Modern Times

Modern Times--The 20th Century

1910 - African-American 'reefer' use reported in jazz clubs of New Orleans, said to be influencing white people.

1910 - Mexicans reported to be smoking cannabis in Texas.

1910 - Newspaper tycoon Randolph Hearst has 800,000 acres of prime Mexican timberland seized from him by Villa and his men.

1911 - Hindus reported to be using 'gunjah' in San Fransisco.

1911 - South Africa starts to outlaw cannabis.

1912 - First International Opium conference. The possibility of putting controls on cannabis is raised.

1915 - Utah passes the first state anti-marijuana law. Mormons who had gone to Mexico in 1910 returned smoking cannabis. It was oulawed as a result of Utah legislature enacting all Mormon religious prohibitions as law.

1915 - California outlaws cannabis.

1916 - USDA Bulletin No.404 calls for new program of expansion of hemp to replace uses of timber in industry. [David F. Musto, An historical perspective on legal and medical responses to substance abuse, *Villanova Law Review*, 18:808-817 (May), 1973; p. 816]

1917 - George Schlichten brought his decorticator to the United States and showed it to Harry Timken. Timken showed it to various 'higher ups' in the newspaper industry. Shortly after, for unknown reasons, development work on the decorticator was stopped.

1919 - Texas outlaws cannabis.

1920s - Hearst's newspapers run series of stories portraying Negroes and Mexicans as frenzied beasts under the influence of 'marijuana'. (The word 'marijuana' was used to con the American people that it was not cannabis). Local State laws against cannabis are not enforced because law enforcement officials are concerned with alcohol prohibition.

1921 - Alfred C. Prentice, M.D. a member of the Committee on Narcotic Drugs of the American Medical Association, declares "Public opinion regarding the vice of drug addiction has been deliberately and consistently corrupted through propaganda in both the medical and lay press.... The shallow pretense that drug addiction is a 'disease'.... has been asserted and urged in volumes of 'literature' by self-styled 'specialists.'" [Alfred C Prentice, The Problem of the narcotic drug addict, *Journal of the American Medical Association*, 76:1551-1556; p. 1553]

1923 - League of Nations. South Africa claims mine workers are not as productive after using 'dagga' (cannabis) and calls for international controls. Britain insists on further research before any controls are imposed.

1924 - Second International Opiates Conference. Egypt claims serious problems associated with 'hashish' use and calls for immediate international controls. The conference voted (with Britain abstaining) to declare cannabis a Narcotic and recommends strict international control.

1924 - Cannabis ruderalis identified by Lamarck.

1925 - The Panama Canal Zone Report conducted due to the level of cannabis use by soldiers in the area conludes that there is no evidence that cannabis use is habit-forming or deliterious. The report recommends that no action be taken to prevent the sale or use of cannabis.

1927 - New York outlaws cannabis.

1928, Sept 28th - The Dangerous Drugs Act 1925 becomes law and cannabis is made illegal in Britain.

1930s - "New" decorticators invented to mechanise the hemp harvest.

1930s - 1200 hash-bars in New York.

1930s - Andrew Mellon is Secretary of Treasury. (Mellon was also owner of Gulf Oil).

1930s - Hearst's sensationalist anti-marijuana stories leads to outcry for cannabis prohibition throughout the US.

1937 - By 1937, 46 of the 48 states had oulawed cannabis.

1931 - The Federal Bureau of Narcotics is formed with Anslinger appointed as its head.

1934 - Anslinger refers to 'ginger-coloured niggers' in official FBN circulars.

1936 - The FBN is under pressure from states in the south west to create federal legislation to ban cannabis.

1937 - Shortly before the Marijuana Tax Act, Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger writes: "How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, hold-ups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it [cannabis] causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured." [Quoted in John Kaplan, *Marijuana*, p. 92]

1937 - DuPont patents process for making plastics from oil and coal as well as a new bleaching process for making paper from wood pulp. DuPont advises its share holders to invest in its new petrochemical industry claiming that the government would force the acceptance of these new industries.

1937, April 14th - The Marijuana Transfer Tax Bill is introduced directly to the house Ways and Means Committee. Anslinger testifies to congress that 'marijuana' is the most violence-causing drug known to man. Objections by the American Medical Association (who only found out that 'marijuana' was cannabis two days before the hearing) and the National Oil Seed Institute are rejected.

1937, December - Marijuana Transfer Tax Act (HR 6385) is passed imposing severe restrictions on its industrial and medical use as well as making the flowering tops a narcotic subject to strict control. Objections from the bird seed industry result in special exemption for specially treated seeds.

1938, February - US magazine 'Popular Mechanics' declares 'Hemp - the New Billion Dollar Crop'. (The article had been written before the Tax Act had passed)

1938 - LaGuardia, the Mayor of New York commissions a report to investigate the use of cannabis.

1941 - Cannabis dropped from the American Pharmacopoeia.

1941 - Popular Mechanics Magazine reveal details of Henry Ford's plastic car made using hemp and fueled from hemp. Henry Ford continues to illegally grow hemp for some years after the federal ban, hoping to become independent of the petroleum industry.

