The History of the
Non-Medical Use of Drugs
in the United States
By Charles H.
This session is
going to be about the history of the non-medical use of drugs. I think you should know
what my credentials are for talking about this topic. As you may know, before I taught at
the University of Southern California, I taught at the University of Virginia for fifteen
years, from 1968 to 1981. In that time period, the very first major piece that I wrote was
a piece entitled, The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of KnowledgeThe Legal
History of Marihuana in the United States. I wrote it with Professor Richard Bonnie,
still of the faculty of the University of Virginia. It was published in the Virginia Law
Review in October of 1970 and I must say that our piece was the Virginia Law Review in
October of 1970. The piece was 450 pages long.
It got a ton of
national attention because no one had ever done the legal history of marijuana before. As
a result of that, Professor Bonnie was named the Deputy Director of the National
Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse and I was a consultant to that commission. As a
result of Richards two year executive directorship of the National Commission in
1971 and 1972, he and I were given access to both the open and the closed files of what
was then called the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, what had historically been
called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and, what today is called the Drug Enforcement
Agency. Based upon our access to those files, both open and closed, we wrote a book called
The Marihuana Conviction, and that book went through six printings at the University of
Virginia press before being sold out.
The Situation in 1900
If you are interested in the non-medical use of
drugs in this country, the time to go back to is 1900, and in some ways the most important
thing I am going to say to you, I will say first. That is, that in 1900 there were far
more people addicted to drugs in this country than there are today. Depending upon whose
judgment, or whose assessment, you accept there were between two and five percent of the
entire adult population of the United States addicted to drugs in 1900. Now, there were
two principal causes of this dramatic level of drug addiction at the turn of the century.
The first cause was the use of morphine and its various derivatives in legitimate medical
operations. As late as 1900, particularly in areas where medical resources were scarce, it
was not at all uncommon for, say, lets say you would have appendicitis, you would go
into the hospital, and you would get morphine as a pain killer during the operation, you
would be given morphine further after the operation and you would come out of the hospital
with no appendix but with an addiction to morphine.
The use of morphine in battlefield operations
during the Civil War was so extensive that, by 1880, so many Union veterans were addicted
to morphine that the popular press referred to morphinism as the soldiers
disease. Now I will say, being from Virginia as I am, that the Confederate veterans
didnt have any problems about being addicted to morphine because the South was too
poor to have any, and therefore battlefield operations on the Confederate Army were simply
done by chopping off the relevant limb while they drank a little whiskey. But the Northern
troops heavily found themselves, as the result of battlefield operations and the use of
morphine, addicted to morphine.
Now, the other fact that is so interesting about
drug addiction at the turn of the century, as opposed to today, is who the addicts were,
because they were the exact opposite of who you would think most likely to be an addict
today. If I were to ask you in terms of statistical groups who is most likely to be
involved with drugs today, you would say a young person, a male, who lives in the city and
who may be a minority group member. That is the exact opposite of who was most likely to
be addicted to drugs at the turn of the century.
In terms of statistical groups, who was most
likely to be addicted to drugs at the turn of the century? A rural living, middle-aged
white woman. The use of morphine in medical operations does not explain the much higher
incidence of drug addiction among women. What does, is the second cause of the high level
of addiction at the turn of the centurythe growth and development of what we now
call the patent medicine industry. I think some of you are aware that, again,
as late as 1900 particularly in rural areas where medical resources were scarce
it was typical for itinerant salesmen, not themselves doctors, to cruise around the
countryside offering potions and elixirs of all sorts advertised in the most flamboyant
kinds of terms. Doctor Smiths Oil, Good for What Ails You, or
Doctor Smiths Oil, Good for Man or Beast. Well, what the purveyors of
these medicines did not tell their purchasers, was that later, when these patent medicines
were tested, many of them proved to be up to fifty percent morphine by volume.
What that meant, as I have always thought, was
that the high morphine content in patent medicines meant they tended to live up to their
advertising. Because no matter what is wrong with you, or your beast, you are going to
feel a whole lot better after a couple of slugs of an elixir that is fifty percent
morphine. So there was this tendency to think Wow! This stuff works. Down you
could go to the general store and get more of it and it could be sold to you directly over
the counter. Now, for reasons that we were not able to fully research, but for reasons, I
think, probably associated with the role of women in rural societies at that time, patent
medicines were much more appealing to women than to men and account for the much higher
incidence of drug addiction in 1900 among women than among men.
If you want to see a relatively current portrayal
of a woman addicted to patent medicine you might think of Eugene ONeils play A
Long Days Journey Into Night. The mother figure there, the one that was played by
Katherine Hepburn in the movie, was addicted to patent medicines. In any event, the use of
morphine in medical operations and the sale of patent medicines accounted for a dramatic
level of addiction. Again, between two and five percent of the entire adult population of
the United States was addicted to drugs as late as 1900.
Now if my first point is that there was a lot
more addiction in 1900 than there is today, and that the people who were addicted are
quite a different group than the group we would be thinking of today, my next point would
be that if you look at drug addiction in 1900, you could ask: whats the number one
way in which it is different than drug addiction today?
Answer: Almost all addiction at the turn of the
century was accidental. People became involved with drugs that they did not know that they
were taking, and for which they did not know the impact. The first point, then, is that
there was more drug addiction than there is now and most of it was accidental.
The Pure Food and Drug Act
The single law which has done the most in this
country to reduce the level of drug addiction is not one of the criminal laws. The single
law that reduced drug addiction the most was the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 did three
things. First, it created the Food and Drug Administration in Washington that must approve
all foods and drugs meant for human consumption. The very first impact of that was that
the patent medicines were not approved for human consumption once they were tested.
Second, the Pure Food and Drug Act said that certain drugs could only be sold on
prescription. Third, the Pure Food and Drug Act, (and you know, this is still true today,
go look in your medicine chest) requires that any drug that can be potentially
habit-forming say so on its label: WarningMay be habit-forming.
The labeling requirements, the prescription
requirements, and the refusal to approve the patent medicines, basically put the patent
medicine business out of business and reduced that dramatic source of accidental
addiction. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, not a criminal law, did more to reduce the
level of addiction than any other single statute we have passed in all of the times, from
then to now.
The Harrison Act
The very first criminal law at the federal level
in this country to criminalize the non-medical use of drugs came in 1914. It was called
the Harrison Act and there are only three things about the Harrison Act that we need to
focus on today.
Number one is the date. Did you hear the date,
1914? Some of you may have come this morning thinking that we have used the criminal law
to deal with the non- medical use of drugs since the beginning of the Republic or
something. That is not true. The entire experiment of using the criminal sanction to deal
with the non-medical use of drugs really began in this country in 1914 with the Harrison
The second interesting thing about the Harrison
Act was the drugs to which it applied, because it applied to almost none of the drugs we
would be concerned about today. The Harrison Act applied to opium, morphine and its
various derivatives, and the derivatives of the coca leaf like cocaine. No mention of
amphetamines, barbiturates, marijuana, hashish, hallucinogenic drugs of any kind. The
Harrison Act applied only to opium, morphine and its various derivatives and derivatives
of the coca leaf, like cocaine.
The third and most interesting thing about the
Harrison Act was its structure, because the structure of this law was very peculiar and
became the model for every single piece of federal drug legislation from 1914 right
straight through 1969. And what was that model? It was called the Harrison Tax Act. The
drafters of the Harrison Act said very clearly on the floor of Congress what it was they
wanted to achieve. They had two goals: they wanted to regulate the medical use of these
drugs, and they wanted to criminalize the non-medical use of these drugs. They had one
problem. Look at the date 1914.
1914 was probably the high water mark of the
constitutional doctrine we today call states rights and, therefore, it
was widely thought that Congress did not have the power, number one, to regulate a
particular profession, and number two, that Congress did not have the power to pass what
was, and is still known as, a general criminal law. Thats why there were so few
federal crimes until very recently.
In the face of possible constitutional opposition
to what they wanted to do, the people in Congress who supported the Harrison Act came up
with a novel idea. That is, they would masquerade this whole thing as though it were a
tax. To show you how this ostensible tax worked, I can use some hypothetical figures.
There were two taxes. The first tax was paid by doctors (and again, these figures
arent accurate but they will do to show the idea). It was a dollar a year and the
doctors, in exchange for paying that one dollar tax, got a stamp from the Government that
allowed them to prescribe these drugs for their patients, so long as they followed the
regulations in the statute.
Do you see that by the payment of that one dollar
tax, we have the doctors regulated? The doctors have to follow the regulations in the
statute. And there was a second tax (and again, these are hypothetical figures but they
will show you how it worked) of a thousand dollars of every single non-medical exchange of
every one of these drugs. Well, since nobody was going to pay a thousand dollars in tax to
exchange something which, in 1914, even in large quantities was worth about five dollars,
the second tax wasnt a tax either, it was a criminal prohibition. Now just to be
sure you understand this, and I am sure you do, but just to make sure, lets say that
in 1915 somebody was found in possession of an ounce of cocaine out on the street. What
would be the federal crime? Not possession of cocaine, or possession of a controlled
substance. What was the crime? Tax evasion.
And do you see what a wicked web that is going to
be? As a quick preview, where then are we going to put the law enforcement arm for the
criminalization of drugs for over forty yearsin what department? The Treasury
Department. Why, we are just out there collecting taxes and I will show you how that works
in a minute. If you understand that taxing scheme then you understand why the national
marijuana prohibition of 1937 was called the Marihuana Tax Act.
The Early State Marijuana Laws
But before we get to that next big piece of
federal legislation, the Marijuana Prohibition of 1937, I would like to take a little
detour, if I may, into an analysis of the early state marijuana laws passed in this
country from 1915 to 1937. Let me pause to tell you this: when Professor Bonnie and I set
out to try to track the legal history of marijuana in this country, we were shocked that
nobody had ever done that work before. And, secondly, the few people who had even
conjectured about it, went back to the 1937 Federal Act and said, Well, theres
the beginning of it. No. If you go back to 1937, that fails to take account of the
fact that, in the period from 1915 to 1937, some 27 states passed criminal laws against
the use of marijuana.
What Professor Bonnie and I did was, unique to
our work, to go back to the legislative records in those states and back to the newspapers
in the state capitols at the time these laws were passed to try to find out what motivated
these 27 states to enact criminal laws against the use of marijuana. What we found was
that the 27 states divided into three groups by explanation.
The first group of states to have marijuana laws
at that time were Rocky Mountain and southwestern states. By that, I mean Texas, New
Mexico, Colorado, Montana. You didnt have to go anywhere but to the legislative
records to find out what had motivated those marijuana laws. The only thing you need to
know to understand the early marijuana laws in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain areas of
this country is to know, that in the period just after 1914, there was a substantial
migration of Mexicans. They had come across the border in search of better economic
conditions; they worked heavily as rural laborers, beet field workers, cotton pickers, and
things of that sort. And with them, they brought marijuana.
Basically, none of the white people in these
states knew anything about marijuana, and I make a distinction between white people and
Mexicans to reflect a distinction that any legislator in one of these states would have
made at the time. And all you had to do to find out what motivated the marijuana laws in
the Rocky Mountain and southwestern states was to go to the legislative records
themselves. Probably the best single statement was the statement of a proponent of
Texas first marijuana law. He said on the floor of the Texas Senate, and I quote,
All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (referring to marijuana) is what makes them
crazy. Or, as the proponent of Montanas first marijuana law said, (and imagine
this on the floor of the state legislature) and I quote, Give one of these Mexican
beet field workers a couple of puffs on a marijuana cigarette and he thinks he is in the
bullring at Barcelona. Well, there it was, you didnt have to look another foot
as you went from state to state right on the floor of the state legislature. And so what
was the genesis for the early state marijuana laws in the Rocky Mountain and southwestern
areas of this country? It wasnt hostility to the drug, it was hostility to the newly
arrived Mexican community that used it.
A second group of states that had criminal laws
against the use of marijuana were in the Northeast: Connecticut, Rhode Island, New
York which had one and then repealed it and then had one againand New Jersey.
Well, clearly no hypothesis about Mexican immigration will explain the genesis of those
laws because, as you know, the Northeast has never had, still doesnt really, any
substantial Mexican-American population. So we had to dig a little deeper to find the
genesis of those laws. We had to go not only to the legislative records but to the
newspapers in the state capitols at the time these laws were passed and what we found, in
the early marijuana laws in the Northeast, we labeled the fear of
If I may, let me paraphrase an editorial from the
New York Times in 1919 so we will get the flavor of this fear of substitution. In an
editorial in 1919, the New York Times said, No one here in New York uses this drug
marijuana. We have only just heard about it from down in the Southwest, and here
comes the substitution. But, said the New York Times, we had better
prohibit its use before it gets here. Otherwise, all the heroin and hard narcotics addicts
cut off from their drug by the Harrison Act, and all the alcohol drinkers cut off from
their drug by the 1919 prohibition on alcohol, will substitute this new and unknown drug
marijuana for the drugs they used to use.
This fear of substitution swept from state to
state, on the theory that this newly encountered drug marijuana would be substituted by
the hard narcotics addicts or by the alcohol drinkers for their previous drug that had
been prohibited. That accounted for 26 of the 27 statesthat is, either the
anti-Mexican sentiment in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain areas or fear of substitution
in the Northeast. That accounted for 26 of the 27 states, and there was only one state
left over. It was the most important state for us because it was the first state ever to
enact a criminal law against the use of marijuana and it was the state of Utah.
Now, if you have been hearing this story and you
have been playing along with me, you think, Oh, wait a minute, Whitebread, Utah fits
exactly with Colorado, Montanait must have been the Mexicans. Well,
thats what I thought at first. But we went and did a careful study of the actual
immigration pattern and found, to our surprise, that Utah didnt have then, and
doesnt have now, a really substantial Mexican-American population. So it had to be
something else. It must have had something to do with the single thing which makes Utah
unique in American historyits association with the Mormon church.
With help from some people in Salt Lake City,
associated with the Mormon Church and the Mormon National Tabernacle in
Washingtonwith their help and a lot of work, we found out what the genesis was of
the first marijuana law in this country. Yes, it was directly connected to the history of
Utah and Mormonism and it went like this:
I think that a lot of you know that, in its
earliest days, the Mormon church permitted its male members to have more than one
wifepolygamy. Do you all know that in 1876, in a case called Reynolds against the
United States, the United States Supreme Court said that Mormons were free to believe what
they wanted, but they were not free to practice polygamy in this country? Well, who do you
think enforced that ruling of the Supreme Court in 1876? At the end of the line, who
enforces all rulings of the Supreme Court? Answer: the state and local police. And who
were they in Utah then? All Mormons, and so nothing happened for many years. Those who
wanted to live polygamously continued to do so.
In 1910, the Mormon Church synod in Salt Lake
City decreed polygamy to be a religious mistake and it was banned as a matter of the
Mormon religion. Once that happened, there was a crackdown on people who wanted to live in
what they called the traditional way. So, just after 1910, a fairly large
number of Mormons left the state of Utah, and indeed left the United States altogether and
moved into northwest Mexico. They wrote a lot about what they wanted to accomplish in
Mexico. They wanted to set up communities where they were basically going to convert the
Indians, the Mexicans, and what they referred to as the heathen in the
neighborhood to Mormonism.
By 1914, they had had very little luck with the
heathen, but our research shows now beyond question that the heathen had a little luck
with them. What happened apparentlynow some of you who may be members of the church,
you know that there are still substantial Mormon communities in northwest Mexicowas
that, by and large most of the Mormons were not happy there, the religion had not done
well there, they didnt feel comfortable there, they wanted to go back to Utah where
their friends were and, after 1914, they did. And with them, the Indians had given them
marijuana. Now once you get somebody back in Utah with the marijuana it all becomes very
easy, doesnt it?
You know that the Mormon Church has always been
opposed to the use of euphoriants of any kind. So, somebody saw them with the marijuana,
and in August of 1915, the Church, meeting again in synod in Salt Lake City, decreed the
use of marijuana contrary to the Mormon religion and thenand this is how things were
in Utah in those daysin October of 1915, the state legislature met and enacted every
religious prohibition as a criminal law and we had the first criminal law in this
countrys history against the use of marijuana.
That digression into the early state marijuana
laws aside, we will now get back on the federal track, the year is 1937 and we get the
national marijuana prohibitionthe Marihuana Tax Act.
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
Now, does everybody see the date, 1937? You may
have thought that we have had a national marijuana prohibition for a very long time.
Frankly, we havent.
The marijuana prohibition is part and parcel of
that era which is now being rejected rather generallythe New Deal era in Washington
in the late 1930s.
Number two, you know, dont you, that
whenever Congress is going to pass a law, they hold hearings. And you have seen these
hearings. The hearings can be extremely voluminous; they go on and on, they have days and
days of hearings. Well, may I say, that the hearings on the national marijuana prohibition
were very brief indeed. The hearings on the national marijuana prohibition lasted one
hour, on each of two mornings, and since the hearings were so brief I can tell you almost
exactly what was said to support the national marijuana prohibition.
Now, in doing this one at the FBI Academy, I
didnt tell them this story, but I am going to tell you this story. You want to know
how brief the hearings were on the national marijuana prohibition? When we asked at the
Library of Congress for a copy of the hearings, to the shock of the Library of Congress,
none could be found. We said, What? It took them four months to finally honor
our request becauseare you ready for this?the hearings were so brief that the
volume had slid down inside the side shelf of the bookcase and was so thin it had slid
right down to the bottom inside the bookshelf. Thats how brief they were. Are you
ready for this? They had to break the bookshelf open because it had slid down inside.
There were three bodies of testimony at the
hearings on the national marijuana prohibition. The first testimony came from Commissioner
Harry Anslinger, the newly named Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Now, I
think some of you know that in the late 1920s and early 1930s in this country there were
two Federal police agencies created, the FBI and the FBNthe Federal Bureau of
Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. In our book, I talk at great length
about how different the history of these two organizations really is. But, the two
organizations, the FBI and the FBN had some surface similarities; one of them was that a
single individual headed each of them for a very long time. In the case of the FBI, it was
J. Edgar Hoover, and in the case of the FBN it was Harry Anslinger, who was the
Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 until 1962.
Commissioner Anslinger gave the Government
testimony and I will quote him directly. By the way, he was not working from a text that
he had written. He was working from a text that had been written for him by a District
Attorney in New Orleans, a guy named Stanley. Reading directly from Mr. Stanleys
work, Commissioner Anslinger told the Congressmen at the hearings, and I quote,
Marihuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality,
and death. That was the Government testimony to support the marijuana prohibition
from the Commissioner.
The next body of testimony was from the hemp
industryremember all of this took a total of two hours. You understand what the idea
was, dont you? The idea was to prohibit the cultivation of hemp in America. You all
know, because there has been some initiative in California, that hemp has other uses than
its euphoriant use. For one, hemp has always been used to make rope. Number two, the
resins of the hemp plant are used as bases for paints and varnishes. And, finally, the
seeds of the hemp plant are widely used in birdseed. Because these industries were going
to be affected, the next body of testimony came from the industrial spokesmen who
represented these industries.
The first person was the hemp rope guy. The rope
guy told how the growth of hemp to make rope was a principle cash crop right where I am
fromNorthern Virginia and Southern Marylandat the time of the Revolutionary
War. But, said the rope guy, by about 1820 it got cheaper to import the hemp we needed to
make rope from the Far East and so, now in 1937, we dont grow any more hemp to make
rope in this countryit isnt needed anymore.
There are two things about that story that I
found fascinating. Number one, it explains the long-standing rumor that our forefathers
had something to do with marijuana. Yes, they didthey grew it. Hemp was the
principal crop at Mount Vernon. It was a secondary crop at Monticello. Now, of course, in
our research we did not find any evidence that any of our forefathers had used the hemp
plant for euphoriant purposes, but they did grow it.
The second part of that story that, to me is even
more interesting isdid you see the date again1937? What did the rope guy say?
We can get all the hemp we need to make rope from the Far East; we dont grow it here
anymore because we dont need to.
Five years later, in 1942, we are cut off from
our sources of hemp in the Far East. We need a lot of hemp to outfit our ships for World
War II, rope for the ships, and therefore, the Federal Government, as some of you know,
went into the business of growing hemp on gigantic farms throughout the Midwest and the
South to make rope to outfit the ships for World War II.
So, even to this day, if you are from the Midwest
you will always meet the people who say, Gosh, hemp grows all along the railroad
tracks. Well, it does. Why? Because these huge farms existed all during World War
But, the rope people didnt care. The paint
and varnish people said, We can use something else. And, of the industrial
spokesmen, only the birdseed people balked. The birdseed people were the ones who balked
and the birdseed person was asked, Couldnt you use some other seed?
These are all, by the way, direct quotes from the hearings. The answer the birdseed guy
gave was, No, Congressman, we couldnt. We have never found another seed that
makes a birds coat so lustrous or makes them sing so much. Did you know that
the birdseed people both got and kept an exemption from the Marihuana Tax Act right
through this very day for so-called denatured seeds?
In any event, there was Anslingers
testimony, there was the industrial testimonythere was only one body of testimony
left at these brief hearings and it was medical. There were two pieces of medical evidence
introduced with regard to the marijuana prohibition. The first came from a pharmacologist
at Temple University who claimed that he had injected the active ingredient in marijuana
into the brains of 300 dogs, and two of those dogs had died. When asked by the
Congressmen, and I quote, Doctor, did you choose dogs for the similarity of their
reactions to that of humans? The answer of the pharmacologist was, I
wouldnt know, I am not a dog psychologist. Well, the active ingredient in
marijuana was first synthesized in a laboratory in Holland after World War II. So what it
was this pharmacologist injected into these dogs we will never know, but it almost
certainly was not the active ingredient in marijuana.
The other piece of medical testimony came from a
man named Dr. William C. Woodward. Dr. Woodward was both a lawyer and a doctor and he was
Chief Counsel to the American Medical Association. Dr. Woodward came to testify at the
behest of the American Medical Association saying, and I quote, The American Medical
Association knows of no evidence that marihuana is a dangerous drug. What is amazing
is not whether that is true or not. What is amazing is what the Congressmen then said to
him. Immediately upon his saying, and I quote again, The American Medical
Association knows of no evidence that marihuana is a dangerous drug, one of the
Congressmen said, Doctor, if you cant say something good about what we are
trying to do, why dont you go home? Thats an exact quote. The next
Congressman said, Doctor, if you havent got something better to say than that,
we are sick of hearing you. Now, the interesting question for us is not about the
medical evidence. The most fascinating question is: why was this legal counsel to the most
prestigious group of doctors in the United States treated in such a high-handed way? And
the answer makes a principle thesis of my workand that isyouve seen it,
youve been living it the last ten years. The history of drugs in this country
perfectly mirrors the history of this country.
So look at the date1937whats
going on in this country? Well, a lot of things, but the number one thing was that in
1936, President Franklin Roosevelt was reelected in the largest landslide election (until
then) in this countrys history. He brought with him two Democrats for every
Republican, all, or almost all of them pledged to that package of economic and social
reform legislation we today call the New Deal.
And, did you know that the American Medical
Association, from 1932 straight through 1937, had systematically opposed every single
piece of New Deal legislation. So that, by 1937, this committee, heavily made up of New
Deal Democrats is simply sick of hearing them: Doctor, if you cant say
something good about what we are trying to do, why dont you go home? So, over
the objection of the American Medical Association, the bill passed out of committee and on
to the floor of Congress. Now, some of you may think that the debate on the floor of
Congress was more extensive on the marijuana prohibition. It wasnt. It lasted one
minute and thirty-two seconds by my count and, as such, I will give it to you verbatim.
The entire debate on the national marijuana
prohibition was as followsand, by the way, if you had grown up in Washington, D.C.,
as I had, you would appreciate this date. The bill was brought on to the floor of the
House of Representativesthere never was any Senate debate on it, not one
wordat 5:45 Friday afternoon, August 20. Now, in pre-air-conditioning Washington,
who was on the floor of the House? Who was on the floor of the House? Not very many
Speaker Sam Rayburn called for the bill to be
passed on tellers. Does everyone know tellers? Did you know that
for the vast bulk of legislation in this country, there is not a recorded vote. It is
simply, more people walk past this point than walk past that point and it
passesits called tellers. They were getting ready to pass this
thing on tellers without discussion and without a recorded vote when one of the few
Republicans left in Congress, a guy from upstate New York, stood up and asked two
questions, which constituted the entire debate on the national marijuana prohibition.
Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about? To which Speaker Rayburn replied,
I dont know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think
its a narcotic of some kind. Undaunted, the guy from upstate New York asked a
second question, which was as important to the Republicans as it was unimportant to the
Democrats. Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this
In one of the most remarkable things I have ever
found in any research, a guy who was on the committee, and who later went on to become a
Supreme Court Justice, stood up anddo you remember the AMA guy was named William C.
