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 Narcotics Commissioner Urges Drastic Action Against Hashish - Christian Science Monitor - Oct 3, 1931

{Only Two States Report Laws to Prevent Spread of Plant - Report of Wickersham Commission Told of Drug's Perils}Special from the Christian Science Monitor Bureau

WASHINGTON, Oct 2-Drastic action must be taken to prevent the spread in the United States of the use of marijuana or hashish, a ten acre patch of which was reported growing within the municipal limits of Philadelphia, according to Mr. Harry J. Anslinger, United States Commissioner of Narcotics.

After a careful study of the situation, Mr. Anslinger finds only two states have taken measures to restrict the use of this drug. Attention was directed to this menace in the report of the Wickersham Commission, in which it warns against this dangerous narcotic which is such a problem in some of the Near Easter countries.

At the recent convention of commissioners on "uniform state laws" Mr. Anslinger advocated a countrywide ban on the drug. "The seriousness of this situation escaped interest at the time the Wickersham report was published," said Mr. Anslinger, "but its importance cannot be overemphasized when it is realized that not only is it possible to purchase marijuana cigarettes at the corner drug store, but there is no legislative restriction against their sale. Instances of criminals using the drug to give them courage before making brutal forays are occurences commonly known to the narcotic bureau."

Given to Guests at Party

A mother of a family recently wrote Mr. Anslinger, declaring that at a party which her daughters had attended, marijuana or hashish cigarettes had been passed out to give the guests a "thrill." Probably in that state and community there was no prohibition on the distribution of this dangerous drug.

"It is reminiscent of the situation in Egypt," Mr. Anslinger continued. "Though hashish has been smoked for generations there, within the past two years the indulgence has gone suddenly to new limits, led on by groups who considered it the 'smart thing to do.'"

Mr. Anslinger deplores the lack of legislation in most of the states, "California and Texas are practically the only states having restrictive legislation against the drug," he says, "and elsewhere the situation is shocking, to say the least. I have several stacks of correspondence from various parts of the country urging that some steps be taken by the Federal Government. Bales of these harmful cigarettes have been sent to me by an agent whom I sent out to purchase them. He was able to buy all he wanted without difficulty at New York drug stores."

Three distinct species of the plant are mentioned by the Narcotic Bureau, all of which may be grown in any state in the Union, but botanist maintain all three to be merely varieties of the same plant Cannabis sativa, or common hemp. When properly used, it has a definite commercial value as is seen in the manufacture of rope. The plant is found wild in the south of the Caspian Sea and in central and southern Russia and is probably indigenous to the lower mountain section of these lands. Since it was first described it has spread to all parts

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Moraceae, with a straight, erect, undivided stalk from 3 to 18 feet in height. If not crowed, ascending leafy branches develop from the nodes.

Laws Urged on Loco Growth

Loco weeds, concerning which there has been much agitation to make their growth a crime, are leguminous plants [unknown word] the genera Astragulus and Lupinus, which seriously affect cattle and sheep. Cattlemen would be glad of any plan to rid the South and West of these pests. Loco weed is quite often ascribed to many things to which it does not belong, merely because persons who under Spanish interpret loco as meaning mad, hence any plant which is harmful in this sense is incorrectly spoken of as a "loco weed."

Recent seizures of marijuana at the seaboard indicate that it is being smuggled into California on fruit boats from South America. It is also grown to some extent in California. A favorite method is to plant it between rows of corn so it is concealed from view. A can of hashish now sells at approximately $1.50 in wholesale lots, each can containing enough marijuana to make about 41 cigarettes, retailing at 25 cents each and showing a large profit in the business.

Marijuana Ban Proposed

At the conference on uniform state laws, the following ban was proposed on marijuana:

"No person shall plant, cultivate, produce, manufacture, possess, have under his control sell, prescribe, administer, dispense or compound cannabis Indica, etc., or any preparation or derivative thereof, or offer the same for sale, administering, dispensing or compounding."

Exceptions proposed to the act which would make it lawful for the drug to be handled from medicinal purposes necessitated postponing action for another year. Mr. Anslinger declared that this exception would provide an unnecessary loophole in the restriction, for practically none of the domestically grown plant is used for pharmaceutical purposes, he asserted.

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