HMJ Classics: Blind Elders 2 — NYC, 1938

Here’s another installment of our series looking at several of the times the truth about cannabis was denied, ignored, or refused.  Go learn something.


The Shafer Commission was not the first time someone had spoken truth to power as regards cannabis. Shafer was the last time it happened at the federal level. But lets go back to the 1930’s and New York City.

The 1930’s are called The Great Depression. It was, economically, substantially a harder time than what we have been going through since 2008. Your great grandparents had it tough. Add to this mix the hostile lies spewing out of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, headed by the black heart of Harry J. Anslinger. The man who created reefer madness to serve his own political career. You and I still pay a price for this guy, even today.

The mayor of New York City called “bullshit.” Mayor Fiorello “Frank” LaGuardia, trying to fight fear, trying to keep Anslinger out of the Big Apple, who knows why — Laguardia convened a commission — The Mayors Committee — and all the right mix of people were on that board. Their charge was to go find the truth about marijuana. The year is 1938. The commission did lots of things, here’s one:

LOTS OF RACISM JUST AHEAD. BE AWARE: Black prisoners in the NY city jails were volunteering for a study that let them live comfortably, for periods of time at city expense, with all the cannabis they cared to smoke. For free. The people running this “experiment” expected the prisoners would be injured by this behavior, and they ran the test anyway.

After a time the prisoners were studied by doctors. Under medical conditions (really?) wide open marijuana consumption was tested. LaGuardia’s report:

Marijuana does not lead to addiction.

Marijuana is not a sexual stimulant.

Marijuana is not involved with the commission of serious crime.

“Those who have been smoking marihuana for a period of years showed no mental or physical deterioration which may be attributed to the drug.”

Final kick in the junk: The UN, while being organized in 1946, was willing to take LaGuardia’s report as the final word on cannabis.

Anslinger won that fight, too. But you knew that, didn’t you?

[images: Google images “LaGuardia” & “Anslinger”]

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Author: DavidB

a heathen, but hopefully not an unenlightened one

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