No Credit Check Payday Loans



JoomlaWatch Agent

Visitors hit counter, stats, email report, location on a map, SEO for Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Magento and Prestashop

JoomlaWatch Users

JoomlaWatch Visitors

54% United States  United States
11.3% United Kingdom  United Kingdom
5.9% Australia  Australia
5.6% Canada  Canada
3.3% Philippines  Philippines
2.2% Kuwait  Kuwait
2.1% India  India
1.6% Germany  Germany
1.5% Netherlands  Netherlands
1.1% France  France

Today: 185
Yesterday: 310
This Week: 1548
Last Week: 2303
This Month: 5360
Last Month: 5638
Total: 24125

Written by Jerome Himmelstein   
Sunday, 05 December 2010 00:00


Two issues have preoccupied those who have studied the history of marihuana in the United States: the origins of the federal antimarihuana legislation in the 1930s and the widespread controversy over the drug that characterized the late 1960s and early 1970s and has not yet been wholly resolved. In each case, work has been guided by two specific hypotheses. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 has been explained as the result of the entrepreneurial activity of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) or as a reflection of the grassroots anti-Mexican sentiment arising from Anglo-Mexican conflict in the Southwest. We shall call the former notion the "Anslinger Hypothesis" after Harry Anslinger, the commissioner of the FBN from its creation in 1930 to his retirement in 1962, and the latter the "Mexican Hypothesis." Growing support for marihuana law reform in the last twelve years has been linked to the increase in use among the middle class, while the often strident opposition to such reform has been tied to marihuana's role as a symbol of the Counterculture. We shall dub these two assertions respectively the "Embourgeoisement Hypothesis" and the "Hippie Hypothesis." Before examining in detail what these hypotheses tell us and what evidence bears on each, let us first look briefly at the history of marihuana use and controls in the United States.


The Cannabis sativa or hemp plant has been cultivated for its fiber, its seeds, and its leaves, flowering tops, and resin.' The fiber has been used in linen, canvas, and rope; the seeds in bird food and as the source of a fast-drying oil; and the leaves, flowering tops, and resin for a variety of religious, medicinal, and psychoactive purposes. Preparations of cannabis for this last set of uses have had a large number of names—marihuana (marijuana), hashish, kif, bhang, ganja, karas, pot, grass, and many others. We shall simply call them marihuana.

Although there is some controversy about exactly when marihuana was first used, its history extends well into antiquity. Chinese and Indian use may date as early as several millenia before Christ and certainly no later than 800 B.C. Its use in mid-Asia by the Scythians, Persians, and Assyrians occurred as early as 700 B.C., and it was established in the Islamic world by A.D. 1000. In subsequent centuries, it was spread by the Arabs to Africa and the Mediterranean. The practice of smoking has a later origin, arising only after the introduction of tobacco into the Old World in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

While Europeans had cultivated cannabis for its fiber at least as early as the Renaissance, psychoactive use was introduced only in the nineteenth century when Napoleon's armies brought hashish back to France from Egypt. The drug, however, did not become popular beyond the small group of artists and writers (including Gautier, Hugo, Baudelaire, and Balzac) who made up the "Club des Haschischins."

Spanish and English settlers introduced the cannabis plant into the New World for fiber and seed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and it was a major crop in the United States through the nineteenth century. Cultivation fell off in the late 1800s as imported hemp fiber proved cheaper, but it left a legacy of hundreds of thousands of acres of wild marihuana, the eradication of which would become a major problem for U.S. law enforcement officials in the 1930s.

Cannabis extracts were used by physicians in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to treat a number of conditions including menstrual cramps, asthma, opiate withdrawal symptoms, cough, insomnia, lack of appetite, and convulsions. The United States Pharmacopeia listed marihuana as a recognized medicine from 1850 through 1942. Effective use of the drug, however, was always hampered by its insolubility in water, slow action, variable potency, and the inconsistency of patient response. With the introduction of new synthetic drugs in the 1900s, it quickly fell into disuse.