1943 - 'Hemp for Victory' program which lasts until 1945 urges farmers to grow hemp for the US war effort.

1943 - A similar programme was also initiated in Germany.

1943 - Colonel J.M. Phalen, editor of the _Military Surgeon_, declares in an editorial entitled "The Marijuana Bugaboo": "The smoking of the leaves, flowers, and seeds of Cannibis sativa is no more harmful than the smoking of tobacco.... It is hoped that no witch hunt will be instituted in the military service over a problem that does not exist." [Lindensmith, _The Addict and the Law_, p234]

1944 - The LaGuardia Marijuana Report refutes claims made by Hearst and Anslinger and reports that cannabis causes no violence at all and cites other positive results. Anslinger reponds by denouncing LaGuardia and threatens doctors with prison sentences if they dare carry out independent research on cannabis.

1945 - Newsweek reports that over 100,000 Americans use cannabis.

1948 - Anslinger now declares that using cannabis causes the user to become peaceful and pacifist. He also claims that communists would use cannabis to weaken America's will to fight.

1951 - According to United Nations estimates, there are approximately 200 million marijuana users in the world, the major places being India, Egypt, North Africa, Mexico, and the United States. [Jock Young, _The Drug Takers_, p. 11]

1952 - First UK cannabis bust at the Number 11 Club, Soho, London.

1960s - Recreational use of cannabis increases rapidly in Western youth culture.

1961 - Anslinger is sacked by Kenendy. According to Judith Exner, Kennedy was the first president to smoke cannabis in the White House. Kennedy was also intending to legalize cannabis.

1963 - President Kennedy assassinated.

1964 - Thelin brothers open the first Head Shop in the US.

1964 - THC, the major psychoactive ingredient of cannabis was isolated (Goani and Mechoulam, 1964).

1967 - Full page advert appears in The Times calling for legalisation of cannabis and declaring that '...the laws against marijuana are immoral in principle and unworkable in practice'.

1968 - The British Govt funded Wooton Report states that claims about the harmful effects of cannabis have been exagerated and recommends that the criminal law should no longer play a part in personal possession of cannabis. The Callahan govt rejects these findings.

1968 - Campaign against cannabis use by US troops in Vietnam - soldiers switch to heroin.

1969 - The parents of 6,000 secondary-level students in Clifton, New Jersey, are sent letters by the Board of Education asking permission to conduct saliva tests on their children to determine whether or not they use marijuana. [Saliva tests asked for Jersey youths on marijuana use, _New York Times_, Apr. 11, 1969, p. 12]

1970s - Social use of cannabis increases and starts being more widely accepted as research indicates that it is a substance of amazing therapeutic potential. Policy of legal decriminalisation sweeps the US.

1970s - CIA sponsored 'experiments' claim to show new risks of cannabis smoking.

1970s - US Tax money shifted from jobs programs to sponsor disinformation groups.

1970 - Canadian Le Dain report claims that the debate on the non-medical use of cannabis 'has all too often been based on hearsay, myth and ill-informed opinion about the effects of the drug.'

1970 - Marijuana Tax Act declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. The same year, the Controlled Substances Act became law.

1971 - UK Misuse of Drugs Act lists cannabis as a Class B drug and bans its medical use despite the recommendation of the Wooton Report that 'preparations of cannabis and its derivatives should continue to be available on prescription for purposes of medical treatment and research'.

1971 - President Nixon declares drugs 'America's public enemy Number one'.

1972 - The house votes 366 to 0 to authorize "a $1 billion, three-year federal attack on drug abuse." [$1 billion voted for drug fight, _Syracuse Herald-Journal_, March 16, 1972, p. 32]

1972 - The US Government Shafer report voices concern at the level of spending used to stop illicit drug use. From 1969-73 the level of spending rose over 1000 per cent.

1973 - Nixon declares 'we have turned the corner on drug addiction in America'.

1973 - Drug Enforcement Administration formed to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

1973 - Michael R. Sonnenreich, Executive Director of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, declares: "About 4 years ago we spent a total of $66.4 million for the entire federal effort in the drug abuse area.... This year we have spent $796.3 million and the budget estimates that have been submitted indicate that we will exceed the $1 billion mark. When we do, we become, for want of a better term, a drug abuse industrial complex." [Michael R. Sonnenreich, 'Discussion of the Final Report of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, in 'Villanova Law Review', 18:817-827 (May), 1973, p818]

1973 - Oregon becomes the first state to take steps towards legalisation.

1975 - Hundreds of doctors call on US Government to instigate further research on cannabis.

1975 - Supreme Court of Alaska declares that 'the right of privacy' protects cannabis possession in the home. Limit for public poseesion is set at one ounce.

1975 - DEA-funded Jamaican Studies reveal good health amongst prolific users of cannabis. DEA stops further funding of that study. Use of opiates virtually unheard of in long-term cannabis users.

1976, Jan 5th - New York Times declares 'scientists find nothing really harmful about pot'

1976 - President Ford bans medical research on cannabis.

1976 - Pharmaceutical companies allowed to carry out research on synthetic cannabis 'analogues'.

1976 - Holland adopts policy of tolerance to cannabis users.

1976 - Robert Randall becomes first American to receive Cannabis from Federal supplies under a Investigational New Drug (IND) program.

1976 - Ford's chief advisor on drugs, Robert DuPont, declares that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and urges for it's decriminilisation.

1977 - Jimmy Carter elected president and declares that cannabis should be legalised.

1977 - The Joint Committee of the New York Bar Association concludes that the Rockefeller drug laws, the toughest in the nation, have had no effect in reducing drug use but have clogged the courts and the criminal justice system to the point of gridlock.

1978 - New Mexico become first US state to make cannabis available for medical use.

1980 - Costa Rican study ratifies many findings of the Jamaican studies.

1980s - Reagan/Bush war on cannabis. Head shops outlawed. Urine testing, recriminilisation, asset and property seizure, Special Alternative Incarceration Camps formed to house non-violent drug users for systematic brainwashing by such groups as 'Just Say No' and 'Partnership for a Drug Free America' who are funded predominately by tobacco and pharmaceutical companies. The price per ounce is higher than gold and in many states cannabis is the biggest cash crop.

1981 - The Coptic Study claims 'no harm to human brain or intelligence'.

1983 - Reagan/Bush administration instruct American Universities and researchers to destroy all 1966-76 cannabis research work.

1984 - U.S. busts 10,000 pounds of marijuana on farms in Mexico. The seizures, made on five farms in an isolated section of Chihuahua state, suggest a 70 percent increase in estimates that total U.S. consumption was 13,000 to 14,000 tons in 1982. Furthermore, the seizures add up to nearly eight times the 1300 tons that officials had calculated Mexico produced in 1983. [the San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday, November 24, 1984]

1985 - Drs Winter and DiFranza reveal dangers of radioactivity in tobacco. DiFranza claims that 'radiation alone could account for about half of all lung cancers in smokers'. No radioactivity exists in cannabis tars.

1985 - The Pentagon spends $40 million on interdiction. By 1990, the General Accounting Office will report that the efforts have had no discernible impact on the flow of drugs.

1988 - The Drug Enforcement Administration's Law Judge, Francis Young, after 2 years of court hearings declares that 'marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man'. The DEA rejects the ruling.

1988 - US Senate adds $2.6 billion to federal anti-drug efforts.

1989 - President Reagan declares victory in War on Drugs as being a major achievement of his administration.

1989 - US Secretary of State James A. Baker reports that the global war on narcotics production 'is clearly not being won'.

1990s - Interest in the medical and industrial uses of cannabis rises giving new support for the hope of legalisation for recreational use. Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy and parts of Australia and New Zealand adopt forms of decriminalisation.

1990 - Scientific journal 'Nature' reports THC receptors have been discovered in the human brain.

1992 - Australia licenses hemp farm.

1992 - Bush loses election to admitted ex-smokers Clinton and Gore.

1992 - IND programme dropped.

1993 - Hemcore became the first British company to obtain a licence to grow cannabis as the Home Office lift restrictions on industrial hemp cultivation.

1994 - Key rings with leaves taken from Hemcore's first harvest are illegally sold in publications such as 'Viz'. The Home Office are aware of the situation but do not prosecute Hemcore who could have been facing 15 years and an unlimited fine.

1994 - Association of Cannabis Therapeutics talks to Depatment of Health about possibility of legalising cannabis for medical use.

1994 - Paul Flynn, MP tables EDM 782 calling for the legalisation of cannabis.

1994 - Canadian government permits hemp farm in Ontario province.

1994 - Hemp Agrotech plants first commercial research crop in the US since WW2, but the crop is destroyed by DEA agents just a week before harvesting.

1994 - Clinton administration extends medical ban on cannabis.

1994 - US domestic sales of imported hemp brings in an estimated $25 million in sales.

1995, February - UK Home Secretary Michael Howard increases penalties for cannabis offences under the Criminal Justice Act, but most judges refuse to implement them.

1995, March - UK Channel 4 TV dedicates 8 hours of programming to cannabis on 'Pot Night'.

1995, April - The BBC 'redress the balance' and try to help justify Michael Howard's increase of fines with Panorama's 'High Risk', which claims to reveal 'startling new evidence' about the dangers of cannabis.

1995, October - Labour MP Clare Short says the subject of decriminilisation should be discussed. She is immediatley denounced by other leading Labour politicians.

1995, October - European Cannabis Consumer's Union formed in Amsterdam

1995, October - Activist Dan Perron forms Cannabis Buyers Club in San Fransisco which supplies high grade cannabis to people who need it medically. Authorities turn a blind eye fearing riots if it was turned over.

1996 - Politicians in 4 US states introduce legislation allowing for domestic hemp cultivation. Both Hawaii and Vermont passed measures promoting industrial hemp research.

1996 - 2 US states, California and Arizona, passed medical marijuana initiatives, allowing, among other things, use of marijuana under a doctor's care.

Posted in association with The Legalize! Initiative - the international action forum for all people concerned about the effects of current drug policy.


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