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The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937


Mr. Cullen: Mr. Lozier, you may State for the record who you represent.

Mr. Lozier: For the record and for the information of those present who do not know me, I will say I am Ralph F. Lozier; my home is in Carrolton, Mo., where I have for many years been engaged in the practice of law. I appear before this committee as general counsel for the National Institute of Oilseed Products, an association composed of about 15 or 20 concerns dealing in and crushing vegetable oil-bearing seed. I have a list of the organizations composing this association, and will hand it to the reporter for the purpose of the record.

(Said list is as follows:)


Member companies of San Francisco, Calif.: Pacific Vegetable Oil Corporation, R.J. Raesling &; Co., C.B. Jennings &;Co., S.L. Jones &;Co., and El Dorado Oil Works.

Member companies of Berkeley, Calif.: Durkie Famous Foods, Inc., and Berkeley Oil &;Meal Co.,

Member company of Oakland, Calif.: Western Vegetable Oil Corporation.

Member companies of Los Angeles, Calif.: Snow Brokerage Co., California Flax Seed Products Co., Copra Oil &;Meal Co., Pacific Nut Oil Co., Globe Grain and Milling Co., Pacific Oil &;Meal Co., Vegetable Oil Products Co., California Cotton Oil Corporation, and Producers Cotton Oil Co., Fresno, Calif.

Spencer Kellogg &;Sons, Inc., Buffalo, N.Y.: Edgewater, N.J. ; Chicago, Ill.; Des Moines, Iowa,; St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Duluth, Minn.; and Kansas City, Mo.

Mr. Lozier: May I say to this committee that, in my opinion, the measure before you is one which should not be hastily considered or hastily acted upon. It is of that type of legislation which conceals within its four corners activities, agencies, and results that this committee, without a thorough investigation, would never think were embodied in its measure.

In the first place, I want it distinctly understood that the organizations for which I speak want to go on record as favoring absolutely and unconditionally that portion of this bill which seeks to limit and suppress the use of marihuana as a drug, or for any other injurious purpose. That portion of the bill, it seems to me, can merit the opposition of no right thinking or right-acting man. I agree with the witnesses for the Government that the use of the drug marihuana is a vicious habit that should be suppressed.

I understand that the first use of this drug is lost in the mists of antiquity. It is as old as history, as ancient as civilization: but, no chemists have ever yet been able to very satisfactorily isolate or definitely determine and classify the deleterious principle, element or radical which is the base of this drug. But we do know that the objectionable principle not to be found in the seed or oil but in the flowering tops of the female plants or in the resins therefrom. Every country has a little different name for marihuana. Respectable authorities tell us that in the Orient at least 200,000,000 people use this drug; and when we take into consideration that for hundreds, yes, thousands of years, practically that number of people have been using this drug, it is significant that in Asia and elsewhere in the Orient, where poverty stalks abroad on every hand and where they draw on all the plant resources which a bountiful nature has given that domain-- it is a significant fact that none of these 200,000,000 people has ever, since the dawn of civilization, been found using the seed of this plant or the oil as a drug. Now, if there were any deleterious properties or principles in the seed or oil, it is reasonable to suppose that these orientals who have been reaching out of their poverty for something that would satisfy their morbid appetite, would have discovered it; and the mere fact that for more than 2,000 years the orientals have found this drug only in the flowering tops of female plants and not in the seeds and oils, affords convincing proof that the drug principle does not exist in the plant except in the flowering tops.

For thousands of years they have been handling the seed from this plant, and have been handling the oil extracted from the seed, but down to this good day no medical authority and no respectable writer on materia medica has ever claimed that this deleterious principle is found in the seed or oil. Neither has any reputable botanist ever found that the male plant of this species carries this deleterious substance. This drug, element, principle, radical, or whatever you want to call it, is defined as the glutinous flowering portion of the female plant. In Bengal, the male plant is weeded out or pulled out in the cultivation of the plants, because they recognize that this principle is not present in the male plants, and by preventing fertilization the yield and quality of the drug in the tops are increased. I think that the Government attorneys will not be able to present to this committee a single respectable botanical authority or a single respectable authority on materia medica, or a singe respectable authority on narcotics or toxicology, who will contend for a moment that the deleterious element or principle which we find in the resinous, glutinous portion of the flowering tops of the female plants, is found in the seeds or in the male plants. No one will contend, or no respectable authority will assert, that this deleterious principle is found either in the seed or the oil. If you will refer to the Pharmacopoeia or to the United States Dispensatory, you will find it Stated that this objectionable principle does not exist in the seed, and is not to be found in either the seed or oil

If the committee please, the hemp seed, or the seed of the Cannabis sativa., L. is used in all the Oriental nations and also in a part of Russia as food. It is grown in their fields and used as oatmeal. They have been doing that for many generations, especially in periods of famines.

I do not have time to read now from the Pharmacopoeia nor from the United States Dispensatory, but both authorities say that the narcotic principle is absolutely absent from the seed and absent from the oil in this plant.

Mr. Fuller: I do not think that the gentlemen who have presented the case on behalf of the committee, or the Government, have claimed that it was present in the oil.

Mr. Lozier: They have said it was in the seed.

Mr. Fuller: He said there was very little in the seed. He said there would be no injurious effect from the little there was in the seed.

Mr. Lozier: The point I make is this, that this bill is too all-inclusive. This bill is a world-encircling measure. This bill brings the activities, the crushing of this great industry under the supervision of a bureau, which may mean its suppression. Last year there was imported into the United States 62,813,000 pounds of hemp seed; in 1935 there were imported 116,000,000 pounds, and in 1934 there were imported 12,000,000 pounds. In the last 3 years there have been 193,000,000 pounds of hemp seed imported into this country, or an average of 64,000,000 pounds a year. Then, in addition to that, in the 3 years 1934, 1935, and 1936, 752,000 pounds of hemp oil have been imported. Considering that the seed yields 24 percent oil, the importations of oil and seed in the last 3 years amount to 46,946,000 pounds.

Mr. Woodruff: What is the oil used for?

Mr. Lozier: It is a drying oil, and its use is comparable to that of linseed oil or a perilla oil. It has a high iodine principle or strength. It is a rapidly drying oil to use in paints. It is also used in soap and linoleum.

Mr. Cooper: Just what do you object to in this bill?

Mr. Lozier: This bill brings the crushers and importers of hemp seed under its provisions, and requires not only a license fee, which is nominal, but provides for Government supervision, and it provides for reports.

Mr. Cooper: It provides for supervision of what?

Mr. Lozier: Of the industry.

Mr. Vinson: Where do you find that in the bill?

Mr. Lozier: It is included in the definition.

Mr. Dingell: How would you control the drug aspect of it without a reasonable and proper regulation of the entire industry?

Mr. Lozier: The point I make is this: There is no respectable authority, and I measure my words, because I want to be a fair man talking to a fair minded committee-- there is no respectable authority to be found for the statement that this deleterious element is present in either the seed or in the oil of this plant, even in an infinitesimal quantity.

Mr. Dingell: You grant that in order to produce the seed and the oil, you must permit the growth of the marihuana plant.

Mr. Lozier: Not in this country.

Mr. Dingell: Where do you go to get the seed?

Mr. Lozier: Nearly all of the seeds come from the Orient, It is a well known fact that the seeds imported from the Orient will not germinate readily, and practically all of the hemp grown in this country is grown from domestic grown seed, because of the low germination in foreign seeds.

Mr. McCormack: As I understand it, there is nothing in the bill that would prevent the importation of seed by crushers.

Mr. Lozier: No.

Mr. McCormack: If the crushers import seed to produce oil, it is only logical that they might produce it from seeds grown in this country, and, therefore, they might have to be under some supervision.

Mr. Lozier: The point I make is that if you turn all of the hemp seed grown in this country over to persons who have the marihuana habit, they would not be able to satisfy that habit or appetite, and neither could the chemist or compounders of the drug divide that element in either the seed or oil in such form as to satisfy even the slightest passion or appetite for this drug. In other words, the point I make is that it is not necessary----;

Mr. Vinson: Mr. Lozier, we know you, we love you, and we respect your ability as an advocate. We know that you are a real lawyer.

Mr. Lozier: I thank you for that, but I think you are over-appraising my abilities.

Mr. Vinson: Anybody who has you representing him will be well represented. Now, you spoke of the suppression of this crushing industry for which you are speaking: Suppose you, put your finger on the language in this bill that would bring about the supervision to which you object.

Mr. Lozier: Section 6, page 7, of the bill provides that--

It shall be unlawful for any person, whether or not required to pay a special tax and register under section 2, to transfer marihuana, except in pursuance of a written order of the person to whom such marihuana is transferred, on a form to be issued in blank for that purpose by the Secretary.

Subject to such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe.

Then, on page 9, subsection 5, there is a reference-----

to a transfer of paints or varnishes of which marihuana is an ingredient.

Mr. Vinson: That excepts it from the operation of the bill.

Mr. Lozier: Yes, sir.

Mr. Vinson: You are not objecting to that.

Mr. Lozier: Not to the exception----

Mr. Vinson: You favor that.

Mr. Lozier: Yes, sir.

Mr. Buck: Is it your objection that this exception must be subject to regulation by the Secretary?

Mr. Lozier: Yes; that is one reason.

Mr. Vinson: I have gotten down to the point of finding out what you are objecting to. The exception you refer to is an exception in your favor. Now, what supervisory functions are you objecting to?

Mr. Lozier: I am objecting to, first, with reference to the supervision---

Mr. Vinson: (interposing). The supervision of what?

Mr. Lozier: Of the industry by requiring reports, and by a system of espionage.

Mr. Vinson: Where is that in the bill?

Mr. Lozier: They are required to make reports. The books of the crushers would be subject to inspection, which includes authority to oversee the activities of the industry. Under this bill, the Government has a right to go into the factories and offices, and make investigations.

Mr. Vinson: It seems to me that you are so certain that the activities of your people are not connected, directly or indirectly, with the use of this marihuana as a drug that you would not hesitate to permit an investigation, if an investigation is called for under this bill, in order to kill this traffic. I know that your people are not knowingly a part or parcel of the traffic. I know that from what you say. If that is not the case, of course, they ought to come under the law, and if that is the case, they will not be hurt.

Mr. Lozier: I will answer that in this way, that there is no more reason for supervision of the hemp-seed crushing industry under this bill than there is for the supervision of the milling of rye, wheat, or any other grain from which alcohol may be extracted.

Mr. Vinson: Cannot marihuana be grown from seeds that come into the possession of your crushers?

Mr. Lozier: Yes, sir; it might be, but the germination of those seeds is practically nil.

Mr. Vinson: But you admit that this plant can be grown from seed coming into the possession of your people, and, that being true, do you think it proper to provide for the exercise of the Government's function to do that which will prevent the further propagation of this plant in this country?

Mr. Lozier: I might answer that in this way, by saying that these people buy cargoes. They buy this product by shiploads, by trainloads, and by carloads. They manufacture this oil and sell it in tank cars. They have been engaged in this business for years, and never until the last 3 weeks was any suggestion made that they were handling a commodity that was carrying a deleterious principle that was contributing to the delinquency of the people of the United States.

Mr. Vinson: Perhaps the committee in a way might be subjected to criticism for not acting on the matter before; but it is fair to State it was not called to our attention; if you admit that this marihuana is a menace to the youth as well as the adult citizenship of this country, do you not recognize the power of the Federal Government to operate on that drug?

Mr. Lozier: Yes.

Mr. Vinson: If you recognize that, do you not also recognize in the Government the power and the right to prevent the illicit growth of that plant?

Mr. Lozier: I am objecting to the method.

Mr. Vinson: Do you not recognize the power of Congress to do that?

Mr. Lozier: Yes; the Government has that absolute power, but the question is whether or not the Government should exercise it in this way.

Mr. Vinson: I think that your people ought to hasten to join hands with the Federal Government to prevent the condition obtaining in this country that my good friend has depicted as existing in oriental countries.

Mr. Lozier: If it will bring about that result, well and good, but, as you know, it has been admitted here, and the books show it, that this plant exists all over this Nation, and the question is how far this bill shall go. If it be true that Cannabis sativa. is one species, and that there are other species, or plants of a different genus or family , containing this deleterious principle, then, by the limitation in section 1, you have made it impossible to regulate or supervise the deleterious products that come from those other species. I am not very familiar with botany, but there is the family, the genus, and the species. this bill is directed only to one species, and the botanists or authorities are not agreed as to whether the Cannabis sativa. Americana is the same species as Cannabis sativa. L--the L referring to Linne, the Swedish botanist who identified and described this plant and its products.

Mr. Cooper: While this is all very interesting, and while I appreciate your exhaustive discussion of the subject, yet, in order to be helpful to me, I would like for you to go back to the bill itself. I would be glad to have you analyze the bill we have under consideration. In your splendid statement you have referred to section 6, and have also, discussed paragraph 5 on page 9. Paragraph 5 is an exception that is included in section 6.

Mr. Lozier: Yes.

Mr. Cooper: Now, from that point, will you be kind enough to proceed and point out to the committee the exact language in the bill which you think would make the operation of it unfair to your industry?

Mr. Cullen: If you will suspend for a moment, let me say the House is now in session. We have dispensed with Calendar Wednesday, and will take up the second deficiency bill, in which many Members are interested. I am wondering if we should not adjourn at this point to meet again tomorrow morning.

Mr. Cooper: I agree to that suggestion.

Mr. Lozier: If you will allow me one moment before adjournment, I will call your attention to paragraph 6, page 9, which is an exception that permits the crusher to sell marihuana to the manufacturer or compounder for use by the vendee as a material in the manufacture of, or to be prepared by him as a component of paint or varnish. Now, under that provision, you could not sell the cake or meal to farmers or the oil to makers of soap or linoleum.

Mr. Cullen: The committee will now stand adjourned until 10:30 tomorrow morning, at which time we will continue hearing the testimony of witnesses in opposition to the bill.

(Thereupon, at 12 noon, the committee adjourned to meet tomorrow, Thursday, Apr. 29, 1937, at 10:30 A.M.)


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