Psychoactive use of cannabis was rare in the United States before the twentieth century, beyond some experimental use of hashish by the writers Fitzhugh Ludlow and Bayard Taylor. Marihuana use did flourish, however, in Mexico and Central America in the late nineteenth century, and Mexican laborers seeking agricultural work brought the drug into the United States in the early 1900s. Marihuana use was noted among Mexican populations in Texas in the 1910s and eventually throughout the West and Southwest and as far north as Chicago in the 1920s. The drug spread to poor blacks in the 1920s, first in New Orleans and later throughout the South and North. It was used by both black and white jazz musicians by the 1930s and had spread to the beat culture of New York and San Francisco and to some intellectual and artistic groups by the 1950s. Despite the lurid late-1930s propaganda, however, marihuana use prior to the 1960s was neither large-scale nor prevalent among adolescents.

Marihuana use in the United States increased dramatically in the 1960s and spread particularly to middle-class youth. The changing use patterns had their roots in the influx of adolescents into the beat scene in the late 1950s and the growing public attention given to experimentation with psychedelics in the early 1960s. The beat and psychedelic worlds were relatively accessible to adolescents and college youth, and the alienated stance of each to the dominant society made marihuana use appear as a suitable symbol of youthful rebellion. The first Gallup Poll on marihuana in 1969 showed that 4 percent of the American people had used the drug at least once. By 1973, 12 percent had; by 1977, 24 percent. Prevalence rates were particularly high among college students. According to the Gallup Poll, 22 percent of all college students had tried marihuana by 1969, and by 1974, over half had done so. The 1977 Gallup Poll showed that although marihuana use had diffused widely throughout the population, it remained most common among those under thirty and those with a college education.

The legal history of marihuana is quite distinct from that of heroin or cocaine. It was not included in the 1914 Harrison Act or the 1922 Narcotic Drug Import-Export Act, the original federal laws that controlled opium and coca derivatives. The first legal controls on marihuana use in the United States originated at the local level and with a few exceptions followed the diffusion of the drug. The city of El Paso passed the first ordinance to ban the sale and possession of the drug in 1914; and based on a complaint from that city, importation of marihuana for nonmedical purposes was banned by the federal government in the next year under the provisions of the 1906 Food and Drug Act. By 1933, thirty-three states—twenty west of the Mississippi—had legislation against nonmedical distribution of marihuana. Between 1933 and 1940, nearly all the states adopted the Uniform Narcotic Drugs Act and usually with a provision against marihuana.

After the inclusion of marihuana in the Food and Drug Act in 1915, nothing was done about marihuana on the federal level until 1929, when the act establishing two "narcotics farms" for treating "addicts" classified "Indian Hemp" for the first time as a "narcotic." In 1934, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics began to publicize the alleged dangers of marihuana use to convince states to pass the Uniform Narcotic Drugs Act. Subsequently, the bureau turned its attention to the federal level, where it convinced Congress to pass the Marihuana Tax Act, which made the sale and use of marihuana federal offenses. Penalties for these offenses were increased and standardized with those for other narcotics in the 1951 Boggs Act and the 1956 Narcotics Control Act, which were copied by most of the states. In contrast, the 1960s and 1970s witnessed significant reductions and in some cases removal of criminal penalties for marihuana use, a matter that we shall discuss in detail in chapter 6.

Responsibility for the enforcement of federal narcotics laws has moved from agency to agency over the years. Prior to 1930, the 1914 Harrison Act (controlling the domestic production and sale of narcotics) was policed first by the Internal Revenue Service and then by the Prohibition Bureau, while the 1922 Narcotic Drugs Import-Export Act was the province of the Federal Narcotics Control Board. In 1930, with Prohibition on the skids, these two narcotics control functions were joined in the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a newly created agency in the Department of Treasury. The FBN maintained its aegis over narcotics until the mid-1960s, when pursuant to the recommendation of the President's 1963 Advisory Commission on Narcotic and Drug Abuse, President Lyndon Johnson combined all control of illicit drug traffic in the Justice Department's Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and all control of licit production in the Food and Drug Administration. In 1973, President Richard Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency as the overseer of illicit drug control.


