Aside from checking out past predictions, I’ve found it very interesting to trace the history of cannabis through old newspaper articles. While not the first usage of the word “marihuana” on Chronicling America, this was the first result that show up when using the “relevance” search result option. I also chose it because it has such a sensational drawing that was published along with the article (below). The larger lessons that I learned here are that American Reefer Madness began well before the mid-1930s and the illegality of cannabis in Mexico has been an issue for over 100 years & continues to be problematic today.
Marihuana is a weed used in Mexico by people of the lower class and sometimes by soldiers, but those who make larger use of it are prisoners sentenced to long terms. The use of the weed and its sale, especially in the barracks and prisons, are very severely punished, yet it has many adepts, and Indian women cultivate it because they sell it at rather high prices.
The dry leave of marihuana, alone or mixed with tobacco, make the smoker wilder than a wild beast. It is said that immediately after the first three or four drafts of smoke smokers begin to feel a slight headache. Then they see everything moving, and finally they lose all control of their mental faculties. Everything, the smokers say, takes the shape of a monster, and men look like devils. They begin to fight, and of course everything smashed is a monster “killed.” But there are imaginary beings whom the wild men cannot kill, and these inspire fear until the man is panic stricken and runs.
Not long ago a man who had smoked a marihuana cigarette attacked and killed a policeman and badly wounded three other offices. Six policemen were needed to disarm him and march him to the police station, where he had to be put into a straitjacket.
There are other plants equally dangerous, among them the tolvache, a kind of loco weed. The seeds this plant boiled and drunk as tea will make a person insane. Among some classes of Mexico it is stated that Carlotta, the empress of Mexico, lost her mind because she was give tolvache in a refreshment.
There is in the state of Michoacan another plant the effects of which upon the human organism are very curious. The plant grows wildly in some parts of Michoacan, and natives have observed that whenever they traversed a field where there were many such plants they lost all notion of places. It takes from three to four hours for a person affected by the smell of the plant to recover the full control of his mental faculties.
Another very curious plant is the one called “de las Carreras” in some places where it grows. When a person drinks a brew of the leaves of seeds of the plant he feels an impulse to run and will run until he drops dead or exhausted.