Hearing Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Finance United States Senate, Seventy-Fifth Congress, First Session on H.R.6906 - July 12, 1937 Excerpt from statement of Federal Bureau of Narcotics chief Harry J. Anslinger

I received this letter from an attorney at Houston, Texas, just the other day. This case involves a murder in which he alleges that his client, a boy 19 years old, had been addicted to the use of marihuana.


Shall we read this into the record?


Yes, sir; I shall be very glad if you will.

(The letter is as follows:)

Houston, Tex., July 7, 1937

H. J. Anslinger United States Commissioner of Narcotics Washington, DC

Dear sir: Your article on Marihuana appearing in the July issue of the American is very useful as well as interesting. this subject strikes close to home because of a client II have who not so long ago murdered in a brutal way a man who had befriended him in giving him a ride. This client is a boy 20 years of age and he explained to me he has been smoking marihuana for several years. I would like to have about 1 copies of your article and will gladly pay any necessary charges. I would appreciate an early reply.

Yours Truly, Sidney Benbow


I have another letter from the prosecutor at a place in New Jersey. It is as follows:

The Interstate Commission on Crime March 18, 1937

Charles Schwarz, Washington, DC

My Dear Mr. Schwarz: That I fully appreciate the need for action, you may judge from the fact that last January I tried a murder case for several days, of a particularly brutal character in which one colored young man killed another, literally smashing his face and head to a pulp, as the enclosed photograph demonstrates.

One of the defenses was that the defendant's intellect was so prostrated from his smoking marihuana cigarettes that he did not know what he was doing. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to a long term of years. I am convinced that marihuana had been indulged in, that the smoking had occurred, and the brutality of the murder was accounted for by the narcotic, though the defendant's intellect had not been totally prostrate, so the verdict was legally correct. It seems to me that this instance might be of value to you in your campaign.

Sincerely yours, