 40 percent. Now you've got new addicts coming here tension in and godly number of these are under 21 years of age. In fact nationwide we had an increase in 67 of new addicts under 21 game the attention of the bureau throughout the nation increase over the like in any prior year for many many years past and most of these that are coming to our attention today are 25 24. The Detroit Police Department has also seen an increase in the use of marijuana in
Detroit in the last few years. Lieutenant Scott caused the increase alarming and disagrees with those who suggest that the police spend too much time on marijuana cases all narcotic drugs and this includes marijuana. There all have the same importance. No fact. Marijuana is a more serious problem at the present time than heroin. There are a lot more people using this particular type of drug and sense. There are more people and it would affect more individuals their lives in the future their jobs that they hold. This is as important to us now as heroine. Both men lean toward sociological explanations in discussing the increased popularity of the drug.
In part a lot of youngsters and I think in all sincerity would say between the age of about 13 to 22 they don't accept the old precepts the old rules and regulations they don't take verbatim what their parents tell them or what other add adults tell them. There's sort of a total rebellion greater than anything I've seen in my lifetime. And to some degree I think they are really trying to project to a better world than we adults they have produced and in their stead to some degree they have my sympathy. But and I think this used in experimentation with drugs is just one more manifestation that they are not willing to accept the word of. They had also and I just be one more adult saying don't do this thing that this is bad they want it they want it proven. I'm certain the one thing they're not going to project a better world by accepting the
crutch of any legend drug and I know it was marijuana LSD VMT any legend drug any prescription drug. It's meant for medicinal use is a danger. A terrific danger to you physically psychologically. There is a dependence on almost any of these drugs. They could just literally ruin your life. The average youngster I think tries marijuana. Does not continue to use he tries that he get tired he doesn't get high as the case may be. And that's the end of it. But you've got a few youngsters that are emotionally unstable for one reason or the other they have an appetite for this sort of thing and it does give them a feeling of well-being sometimes find beyond that and they stay with it. And if they stay with it long enough they'll graduate to harder drugs. Myself I believe it's probably some kind of a social phenomenon. Such is
experienced when the. Volstead Act was. Passed and people found out that it. Was illegal and. There has been more. Newspaper magazine articles TV and radio programs and interviews with the individuals who. Espouse the abuse of this particular drug and the younger generation. The 16 to 21 year olds. Have felt they want to be in the. In with the in crowd and as such they've. Taken up the use of this particular drug. In any case involving drugs and marijuana there are likely to be several agencies involved. The federal narcotics bureau the Food and Drug Administration's Bureau of Drug Abuse Control which just merged with the federal
narcotics bureau customs agents local police and state police. Likewise there are state and federal laws on the books dealing with marijuana offenses. What guidelines do authorities use in deciding how to prosecute a case. Ross Ellis this varies residence in Ohio. For a number of reasons we have been probably taking 80 90 percent of our cases into state court. There we don't have many agents as we have two agents and pleading with the 12 man city in our county squad. We necessarily work together. We take most for a case in the state court their sentences frankly have been more substantial and there are quite a graphic taking the heroin traffic has decreased in Ohio since 1955. I would say 85 to 90 percent
in Michigan your interstate major sources of supply usually end up in federal court. Some of these quite often and conspiracy cases it's difficult to prosecute a conspiracy case under the current uniform drug act of Michigan. And most wheeling major violators are prosecuted in conspiracy cases here in federal court. This determination is pretty well made between this office and the United States Attorney's Office and the police department and their prosecutors. We're not seeking to make cases against users I mean we seek to make cases most of our cases marijuana is not possession cases. There are civil cases. The only thing is that we came out and say made purchases of evidence through you. Let's say you're a violator was selling have pounds or pounds or Cantor Manta boxes and through you we were trying to reach some more major violator.
We probably make a case on you solely for the purpose of stopping you and getting your cooperation against yours. While sources supplied if you're a minor violator and if you're a youngster if we handle to you through the court it would be probably through the youth correction today. Basically you're just a user distributing it to a few other users that you are selling in pounds. If you were a first time violator our lawyer would provide a pretty substantial mandatory penalty for sale if you don't have a past record of phone. If you're not a substantial major interstate traffic we would probably charge you with possession so state be able to give you a probationary sentence
a lesser sentence more in proportion to your status in the traffic. Or we might turn you over to state court. You could be handled even on an addiction basis. It's just a user. We sure as the devil do not bring in our youngsters and handle them under some 5 to 20 year minimum maximum mandatory penalty. Number one the U.S. attorney's office wouldn't permit it. We wouldn't gain anything by those mandatory penalties are. Held to the letter to the major interstate trafficker who is deserving of that I said. If we didn't believe that we'd lose a lot of the activities of agencies such as the federal narcotics bureau and police departments such as Detroit's have not proven to be completely successful to Terence against the use of marijuana for men like Ross Ellis and Walter Scott there are
still too many people willing to risk arrest and imprisonment in order to indulge in marijuana. Many opponents of the drug believe that use can eventually be reduced through educational programs that tell people of the dangers involved in the use of marijuana. Ross Ellis comments about such educational programs and offers an opinion about the future. I think to go out and just discuss this thing try to do it on a preventative educational basis. To some degree I think we waste our time. I want to have a school basis maybe this is good with a lot of youngsters in college. You can reach them. They do listen. But with this hardcore group that have just pretty well made up their mind they're going to use drugs and they don't care about the state laws of the city ordinances of the federal law. I think we're going to have to handle it pretty much like a manly youngster who doesn't know any better. So your own youngster that the first
time you ketching playing with matches or with fire with a lighter usually you punish him and probably a great deal more strenuously than for the average minor violation. Part of a youngster you. Know with my own. I think the first time I ever whacked any one of my kids was for either running out of the street or playing with fire because I want to remember this. I've already explained that the it's pretty obvious that a number of these youngsters are graduating because of hard drugs and this means they're going to live the life of the vegetable for a number of years if not for all eternity. From their viewpoint I think we're going to have to go in and force the law right down the letter. I think there's going to have to be punishment maybe incarceration for some. We're going to have to take a real dim view of this thing. Make a few examples maybe a lot of examples. I
don't mean but this one I'm getting I'm a user and. Sending him away for five years or anything like that. But I think it's going to happen. He made a personal liability for that individual and he does through the court possibly expulsion. I don't know the answer for certain but I know we're going to have to take a lot less permissive attitude toward this thing just because they're kids or just because they're youngsters. Because pretty much they're just thumbing their nose thumbing their nose at the law. And we've had a great deal of experience with this thing. And if you can't bring a person up short by appealing to him his intelligence then you've got to dot some more spring his method. That's one reason as these agencies are being come by and the administration has made it very plain that we're going to put a stop to this increase in the drug traffic. And I know pretty much
these people are sitting out there saying well if they do it we're going to do it. Yes. The participants in this program were Ross Albus the director of the federal narcotics bureau for Michigan Ohio and Kentucky. And Lieutenant Walter Scott the head of the registry detail for the Detroit Police Narcotics Bureau. These men represent one end of the spectrum of opinion that exists today about the issue of marijuana. On the next program in this series we will talk to someone whose views fall at the opposite end of that spectrum. A man who believes completely in what he says are the benefits and harmlessness of the drug. His name is John Sinclair and we heard him for a brief moment at the beginning of this program. He is about to stand trial for the sale of marijuana. If
convicted his sentence will be 20 years on the same program we will also talk to Judge George Crocket of Detroit recorder's court about some of the implications of the case against John Sinclair. The civil authorities. Part one of Mary Jane in perspective. A series of six programs about marijuana produced by Brian Reuben for Michigan State University radio show. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Mary Jane for perspective
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Chicago: “Mary Jane for perspective; 1,” 1968-11-13, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 13, 2024,
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