Woodward?a member of the committee who had supported the bill leaped to his feet and
he said, Their Doctor Wentworth came down here. They support this bill 100
percent. It wasnt true, but it was good enough for the Republicans. They sat
down and the bill passed on tellers, without a recorded vote.
In the Senate there never was any debate or a
recorded vote, and the bill went to President Roosevelts desk and he signed it and
we had the national marijuana prohibition.
1938 to 1951
Now, the next step in our story is the period
from 1938 to 1951. I have three stories to tell you about 1938 to 1951.
Immediately after the passage of the national
marijuana prohibition, Commissioner Anslinger decided to hold a conference of all the
people who knew something about marijuanaa big national conference. He invited
forty-two people to this conference. As part of our research for the book, we found the
exact transcript of this conference.
The first morning of the conference of the
forty-two people that Commissioner Anslinger invited to talk about marijuana, 39 of them
got up and said some version of Gee, Commissioner Anslinger, I dont know why
you asked me to this conference, I dont know anything about marijuana. That
left three people. Dr. Woodward and his assistantyou know what they thought.
That left one personthe pharmacologist from
Temple Universitythe guy with the dogs. And what do you think happened as a result
of that conference? Commissioner Anslinger named the pharmacologist from Temple University
the Official Expert of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics about marijuana, a position the guy
held until 1962. Now, the irony of trying to find out what the drug did after it had been
prohibitedfinding out that only one person agrees with youand naming him the
Official Expert, speaks for itself.
The next story from this time period was a
particular favorite of the police groups to whom I spoke at the FBI Academy, because it is
a law enforcement story.
After national marijuana prohibition was passed,
Commissioner Anslinger found out, or got reports, that certain people were violating the
national marijuana prohibition and using marijuana and, unfortunately for them, they fell
into an identifiable occupational group.
Who were flouting the marijuana prohibition? Jazz
musicians. And so, in 1947, Commissioner Anslinger sent out a letter, I quote it verbatim:
Dear Agent, Please prepare
all cases in your jurisdiction involving musicians in violation of the marijuana laws. We
will have a great national round-up arrest of all such persons on a single day. I will let
you know what day.
That letter went out on, I think, October 24,
1947. The responses by the resident agents were all in the file. My favoriteat the
bottom line, there wasnt a single resident agent who did not have reservations about
this ideacame from the Hollywood agent. This is the exact letter of the FBN agent in
charge in Hollywood:
Dear Commissioner Anslinger,
I have your letter of October 24. Please be advised that the musical community here in
Hollywood are unionized and very tight. We have been unable to get an informant inside it.
So, at the present time, we have no cases involving musicians in violation of the
For the next year and a half, Commissioner
Anslinger got those kinds of letters. He never acknowledged any of the problems that the
agents said they were having with this idea and always wrote them back the same letter,
which was :
Dear Agent , Glad to hear
you are working hard to give effect to my directive of October 24, 1947. We will have a
great national round-up arrest of musicians in violation of the marijuana laws all on a
single day. Dont worry, I will let you know what day.
This went onand, of course, you know that
some jazz musicians were, in fact, arrested in the late 40sthis all went on
until it ended just the way it beganwith something that Anslinger said. I dont
see anybody in here really old enough to appreciate this point, but Commissioner Anslinger
was testifying before a Senate Committee in 1948. He was saying, I need more
agents. And, of course, the Senators asked him why. Because there are people
out there violating the marijuana laws. Well, you know what the Senators
askedWho? And in a moment that every Government employee should avoid
like the plague, Anslinger first said, Musicians. But then he looked up at
that Senate committee and he gave them a little piece of his heart and said the single
line that provoked the most response in this countrys history about the non-medical
use of drugs. Anslinger said, And I dont mean good musicians, I mean jazz
musicians. Friends, there is no way to tell you what a torrent ensued. Within 24
hours, 76 newspaper editorials slammed him, including special editions of the then booming
trade press of the jazz music industry. Within three days, the Department of the Treasury
had received fifteen thousand letters. Bunches of them were still in bags when I got
therenever been opened at all. I opened a few. Here was a typical one, and it was
Dear Commissioner Anslinger,
I applaud your efforts to rid America of the scourge of narcotics addiction. If you are as
ill-informed about that as you are about music, however, you will never succeed.
One of the things that we had access to that
really was fun was the Commissioners own appointment book for all of his years. And,
five days after he says I dont mean good musicians, I mean jazz
musicians. there is a notation: 10:00 a.m.appointment with the Secretary of
the Treasury. Well, I dont know what happened at that appointment, but from
that appointment on, no mention is ever made again of the great national round-up arrest
of musicians in violation of the marijuana laws all on a single day, much to the delight
of the agents who never had any heart for it in the first place.
The final story from this period is my favorite
story from this period, by far, and again, there is simply nobody here who is really old
enough to appreciate this story. You know, if you talk to your parentsthats
the generation we really need to talk to, people who were adults during the late 1930s and
1940sand you talk to them about marijuana in particular, you would be amazed at the
amazing reputation that marijuana has among the generation ahead of you concerning what it
does to its users.
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, marijuana was
routinely referred to as the killer drug, the assassin of youth.
You all know reefer madness, right? Where did these extraordinary stories that
circulated in this country about what marijuana would do to users come from?
The conventional wisdom is that Anslinger put
them over on Americans in his effort to compete with Hoover for empire building, etc. I
have to say, in some fairness, that one of the things that our research did, in some
sense, was to rehabilitate Commissioner Anslinger. Yes, there was some of that but,
basically, it wasnt just that Anslinger was trying to dupe people.
The terrific reputation that marijuana got in the
late 1930s and early 1940s stemmed from something Anslinger had said. Does everybody
remember what Anslinger said about the drug? Marihuana is an addictive drug which
produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death. Well, this time the magic
wordcome along lawyers out there, wheres the magic word?Insanity.
Marijuana use, said the Government, would produce insanity. And, sure enough, in the late
1930s and early 1940s, in five really flamboyant murder trials, the defendants sole
defense was that heor, in the most famous of them, shewas not guilty by reason
of insanity for having used marijuana prior to the commission of the crime.
All right, its time to take you guys back
to class here. If you are going to put on an insanity defense, what do you need? You need
two things, dont you? Number one, you need an expert witness.
