Pubdate: Thu, 17 Apr 2003
Source: Lumberjack, The (AZ Edu)
Copyright: 2003 Lumberjack Online
Author: Clifford Schaffer


Dear Editor,

It is always disappointing to see this kind of misinformation in any 
publication. It is most disappointing when it comes from a university 
setting where, presumably, the students should have access to better 
information and be encouraged to seek it out. Yes, marijuana is illegal for 
a reason, but Tristan Meyer obviously doesn't know what the reason is. 
Actually, there were two major reasons for the marijuana laws. Marijuana 
was originally outlawed because "All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is 
what makes them crazy" and because of the fear that heroin addiction would 
lead to the use of marijuana. Note that the second reason is just exactly 
the opposite of the "gateway myth" that Tristan parrots.

For Tristan's information, the "gateway" myth arose during the hearings for 
the Boggs Act in 1951.

Harry Anslinger, then head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was 
testifying before Congress seeking more money and staff to enforce the 
marijuana laws.

Unfortunately for him, the head of the Federal addiction research program 
testified just before him and stated that they knew for sure that all of 
the reasons that had been given to outlaw marijuana in 1937 were completely 

Anslinger, left with no justification for his budget request, made up the 
idea that marijuana is the "certain steppingstone to heroin." In doing so, 
he directly contradicted all of the available research at the time--as well 
as his own testimony for the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937.

In short, it was a hoax.

In addition, every major government study of marijuana in the last 100 
years has concluded that the marijuana laws do more harm than good and 
should have been repealed long ago. Historically speaking, only one drug 
was made illegal for the reasons that Tristan suggests. The drug was 
alcohol and its prohibition was an unqualified disaster.

A detailed analysis of Tristan's misinformation would take more space than 
his original column.

Anyone who wants to read more about the subject should refer to the 
Schaffer Library of Drug Policy at The

collection includes numerous histories of the subject by different authors 
and hundreds of original historical documents, as well as the full text of 
nearly every major government study of the subject.

I invite everyone to read the research in its entirety and draw their own 
conclusions, rather than relying on short columns by people who obviously 
didn't really study the subject.

Clifford Schaffer

Director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth