Saturday, November 05, 2005

Deeds of Maniacal Insanity - Men Become Beasts

Okay. Now I understand.

I posted recently on Denver’s passage of an citizen-initiated ballot measure that decriminalizes the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. The measure passed, by 53% of the vote.

Today, perhaps ironically, the Rocky Mountain News reported that the first arrest in the United States on a charge related to marijuana possession occurred in Denver on October 2nd, 1937. The News story reports that: “On Oct. 2, 1937, in the somewhat shady Lexington Apartments at 1200 California St. in Denver, Samuel R. Caldwell became the first person in the United States to be arrested on a marijuana charge. Caldwell, a 58-year-old unemployed laborer moonlighting as a dealer, was nailed by the FBI and Denver police for peddling two marijuana cigarettes to one Moses Baca, 26."

“If you're wondering why it took the U.S. government so long to bust a pot dealer, it's because until the Marijuana Stamp Act was passed - on you guessed it, Oct. 2, 1937 - cannabis wasn't illegal. Certainly, it had been vilified in newspapers with headlines such as ‘Murder Weed Found Up and Down Coast: Deadly Marijuana Plant Ready for Harvest That Means Enslavement of California Children.’”

The News story went on to report that: “Harry J. Anslinger, for example, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was a vociferous foe of cannabis. In his book, Assassin of Youth, he labeled marijuana ‘dangerous as a coiled rattlesnake,’ and anguished, ‘How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can be only conjectured.’

“Indeed. Texas cops insisted that because it fueled a "lust for blood" and imbued its imbibers with ‘superhuman strength,’ pot was the catalyst for unspeakably violent crimes.”
The News story reported the sentencing judge’s remarks: "’I consider marijuana the worst of all narcotics, far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine,’ thundered Symes from the bench. ‘Under its influence, men become beasts…’”

So, now I understand.

The first picture, above, shows Samuel R. Caldwell prior to smoking that doobie; the second picture shows him after finishing that doobie.

Oh, the humanity!

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