Everyone who has studied the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 acknowledges the role of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in its passage. The matter is not controversial. The important question is what kind of role did it play? The answer to this question distinguishes the Ailslinger Hypothesis from the Mexican Hypothesis. The Anslinger Hypothesis argues that the FBN, acting on its own initiative, turned marihuana use into a public issue and procured passage of the Marihuana Tax Act. The Mexican Hypothesis argues that the marihuana issue was rooted in anti-Mexican sentiment in the West and Southwest and that the Marihuana Tax Act was the direct or indirect result of racially motivated pressure from that part of the country. In this view, rather than creating an issue, the bureau merely capitalized on already existing concern; rather than seeking legislation on its own initiative, it reacted to local pressure.

The Ansfinger Hypothesis dates at least back to Howard Becker's research in the early 1950s and for a long time dominated the field. Although Alfred Lindesmith and others suggested in the 1960s that disapproval of marihuana use was based on its association with the "lower classes," serious consideration of the Mexican Hypothesis developed only in the work of David Musto and John Helmer in the early 1970s."

To facilitate discussion and comparison of these two hypotheses, let us further specify what is at issue. In the early 1930s, as definitive marihuana historians Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread II have shown, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics steadfastly denied that marihuana use was a problem and argued strongly against any federal legislation.' By 1935, however, the bureau was decrying the "marihuana menace" as part of its effort to procure state adoption of the Uniform Narcotic Drugs Act, and by 1936 it was making plans to seek a national law. Any explanation of the bureau's behavior must ultimately explain why this reversal occurred when it did.

The Anslinger Hypothesis

The Anslinger Hypothesis is an application of the notion of entrepreneurship, and its classic formulation comes from Becker: "The Treasury Department's Bureau of Narcotics furnished most of the enterprise that produced the Marihuana Tax Act." Central to the history of this act, Becker argues, is "the story of an entrepreneur whose initiative and enterprise overcame public apathy and indifference."4

To support his assertion, Becker notes the FBN's verbal support for marihuana legislation in its annual reports in the mid-1930s and its predominant role during the congressional hearings. He also points out that those magazine articles at the time that called attention to the marihuana problem often bore the mark of the bureau's influence: Of the seventeen articles indexed in The Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature from July 1937 to June 1939, ten explicitly acknowledged its help or simply cited facts from its publications and testimony; others repeated marihuana "atrocity stories" that originated with the bureau.

Becker does not concern himself, however, with the FBN's motives in seeking antimarihuana legislation. He is more concerned with how and who than with why. Indeed he explicitly sidesteps the issue.

While it is, of course, difficult to know what the motives of Bureau officials were, we need assume no more than that they perceived an area of wrongdoing that properly belonged in their jurisdiction and moved to put it there. The personal interest they satisfied in pressing for marihuana legislation was one common to many officials: the interest in successfully accomplishing the task one has been assigned and in acquiring the best tools with which to accomplish it.'

In other words, the issue of motivation is not problematic, and thus we can assume the simplest explanation. Contrary to some interpretations, Becker never refers to the bureau as a "moral crusader" or a "crusading reformer," nor does he suggest that the bureau sought antimarihuana legislation for moralistic reasons. He simply does not address the issue of motivation.

Many subsequent writers, either following Becker's lead or working independently, have adopted the Anslinger Hypothesis.

[The Marihuana Tax Act] was the result of a publicity campaign staged by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics under Mr. Anslinger's direction and leadership.'

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics had created a villainous bete noir out of whole cloth.'

The 1937 Tax Act was the culmination of a series of efforts on the part of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics to generate antimarihuana legislation.'

In these and similar works attention is squarely on the bureau's actions.' These authors, however, never really question the nature of the FBN's role or justify their exclusive focus on the bureau. They simply assume that the bureau acted on its own initiative rather than being pushed and that it created the marihuana issue rather than adopting it. They rarely critically examine these assumptions or present data relevant to their validity.

