In the late 1930s, “reefer madness” tales became common in the Canadian media – often reprinted from American sources. The Winnipeg Tribune published the over-the-top account below in 1937, even though RCMP confirmed in the addendum that “it is not used in Manitoba. We do not find any smokers.”
G-Men Seek Green Goddess For Every Horrible Crime
Winnipeg Tribune, October 2, 1937
Marijuana Is New Public Enemy in U.S. – Seeds and Blossoms of This Prosaic Hemp Plant Make Men and Women Vicious Law-Breakers
By H. R. Baukage (By Leased Wire to the Tribune)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 – The name of a new public enemy has been written on the books of the Federal government. She is called the “Green Goddess.” And she is charged with nearly every horrible crime on the calendar.
Her other name is Marijuana, product of the prosaic hemp, whose twined strands have ended the careers of many of her devotees.
Like Persian Hashish
Three years ago, the word Marijuana meant little to the police of America. To the public, still less. Few guessed that it was the modern edition of the drug hashish, chief ration of the ancient Persian murder-sect whose name, Hashishan, gave us our word assassin.
Since 1935, Marijuana has been written across the police blotters from coast to coast, for it is held directly responsible for many of our most brutal crimes. It is charged with being an important factor in the recent crime wave.
Murder, rape, hold-ups, suicide and insanity have been definitely traced to the smoking of the so-called “reefers,” or cigarettes made of the seeds and blossoms of the hemp plant, sometimes as the result of smoking a single cigarette.
Action Now Possible
Until Oct. 1 of this year, the federal government could do nothing to control the traffic in marijuana. The law which went effect on Friday makes it possible to take action against anyone who is not licensed to produce or sell the drug and who sells without a prescription, such as is demanded for narcotics. (Experts question the drug’s medical value.)
This means the beginning of a campaign which officials believe would be effective, now that Uncle Sam has taken a hand.
No big racketeers are behind the sale of “reefers,” which are obtainable in many dance halls, hamburger joints and offered by paddlers, frequently to high school children.
Grown From Bird Seed
The big racketeer doesn’t handle marijuana because competition is too keen. Any vacant lot can produce it. Many do. Of course, there are cultivated plots, too, but may of these are already “spotted” by the federal sleuths and they will go up in oil-fed flames.
Even though the bureau of narcotics has had no law to fight the evil up to this time, it has not been idle. As a result of an educational campaign on the use and misuse of the drug, many legitimate retailers are returning their stocks and wholesalers are not restocking.
Further, dealers in bird seed have agreed to sterilize their product. The connection may not seem evident. Here it is: Hemp seed is widely fed to birds. At the same time, it is the hardy and prolific parent of the marijuana plant. Therefore, innocent sweepings of seed from bird stores and its scattering by the housewife over the back fence as she cleans the birdcage has caused the deadly weed to spring up in profusion.
The growth of the weed has spread so in this country that it is being smuggled into Canada and Great Britain from the United States.
By mere coincidence, one piece of unconscious propaganda for the use of marijuana was nipped in the bud. A movie containing a seductive song entitled “Sweet Marijuana, Lull Me to Sleep” was shown in Geneva, Switzerland, while the opium committee of the League of Nations was meeting. Appeal was made to Czar Hays, who had the piece eliminated.
(Copyright, 1937, by the North American Newspaper Alliance, Inc.)
Cigarettes of marijuana are not used in Winnipeg, police say. Criminals here are content to use heroin, and the smoking of the Mexican weed is unknown. “We have never encountered it here,” said Detective Sergeant George Burnett, acting chief of the morality department.
“It is not used in Manitoba,” Inspector Anthony, of the R.C.M.P. said. “We have a small sample of it, but do not find any smokers.”