However, even within his controlled Committee hearings, many expert witnesses spoke out against the passage of these unusual tax laws.
Dr. William C. Woodward, for instance, who was both a physician and an attorney for the American Medical Association, testified on behalf of the AMA.
He said, in effect, the whole fabric of federal testimony was tabloid sensationalism! No real testimony had been heard! This law, passed in ignorance, could possibly deny the world a potential medicine, especially when the medical world was just beginning to find which ingredients in cannabis were active.
Woodward told the committee that the whole reason the AMA hadnt come out against the marijuana tax law sooner was that marijuana had been described in the press for 20 years as killer weed from Mexico.
The AMA doctors had just realized two days before these spring 1937 hearings that the plant Congress intended to outlaw was known medically as cannabis, the benign substance used America with perfect safety in scores of illnesses for more than one hundred years.
We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman Woodward protested, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for two years without any intimation, even to the profession, that it was being prepared. He and the AMA* were quickly denounced by Anslinger and the entire congressional committee, and curtly excused.3
* The AMA and the Roosevelt administration were strong antagonists in 1937.
3. Bonnie, Richard & Whitebread, Charles, The Marijuana Conviction, Univ. of Virginia Press, 1974; Congressional testimony, 1937 (See full testimony in Appendix of the paper version of this book); et al.
When the Marijuana Tax Act bill came up for oral report, discussion, and vote on the floor of Congress, only one pertinent question was asked from the floor: Did anyone consult with the AMA and get their opinion?
Representative Vinson, answering for the Ways and Means Committee, replied, Yes, we have. A Dr. Wharton [mistaken pronunciation of Woodward?] and [the AMA] are in complete agreement!
With this memorable lie, the bill passed, and became law in December, 1937. Federal and state police forces were created, which have incarcerated hundreds ofthousands of Americans, adding up to more than 14 million wasted years in jails and prisonseven contributing to the deaths of individual Americansall for the sake of poisonous, polluting industries, prison guards unions, and to reinforce some white politicians policies of racial hatred.
(Mikuriya, Tod, M.D., Marijuana Medical Papers, 1972; Sloman, Larry, Reefer Madness, Grove Press, 1979; Lindsmith, Alfred, The Addict and the Law, Indiana U. Press; Bonnie & Whitebread; The Marijuana Conviction, U. of VA Press; U.S. Cong. Records; et al.)
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