The proponents of the Anslinger Hypothesis also hardly ever attempt to explain why the bureau acted as and when it did. They generally follow Becker, contenting themselves with describing what the bureau did. Those who offer explanations often do so in an offhand way. Joel Fort suggests that the FBN was trying to steal some of the publicity lavished on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Erich Goode describes the FBN as an "ideological imperialist" that desired to foist its views of right and wrong on the world." Neither goes into detail or considers why the bureau sought a national law in 1936 but not a few years before.

An exception is Donald Dickson, who systematically argues that a need for "bureaucratic survival and growth," not a desire to legislate morality, was the primary factor in the bureau's decision to seek a national antimarihuana law." He points out that 1936 was a good year for the bureau as a moral crusader but a bad year for it as a bureaucracy. Virtually every state had enacted a law against marihuana, but the bureau's budgetary appropriation was the lowest in a decade. Under these circumstances, the bureau began to push for a national marihuana law so that it could use its increased scope of operations as a basis for future demands for increased funding.

Although Dickson's argument is plausible, it runs into several problems. There is no evidence that the bureau used the Marihuana Tax Act in any systematic way to argue for subsequent budgetary increases, and as Dickson notes, no major increases were forthcoming. Subsequent research on the bureau's deliberations in 1935 and 1936, moreover, does not show that a desire to increase appropriations entered into the bureau's decision to seek a national law.' 2 Finally, as we shall see, the bureau generally did not attempt to survive by expanding but by avoiding expansion and its attendant dangers of overcommitment and conflict with other vested interests.

The Anslinger Hypothesis, in short, remains primarily a description of the FBN's actions; it offers no convincing explanations. Its assumptions, moreover, remain unexamined by most of its proponents. Building upon the work of Bonnie and Whitebread and Patricia Morgan, we shall show that the bureau's motives were far different from those assumed by the Anslinger Hypothesis." Far from being an aggrandizing bureaucracy, a rapacious moral crusader, or a publicity hound, the FBN was a rather diffident agency that sought to preserve its power by strictly limiting the affairs under its control. Constrained by low Depression budgetary appropriations and chastened by the experience of Prohibition, the bureau pushed for a governmental division of labor in which it made general drug control policy, and the states did most of the day-to-day enforcement. To this end, it attempted to get the states to adopt the Uniform Narcotic Drugs Act and first evoked the "marihuana menace" as part of this effort. Its subsequent support for federal legislation appears to be an unintended consequence of this earlier activity.

The Mexican Hypothesis

The Mexican Hypothesis generally follows the notion of symbolic politics, and its first serious proponent, David Musto, acknowledges the influence of Gusfield. Musto's general analysis of American narcotics controls runs as follows:

The most passionate support for legal prohibition of narcotics has been associated with fear of a given drug's effect on a specific minority. . . .

In each instance, use of a particular drug was attributed to an identifiable and threatening minority group. The occasion for legal prohibition of drugs for non-medical purposes appears to come at a time of social crisis between the drug-linked group and the rest of American society.

"The attack on marihuana," Musto argues, "occurred in the 1930s when Chicanos became a distinct and visible unemployed minority."" The advent of the Depression made Mexican laborers who had immigrated to the United States in the previous decades an "unwelcome surplus" and heightened anti-Mexican sentiment in the Southwest. The anti-Mexican sentiment created an "intense" fear of marihuana, which was associated with Mexicans, and local officials pressured the federal government for an antimarihuana law. This pressure, Musto concludes, "could well have been sufficient to induce" the bureau to come up with an appropriate piece of legislation. He cites as evidence Anslinger's own claim that he acted only in response to grass-roots agitation."
John Helmer makes a similar argument but goes into more detail and adds some original ramifications." He locates the economic conflict in which antimarihuana sentiment thrived in California's urban areas, where the growing mass of unemployed Mexicans during the Depression were perceived as a welfare and crime problem and where a movement to deport surplus Mexican laborers developed. In this context, jailing Mexicans on marihuana charges became part of the general attempt to reduce the labor surplus, and an antimarihuana ideology became one way of unifying and giving legitimacy to the anti-Mexican sentiments of various social groups. In turn, the concern about marihuana led to "growing political pressure from the Southwest to put a federal ban of marijuana on the books and federal agents in the field." It also generated an "ideology of marijuana" that "grew independently of the original concern." "