Where, oh where, in this story, are we going to
find an expert witness? Here it comessure enoughthe guy from Temple
Universitythe guy with the dogs. I promise you, you are not going to believe this.
In the most famous of these trials, what happened
was two women jumped on a Newark, New Jersey bus and shot and killed and robbed the bus
driver. They put on the marijuana insanity defense. The defense called the pharmacologist,
and of course, you know how to do this now, you put the expert on, you say Doctor,
did you do all of this experimentation and so on? You qualify your expert. Did
you write all about it? Yes, and I did the dogs and now he is an expert.
Now you ask him what? You ask the doctor What have you done with the drug? And
he said, and I quote, Ive experimented with the dogs, I have written something
about it andare you readyI have used the drug myself. What
do you ask him next? Doctor, when you used the drug, what happened? With all
the press present at this flamboyant murder trial in Newark, New Jersey, in 1938, the
pharmacologist said, and I quote, in response to the question When you used the
drug, what happened? His exact response was: After two puffs on a marijuana
cigarette, I was turned into a bat.
He wasnt done yet. He testified that he
flew around the room for fifteen minutes and then found himself at the bottom of a
two-hundred-foot high inkwell. Well, friends, that sells a lot of papers. What do you
think the Newark Star Ledger headlines the next day, October 12, 1938? Killer Drug
Turns Doctor to Bat! What else do we need to put on an insanity defense? We need the
defendants testimonyhimself or herself. OK, you put defendant on the stand,
what do you ask? What happened on the night of . . Oh, I used
marijuana. And then what happened? And, if the defendant wants to get
off, what is he or she going to say? It made me crazy. You know what the women
testified? In Newark they testified, and I quote, After two puffs on a marijuana
cigarette my incisor teeth grew six inches long and dripped with blood. This was the
craziest business you ever saw. Every one of these so-called marijuana insanity defenses
The one in New York was just outlandish. Two
police officers were shot and killed in cold blood. The defendant puts on the marijuana
insanity defense and, in that case, there was never even any testimony that the defendant
had even used marijuana. The testimony in the New York case was that, from the time the
bag of marijuana came into his room it gave off homicidal vibrations, so he
started killing dogs, cats, and ultimately two police officers.
Commissioner Anslinger, sitting in Washington,
seeing these marijuana insanity defenses, one after another successful, he writes to the
pharmacologist from Temple University and says, If you dont stop testifying
for the defense in these matters, we are going to revoke your status as the Official
Expert of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He didnt want to lose his status,
so he stopped testifying, nobody else would testify that marijuana had turned them into a
bat, and so these insanity defenses were over but not before marijuana had gotten quite a
The next stepand now we are going to move
very quickly herein 1951. We get a whole new drug law called the Boggs Act and it is
important to us for only two reasons. Number one, it reflects what I am going to call the
formula for drug legislation in this country. Here is the formula. The formula really is
always the same, think about it in our lifetime.
The formula is that someone, and by the way, that
someone is usually the media, perceives an increase in drug use. Whats the answer?
The answer in the history of this country is always the samea new criminal law with
harsher penalties in every single offense category.
Where did the perception come from this time?
Well, if you have ever seen movies from this time period like High School Confidential,
the perception was that kids in high school were starting to use drugs.
Whats the answer? The answer is always the
same. The Boggs Act of 1951 quadrupled the penalties in every single offense category and,
by the way, the Boggs Act had a whole new rationale for marijuana prohibition.
MarijuanaThe Gateway Drug
Do you remember the old rationalethat
marijuana was an addictive drug which caused in its users insanity, criminality, and
death? Just before Anslinger was to testify on the Boggs Act, the doctor who ran the
Lexington, Kentucky narcotics rehabilitation clinic testified that the medical community
knew that marijuana wasnt an addictive drug. It doesnt produce death, or
insanity, and instead of producing criminality, it probably produces passivity, said the
Who was the next witness? Anslinger. And, you
see, the rug had been pulled out from under everything he had said in the 1937 hearings to
support the marijuana prohibition. In a really slick federal shuffleAnslinger had
been bitten bad enough by what he said, he didnt want that againhe said, the
doctor is right, marijuana (he always believed, by the way, that there was something in
marijuana which produced criminality), is not an addictive drug, it doesnt produce
insanity or death but it is the certain first step on the road to heroin
addiction. And the notion that marijuana was the stepping stone to heroin became, in
1951, the sole rationale for the national marijuana prohibition. It was the first time
that marijuana was lumped with all the other drugs and not treated separately, and we
multiply the penalties in every offense category.
By the way, I told you that the history of drug
legislation reflects the history of the country. 1951, whats going on? The Korean
War, the Cold War. It didnt take the press a minute to see this perceived use in
drug use among high school kids as our foreign enemies, using drugs to subvert
the American young. In our book, we have ten or fifteen great political cartoons. My
favorite is a guy with a big Fu Man Chu (mustache) labeled Oriental Communism.
He has a big needle marked Dope and he has the American kids lying
downFree World it is marked. There it wasthat our foreign enemies
were going to use drugs to subvert the American young. What did we do? We passed a new law
that increased the penalties in every offense category by a factor of four.
The Daniel Act of 1956
In 1956 we got another new drug law, called the
Daniel Act, named for Senator Price Daniel of Texas. It is important to us for only two
reasons. One, it perfectly reflects the formula again. What is the formula? Somebody
perceives an increase in drug use in this country and the answer is always a new criminal
law with harsher penalties in every offense category.
Where did the perception in 1956 come from that
there was an increase in drug use? Answer: Anybody remember 1956? In 1956, we had the
first set ever of televised Senate hearings. And whose hearings were they? They were the
hearings of Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee about organized crime in America.
These hearings, which everybody watched on their
little sets showed two things that we all know today, but it sure made their socks roll up
and down then. Number one, there is organized crime in America and number two, it makes
all its money selling drugs. There it was, that was all the perception we needed. We
passed the Daniel Act which increased the penalties in every offense category, that had
just been increased times fourtimes eight. With the passage of each of these acts,
the states passed little Boggs acts, and little Daniel acts, so that in the period 1958 to
1969, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Virginia was typical, the most heavily
penalized crime in the Commonwealth was possession of marijuana, or any other drug.
