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August 2003
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*Today in Marijuana History*

Today in Marijuana History

August 2, 1937: The Marijuana Tax Act is passed, enacting federal marijuana prohibition for the first time. Harry Anslinger commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, tells Congress during a remarkably brief hearing, “Marihuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.” William Woodward, representative of the AMA testifies against the legislation, saying “The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marihuana is a dangerous drug.” On the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

  • Member from upstate New York: “Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?”
  • Speaker Rayburn: “I don’t know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it’s a narcotic of some kind.”
  • “Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?”
  • Member on the committee jumps up and says: “Their Doctor Wentworth came down here. They support this bill 100 percent.”

Not true, but good enough to get Republican support and passage.

August 2, 1977: President Jimmy Carter tells Congress, “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.”

Thanks to The Week Online with DRCNet (soon to be called “The Drug War Chronicle”)

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