Musto's and Helmer's arguments are plausible. There were, after all, intense anti-Mexican feelings in California in the early 1930s, and marihuana was identified as a drug used by Mexicans. They lack empirical support, however, at crucial points. Musto never shows that fear of marihuana was "intense" at the time, and Hehner does not document either a substantial rise in marihuana arrests in the 1930s or the role of an antimarihuana ideology in forging a broad coalition of anti-Mexican forces. As we shall see in chapter 3, concern about marihuana in California in the 1930s was almost nonexistent.'9

Similarly, neither Musto nor Helmer provides much direct evidence of local political pressure on the federal government. In fact, they cite less than a handful of letters—two from Louisiana state officials to the surgeon general and the Prohibition commissioner in 1920; one from a U.S. marshal in Oklahoma to Anslinger in 1934; and one from a Colorado newspaper editor to Anslinger in 1936. Bonnie and Whitebread report perhaps another seven or eight expressions of concern and requests for national legislation between 1915 and 1937, but we are still left with but a dozen examples of pressure spread over twenty years. Some of these, moreover, do not come from the West, and most do not explicitly mention Mexicans.2° Above all, there appears to have been no great increase in pressure just prior to the bureau's policy shift in 1935.

The pressure argument rests simply on Commissioner Axislinger's own account that the bureau was moved to act in 1935 by urgent requests from local officials. This, however, is not enough to make the case. As Bonnie and Whitebread and others have shown, Anslinger consistently exaggerated the magnitude of public concern over marihuana use at the time, and he may have continued to do so in retrospect. The bureau had an interest in portraying its request for a national law as a response to popular clamor, rather than as its own idiosyncratic decision.

The Mexican Hypothesis has identified an important relationship but has misconstrued its nature. The crucial link between Mexicans and federal marihuana policy was not locally based political pressure from the Southwest but a specific image of marihuana that emerged from the context of marihuana use by Mexicans and was used to justify antimarihuana legislation. Because Mexican laborers and other lower-class groups were identified as typical marihuana users, the drug was believed to cause the kinds of antisocial behavior associated with these groups, especially violent crime. This led to a particular image of marihuana as a "killer weed," which then was used to justify both the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act and the Marihuana Tax Act. We shall show how this image of marihuana developed in the Southwest and in New Orleans in the 1910s and 1920s, found its way into the federal bureaucracy in the 1930s, and ultimately framed public discussion of the drug until the 1960s.

Since the proponents of the Anslinger Hypothesis have not developed an effective theory of why the bureau acted as and when it did and the advocates of the Mexican Hypothesis have failed to show that local pressure pushed the bureau into seeking a national law, the basic questions about the Marihuana Tax Act posed earlier remain unanswered. Any effort to improve upon either approach should start with the realization that although the Mexican Hypothesis was developed as a rebuttal to the Anslinger Hypothesis, the intellectual impulses underlying the two are not necessarily contradictory. A complete understanding of the Marihuana Tax Act requires attention to both the bureau's actions and the social context in which it acted. What is needed is a synthesis of the two approaches that looks at the preexisting concern and beliefs about marihuana, the bureau's actions, and the connection between the two. In examining the origins of the Marihuana Tax Act and the genesis of the "killer weed" image, we shall construct such a synthesis.


The historical closeness of the great marihuana controversy of the 1960s and 1970s has often discouraged theoretical analysis. The major assessments of the period often have appeared too obvious, too commonsensical to require extended commentary or elaboration. Accordingly, the literature on the topic is limited. Neither the Embourgeoisement Hypothesis nor the Hippie Hypothesis has attracted detailed study, and this is the major problem with each hypothesis.