It led to a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty
years, no part of which you were eligible for parole or probation, and as to no part of it
were you eligible for a suspended sentence. Just to show you where it was, in the same
time period, first degree murder in Virginia had a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen
years. Rape, a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years. Possession of marijuananot
to mention sales of marijuana with its mandatory minimum of forty yearsmandatory
minimum of twenty years.
The Dangerous Substances Act of 1969
That is the situation in 1969 when we have a new
drug law, the first one in this countrys history that does not follow the formula.
It is the 1969 Dangerous Substances Act. For the first time in this countrys
history, we have a perception of an increase in drug use during the Sixties, but instead
of raising the penalties, we lower them. And, further, in the Dangerous Substances Act of
1969, for the first time we finally abandon the so-called taxing mythology.
In the 1969 Act, what the federal law does is, it
takes all the drugs we knowif you cant fill in this next blank, you are in
troubleexcept twowhich two? Which two are never going to be mentioned?
Nicotine and alcohol. But, other than nicotine and alcoholevery other drug.
By the way, I tried this with the FBI for twenty
years and they wouldnt listen, and you wont listen either but, I am going to
try. If you are going to go out and talk about drugs and whatever you are going to do with
drugs, will you please discard the entirely antiquated and erroneous word
narcotics. Narcotics are drugs that put people to sleep. Almost all of the
drugs that we are interested in today dont do that.
So, in 1969, the Dangerous Substances Act gave up
the effort to define what are narcotic drugs. What the 1969 act did, and what most state
laws still do, is to classify all drugs except nicotine and alcohol by two criteria. What
is the drugs medical use? And, what is the drugs potential for abuse?
We put all the drugs, by those two criteria, in
schedules, and then we tie the penalties for possession, possession with intent to sell,
sale, and sale to a minor, to the schedule of the drug in question. Now, again, I am no
good at this anymore, I have not kept up with the drug laws, I dont know what is in
what schedule, and many states have abandoned the schedule, but to give you a flavor of
it: the first schedule, Schedule I drugs were drugs that had little or no medical use and
a high potential for abuse. Whats going to go in there? LSD, marijuana, hashish,
they are all in Schedule Ilittle or no medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Then you get some medical use, high potential for
abusewhat do you want there? Barbiturates, amphetamines.
Then we are going to get what? High medical use
and high potential for abuse. Morphine, codeine. Codeine is the best one because codeine
is in almost every single prescription cough medicine and it is addictive as can be.
Then you go on down and get the
antibioticshigh medical use, almost no potential for abuse, and there you are.
Once you schedule your drugs, you then tie the
penalties for the drugs to the schedule. But, because in 1969 they wanted to reduce the
marijuana penalties, they had to deal with marijuana separately and did so.
Again, the 1969 Act was important for two
reasons: one, we abandoned the taxing mythology, and two, it was the first law in this
countrys history that, instead of raising the penalties in every offense category,
Well, then you know what happened. We got the War
on Drugs. You know how it all went down. We got perceptions in the 1980s that there was an
increase in drug use, a great dramatic decision to declare war on drugs and,
predominantly, war on drug users. What I want to say to you is this, and this is where I
think some of you are going to be a little surprised. You know as much about that process
as I do. You watched it. You saw how we had one law after another, raising the penalties
so that as late as 1990, thirty percent of the minority group population of the City of
Baltimore who are male and between 20 and 29 are under court supervision for drugs. Thirty
The War on Drugs is a very interesting war. Why?
Because it was cheap to fight. It was cheap to fight at firstwhy? You heard me in
the Recent Decisions talk. What was last years big moment, and the year
before? The change in cheap and easy forfeiture. Criminal forfeiture was used to make this
a costless war. That is, easy forfeiture from those who were caught allowed us to pay for
the war in that way. I think we are going to have some real questions about whether people
want to pay for the War on Drugs through their taxes; because now the US Supreme Court has
made forfeiture more difficult in their overall concern for property rights.
But here is what I think may surprise some of
you. You know as much about the War on Drugs as I do. I didnt come here to talk, or
to harangue, or to give you any opinions on that point. I think it speaks for itself. It
is a failure and I think it will be judged as a failure. What I wanted to bring you
instead was, instead of talking about what everybody is talking aboutand you will
ultimately resolve it and you are the ones who are seeing all the drug cases, day in and
day out, and always will, until this changes. But, what I thought I could bring you was
the part of the story you hadnt heardhow we got to where we were when the War
on Drugs was declared.
Conclusion The Issue of Prohibition
One other thing I want to do with you this
morning is thisI want to tell you the real truth. My interest isnt in drugs,
or in the criminalization of drugs although I think we should abolish the criminal
penalties for drugs, and deal with it as the Europeans do, in a medical way. Thats
What interests me though, isnt drugs. What
interests me is that larger issue, and the reason that I wrote the piece, and the reason
they were my tenure pieces, I am interested in a much larger issue, and that is the idea
of Prohibitionthe use of criminal law to criminalize conduct that a large number of
us seem to want to engage in. And, for my purposesnow, Professor Bonnie went on to
be associated with NIDA and with all kinds of drug-related organizations and continues to
be interested in the drug lawsI am not. My interest is in criminal prohibitions and,
for my purposes, as a criminal law scholar, we could have used any
prohibitionalcohol prohibition, the prohibition against gambling that exists still
in many states. How about the prohibition in England from 1840 to 1880 against the
drinking of gin? Not drinking, just gin got it? We could have used any of these
prohibitions. We didnt. We chose the marijuana prohibition because the story had
never been toldand it is an amazing story. We could have used any of these
prohibitions. We could have used the alcohol prohibition. The reason we didnt is
because so much good stuff has been written about it. And are you aware of this? Every
single person who has ever written seriously about the national alcohol prohibition agrees
on why it collapsed. Why?
Because it violated that iron law of
prohibitions. What is the iron law of prohibitions? Prohibitions are always enacted by us,
to govern the conduct of them. Take the alcohol prohibition. Every single person who has
ever written about it agrees on why it collapsed.
Large numbers of people supported the idea of
prohibition who were not themselves, opposed to drinking. Let me give you an example,
1919. You are a Republican in upstate New York. Whether you drink, or you dont, you
are for the alcohol prohibition because it will close the licensed saloons in the city of
New York which you view to be the corrupt patronage and power base of the Democratic Party
in New York. So almost every Republican in New York was in favor of national alcohol
prohibition. And, as soon as it passed, what do you think they said? Well, what do
you know? Success. Lets have a drink. Thats what they thought,
lets have a drink. Lets drink to this. A great
success, you see. Do you understand me? Huge numbers of people in this country were in
favor of national alcohol prohibition who were not themselves opposed to drinking.
I want to go back to the prohibition against the
drinking of gin. How could a country prohibit just the drinking of gin, not the drinking
of anything else for forty years? Answer: The rich people drank whiskey and the poor
people drank what?gin. Do you see it?
Lets try the gambling prohibition. You
know, when I came to Virginia this was a very lively issue, the gambling prohibition. I
think its a lively issue in California. Have you ever seen the rhetoric that goes
around the gambling prohibition? You know what it is. Look, we have had a good time. We
have been together yesterday, we have been together today, I have known a lot of you guys
for ages. How about after the talk, we have a minute or two, lets go on up to your
room and we will play a little nickel, dime, quarter poker. Want to play some poker this
afternoon? Why not? Its a nice thing to do.
Would we be outraged if the California State
Police came barreling through the door and arrested us for violation of Californias
prohibition on gambling? Of course we would. Because, who is not supposed to gamble? Oh,
you know who is not supposed to gamblethem poor people, thats who. My God,
they will spend the milk money. They dont know how to control it. They cant
handle it. But us? We know what we are doing. Thats it. Every criminal prohibition
has that same touch to it, doesnt it? It is enacted by us and it always regulates
the conduct of them. And so, if you understand that is the name of the game, you
dont have to ask me, or any of the other people which prohibitions will be abolished
and which ones wont because you will always know. The iron law of
prohibitionsall of themis that they are passed by an identifiable us to
control the conduct of an identifiable them. And a prohibition is absolutely done for when
it does what? Comes back and bothers us. If, at any time, in any way, that prohibition
comes back and bothers us, we will get rid of it for sure, every doggone time. Look at the
alcohol prohibition if you want a quick example. As long as it is only themyou know,
them criminals, them crazy people, them young people,
them minority group memberswe are fine. But any prohibition that comes
back and bothers us is done for.
Lets just try the marijuana prohibition as
a quick one. Who do you think was arrested 650,000 strong two years ago for violation of
the marijuana laws? Do you think it was all minority group members? Nope. It was not. It
was some very identifiable children of uschildren of the middle class. You
dont have to answer my opinion. No prohibition will standeverwhen it
comes back and penalizes our childrenthe children of us who enacted it. And in fact,
do you have any real doubt about that? Do you know what a fabulous sociological study we
will be if we become the first society in the history of the world to penalize the sons
and daughters of the wealthy class? Unheard of. And so, yeah, we will continue the War on
Drugs for a while until everybody sees its patent bankruptcy. But, let me say that I am
not confident that good sense will prevail. Why?
Because we love this idea of prohibition. We
really do. We love it in this country. And so I will tell you what I predict. You will
always know which ones are going out and which ones are coming in. And, cant you see
the one coming right over the hill? Well, folks, we are going to have a new prohibition
because we love this idea that we can solve difficult medical, economic, and social
problems by the simple enactment of a criminal law. We adore this, and of course, you
judges work it out, we have solved our problem. Do you have it? Our problem is over with
the enactment of the law. You and the cops work it out, but we have solved our problem.
Here comes the new one? Whats it going to
be? No, it wont be guns, this one starts easy. This one is the Surgeon General has
what?Determinednot we want a little more checking it out, not
we need a few more studies, not reasonable people
disagreeThe Surgeon General has determined that the smoking of
cigarettes will kill you. Now, all you need, and here is my formula, for a new
prohibition every time is what? We need an intractable, difficult, social, economic, or
medical problem. But that is not enough. There has to be another thing. It has to divide
by classby social or economic class, between us and them.
And so, here it comes. You know the federal
Government has been spending a lot of money since 1968 trying to persuade us not to smoke.
And, indeed, the absolute numbers on smoking have declined very little. But, you know who
has quit smoking, dont you? In gigantic numbers? The college-educated, thats
who. The college- educated, thats who doesnt smoke. Who are they?
Tomorrows what? Movers and kickers, thats who. Tomorrows movers and
kickers dont smoke. Who does smoke? Oh, you know who smokes out of all proportion to
their numbers in the societyit is the people standing in your criminal courtrooms,
thats who. Who are they? Tomorrows moved and kicked, thats who.
And, there it is friends, once it divides between
the movers and kickers and the moved and kicked it is all over and it will be all over
It starts with You know, they
shouldnt smoke, they are killing themselves. Then it turns, as it hasyou
see the ads out hereThey shouldnt smoke, they are killing us. And
pretty soon, that class division will happen: we will have the legislatures full of
tomorrows movers and kickers and they are going to say just what they are going to
say any time now. You know, this has just gotta stop, and we got an answer for
it. We are going to have a criminal statute that forbids the manufacture, sale, or
possession of tobacco cigarettes, or tobacco products period.
You know that the cigarette companies are
expecting it. What have they been doing? They have been shifting all of their operations
out of the United States and diversifying like crazy. Where are they going to sell their
cigarettes? In China, thats where. And they are already moving, because they see it
and I see it.
Ready? What are we going to have? You know what
we are going to have. One daywhen is it going to happen, ten years, fifteen? Some
legislator will get up and, just as though it had never been said before, You know
we gotta solve this smoking problem and I got a solutiona criminal prohibition
against the manufacture, sale, or possession of tobacco cigarettes. And then you
know what happens. Then everybody who did want a cigarette here today, if there is anyone
here who smokes, you are going to have to hide in the bathroom. And cigarettes are no
longer going to be three dollars a pack, they are going to be three dollars a piece. And
who is going to sell them to you? Who will always sell them to you? The people who will
sell you anythingorganized crime. You get the concept, we will go through the whole
darn thing again because I am telling you this country is hooked on the notion of
Let me conclude, and again this is my
predictionI will tell you I dont think it is subject to opinion. Just look at
it. Just take a look at what has happened now and what will happen. I will tell you how
inexorable it is. If we get together here in the year 2005, I will bet you that it is as
likely as not that the possession of marijuana may not be criminal in this state. But the
manufacture, sale, and possession of tobacco will be, and why? Because we love this idea
of prohibitions, we cant live without them. They are our very favorite thing because
we know how to solve difficult, social, economic, and medical problemsa new criminal
law with harsher penalties in every category for everybody.
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