Pubdate: Thu, 30 Nov 2000
Date: 11/30/2000
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal (CA)
Author: Ray "Titus" Sanborn

To the editor:

The only similarities between tobacco and marijuana is they both burn
and taxes. Tobacco may be gifted; gifted marijuana will land several
or more people in prison for up to 20 years in some places. A room
full of tobacco smoke will make you sick; full of marijuana, a feeling
of well being.

The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s was the gateway for
substantial commercial trade in marijuana for recreational use. By the
1930s there were said to be 500 tea pads for smoking marijuana in New
York City alone. Today, the alcohol industry spends more lobby dollars
than anyone other than the Department of Corrections to keep marijuana

Between 1850 and 1937, marijuana was quite widely used in American
medical practice for a wide range of conditions. The United States
Pharmacopoeia admitted marijuana as a recognized medicine in 1850
under the name Extractum Cannabis and listed it until 1942. The
National Formulary and the United States Dispensatory also included
marijuana and cited recommendations for its use for numerous illnesses
to include neuralgia, gout, rheumatism, tetanus, epidemic cholera,
convulsions, hysteria, mental depression, insanity and uterine hemorrhage.

In 1937 the Treasury Department sent to Congress the draft of a bill
that became the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. This bill on its face did
not actually ban marijuana. It fully recognized the medicinal
usefulness of the substance, specifying that physicians, dentists,
veterinarians and others could continue to prescribe cannabis if they
paid a license fee of $1 per year, that druggists who dispensed
marijuana pay $15, growers pay $25, importers, manufacturers and
compounders should pay a fee of $50 a year. Only the non-medicinal,
untaxed possession or sale of marijuana was outlawed. Only 38 American
physicians paid their tax under the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, in 1970.

On January 1, 1932 the newly established Federal Bureau of Narcotics,
a unit in the Treasury Department, took over from the alcohol unit the
enforcement of the federal antiopiate and anticocaine laws; and former
Assistant Prohibition Commissioner Anslinger had no legal jurisdiction
over marijuana, but his interest in it was intense. The Bureau's first
annual report under his aegis warned that marijuana, dismissed as a
minor problem by the Treasury one year earlier, had now "come into
wide and increasing abuse in many states, and the Bureau of Narcotics
has therefore been endeavoring to impress on the various states the
urgent need for vigorous enforcement of the local cannabis laws."

California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are the 'many states' across
which our southern neighbors pass as illegal immigrants even to this
day. Antimarijuana legislation has 'slowed the tide!' In other related
news, ATF of the Treasury Department planned, equipt and executed Waco.

During his first year as commissioner of narcotics, Anslinger secured
from the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform Drug Laws the
draft of a "Uniform Antinarcotics Act," designed for adoption by state
legislatures. The conference failed to include a ban on marijuana; but
it did supply to the states an "optional text applying to the
restriction of traffic in Indian hemp." Anslinger urged on the states
the adoption of this "optional text" as well as the basic act; and
state after state complied.

Today, the people in California, Arizona and New Mexico are slowly
reversing often unusual and cruel penalties for marijuana offenses
through ballot initiatives.

The people can protect themselves by drafting legislation in good old
Roberts Rules, colonial style town meetings. How about you Redwood
Valley; remember, 'the revolution is not over.'

Ray "Titus" Sanborn,
Redwood Valley