The Embourgeoisement Hypothesis

The Embourgeoisement Hypothesis is a fairly straightforward application of the social locus concept. It argues that the large-scale spread of marihuana use to middle-class youth in the 1960s led to a reevaluation of the drug's dangers and to pressure for marihuana law reform. The wholly negative image of marihuana and the draconian penalties for use that had been acceptable when users were socially marginal gave way once use shifted to the middle class."

Thus stated, the Embourgeoisement Hypothesis has become such a commonplace of reflection on the late 1960s and early 1970s that little attention has been given to how it was accomplished. How exactly did a change in the social background of marihuana users influence perceptions of the drug's dangers and laws concerning its use? What were the mediating links? The most common answer to these questions in sociological and historical literature argues that the secret to the embourgeoisement of marihuana lay in self-interested policymakers and politically mobilized users. As marihuana use increased among middle-class youth in the late 1960s and as arrests for use skyrocketed, effective pressure for law reform came from powerful, influential parents, especially the policymakers themselves, who had a direct interest in preventing their children from being stigmatized as criminals. At the same time, this increase in middle-class marihuana use turned the users themselves into a political force capable of influencing public discussion of the drug and capable of procuring marihuana law reform through both diffuse pressure and special lobbies like the National Organization for the Reform of Marihuana Laws.

This answer may be termed "instrumental" because it focuses primarily on the political process through which individual and social actors rationally and consciously shaped public discussion of the marihuana issue. It seeks to find out how changes in the users' social background influenced social policy by looking at who was active in shaping that policy. There is much truth to this answer, and we shall expand upon it in the coming pages. At the same time, however, we shall develop a second answer (also present in the literature, but distinctly underdeveloped) and in the process point out the limits of the first. To be sure, self-interested policymakers and politically mobilized users were important, but they did not operate in a vacuum. The public discussion of marihuana and marihuana law always has occurred within an ideological framework, a tacit set of assumptions that shapes how the drug and drug laws are discussed and what political alternatives appear plausible and appropriate. The dynamic of interests and pressure groups shapes this framework to an extent, but it is also constrained by it. The ideological framework demarcates a political terrain; changes in the framework can alter this terrain. Thus, it is not enough to ask who effected marihuana law reform; we must also know something about the framework within which they worked.

The increase in middle-class marihuana use brought about marihuana law reform not only by shaping interests and pressure groups but also by directly altering the issues and arguments that could be raised plausibly about the drug and the law. In other words, it changed the way in which the public discussion of marihuana was framed. This new framework was more receptive to the notion that marihuana use was not so dangerous, and it rendered support for marihuana law reform more plausible. In our discussion of marihuana in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we shall examine the complex ways in which this ideological framework changed and the differences these changes made.

The Hippie Hypothesis

The Hippie Hypothesis is another application of the symbolic politics concept, and Gusfield's influence again is directly evident." It argues that marihuana became associated with the political and cultural rebellion of its youthful users—what was known as the Counterculture—in the late 1960s. As the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse noted in 1972: "Few of us have not seen or heard of marihuana being used en masse at rock concerts, political demonstrations and gatherings of campus activists."" As a result, marihuana became a symbol for both adults and youth of youthful rebellion and intergenerational conflict. Disapproval of marihuana use came to reflect not what the drug did, but what it represented. As John Kaplan, the main proponent of this hypothesis, put it in 1970:

Today a great part of the objection to marihuana use is not based upon any effect of the drug, but rather upon the entire life-style that many associate with it. The public mind often conceives of the marijuana-user as a long-haired hippie, and even those sophisticated enough to realize the oversimplicity of this view often associate marijuana use with a life-style and a set of values very different from their own.'

Kaplan identified some of these values as hedonism, political radicalism, distrust of authority, and permissiveness.
In this context, condemning marihuana use became a symbolic way of condemning the Counterculture, and support for criminal penalties against the drug became a symbolic way of asserting the legitimacy of the dominant culture. Similarly, approval of marihuana and opposition to the existing laws were a symbolic approval of the Counterculture and condemnation of the dominant culture:

If marijuana is legalized, it will be a symbolic victory for the youthful adherents of the experiential counter-culture. Keeping marijuana within the criminal law, on the other hand, will be an 'act of ceremonial deference' toward present middle class standards, as Prohibition was for the old middle class of the 1920s."

Although the Hippie Hypothesis is quite plausible, it distinguishes more sharply between the effects of a drug and what it symbolizes than actual public discussion did. As we shall discover, most objections to marihuana were not explicitly based on what the drug symbolized but rather on its alleged effects. If the symbolic content of marihuana dominated public discussion, it did so in a less direct, less explicit way, not by preempting the discussion of effects but by shaping that discussion. We shall argue that the emergence of marihuana as a symbol of the youthful Counterculture was partly responsible for a shift in the effects imputed to marihuana from violence to passivity. The symbolic content of marihuana, in other words, intruded into public discussion in more complex ways than imagined by the Hippie Hypothesis.

The Anslinger, Mexican, Embourgeoisement, and Hippie hypotheses lay out the issues around which our consideration of the history of marihuana in the next five chapters will be organized. We shall combine an evaluation of these issues with an examination of the changing terms in which marihuana, its users, and the law were publicly discussed.


1. The following account of marihuana history draws upon these works: Richard H. Blum and associates, Utopiates (New York: Atherton Press, 1964) and Society and Drugs (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1969); Richard J. Bonnie and Charles Whitebread II, The Marihuana Conviction (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1974); Edward M. Brecher et ah, Licit and Illicit Drugs (Boston: Little, Brown, 1972); Henry Brill, "Recurrent Patterns in the History of Drug Dependence and Some Interpretations," in Drugs and Youth: Proceedings of the Rutgers Symposium on Drug Abuse, ed. J. R. Wittenborn et al. (Springfield, Charles Thomas, 1969), pp.
34    The Strange Career of Marihuana
8-25; William A. Emboden, Jr., "Ritual Use of Cannabis Sativa: A Historical Ethnographic Survey," in The Flesh of the Gods, ed. Peter Furst (New York: Praeger, 1972), pp. 214-236; Joel Fort, "Giver of Delight or Liberator of Sin: Drug Use and 'Addiction' in Asia," Bulletin on Narcotics 17, no. 3 (1965):1-11 and 17, no. 4 (1965):13-19; Louis Lewin, Phantastica (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1965); Ned Polsky, Hustlers, Beats, and Others (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969), pp. 144-182; Richard E. Schultes, "Man and Marihuana," Natural History 82 (August 1973):58-63; Soloman M. Snyder, "What We Have Forgotten About Pot," New York Times Magazine, 13 December 1970, pp. 26-27; Robert P. Walton, Marihuana: America's New Drug Problem (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1938). All Gallup Poll data are courtesy of the American Institute of Public Opinion.

2. Howard S. Becker, Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance (New York: Free Press, 1963); Alfred J. Lindesmith, The Addict and the Law (New York: Random House, 1965); David Solomon, ed., The Marihuana Papers (New York: New American Library, 1966); Joel Fort, The Pleasure-Seekers (New York: Grove Press, 1969); Shirley J. Cook, Variations in Response to Illegal Drug Use (Toronto: Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Research Foundation, 1970); David F. Musto, The American Disease (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973) and "The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937," Archives of General Psychiatry 26 (1972):101-108; John Helmer, Drugs and Minority Oppression (New York: Seabury Press, 1975); John Helmer and Thomas Vietorisz, Drug Use, the Labor Market and Class Conflict (Washington, D.C.: Drug Abuse Council, 1974).

3. Bonnie and Whitebread, Marihuana Conviction.

4. Becker, Outsiders, pp. 138, 135.

5. Ibid., p. 138.

6. Lindestnith, Addict and Law, p. 226.

7. Solomon, Marihuana Papers, p. xvi.

8. Lester Grinspoon, Marihuana Reconsidered (New York: Bantam, 1971), p. 22.

9. Jerry Mandel, "Hashish, Assassins, and the Love of God," Issues in Criminology 2 (1966):149-156; Joseph S. Oteri and Harvey A. Silvergate, "In the Marketplace of Free Ideas: A Look at the Passage of the Marihuana Tax Act," in Marihuana: Myths and Realities, cd J. L. Simmons (North Hollywood, Calif.: Brandon House, 1967), pp. 136-162; Donald T. Dickson, "Bureaucracy and Morality," Social Problems 16 (1968):143-156; Jerome H. Skolnick, "Coercion to Virtue: The Enforcement of Morals," Southern California Law Review 41 (1968):588-641; Fort, Pleasure-Seekers; Roger Smith, "U.S. Marihuana Legislation and the Creation of a Social Problem," in The New Social Drug, ed. David Smith (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1970), pp. 105-117; Brecher, Drugs; Erich Goode, Drugs in American
Four Hypotheses in Search of Reality    35
Society (New York: Knopf, 1972); Rufus King, The Drug Hang-up (Springfield, Ill.: Charles Thomas, 1974).

10. Fort, Pleasure-Seekers; Goode, Drugs in American Society.

11. Dickson, "Bureaucracy and Morality."

12. Bonnie and Whitebread, Marihuana Conviction.

13. Ibid.; Patricia A. Morgan, "The Political Uses of Moral Reform" (Ph.D. diss., University of California at Santa Barbara, 1976).

14. Musto, American Disease, pp. 244-245.

15. Ibid.

16. Ibid., p. 223.

17. Helmer, Drugs and Minority Oppression; Helmer and Vietorisz, Drug Use.

18. Helmer, Drugs and Minority Oppression, pp. 55, 75.

19. In her exhaustive study of the history of California narcotics controls, Patricia Morgan has noted the lack of evidence to support Musto and Helmer. She concludes that "both of these accounts are in many ways misleading and incomplete" (Morgan, "Moral Reform," p. 74). Helmer, in fact, at first acknowledges that marihuana use had only a small place in the history of Anglo-Mexican relations, but he then seems to contradict himself when he pictures an antimarihuana ideology as the basis of anti-Mexican unity.

20. Bonnie and Whitebread, Marihuana Conviction, pp. 37, 56, 67, 69, 119,124.

21. Cook, Illegal Drug Use; Gilbert Geis, "Social and Epidemiological Aspects of Marihuana Use," in The New Social Drug, ed. D. Smith, pp. 78-90; Bonnie and Whitebread, Marihuana Conviction; John F. Galliher, James L. McCartney, and Barbara E. Baum, "Nebraska's Marihuana Law: A Case of Unexpected Legislative Innovation," Law and Society Review 8 (1974):441-456; Michael P. Rosenthal, "The Legislative Response to Marihuana," Journal of Drug Issues 7 (1977):61-77; John F. Galliher and Linda Basilick, "Utah's Liberal Drug Laws: Structural Foundations and Triggering Events," Social Problems 26 (1979):284-297.

22. See John Kaplan, Marijuana—The New Prohibition (New York: World Publishing, 1970), p. 4; Cook, Illegal Drug Use, p. 225.

23. U.S. National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1972), p. 7.

24. Kaplan, Marijuana, pp. 4-5.

25. Cook, Illegal Drug Use, p. 225. Other proponents of the Hippie Hypothesis include Bonnie and Whitebread, Marihuana Conviction, p. 227; Richard Brotman and Frederic Suffet, "Marijuana Use," in Drug Use in America: Problem in Perspective, National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973), Appendix 1, pp. 1075-1110; Richard Brotman et al., "Drug Use Among Affluent High School Youth," in Marijuana, ed. Erich Goode (New York: Atherton Press, 1970), pp. 128-135; Erich Goode, "Marijuana and the Politics of Reality," in The New Social Drug, ed. D. Smith, pp. 168-186; Grinspoon, Marihuana Reconsidered; National Commission, Marihuana, pp. 1-9, 94-102.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 January 2011 16:54

Our valuable member Jerome Himmelstein has been with us since Thursday, 06 January 2011.

Show Other Articles Of This Author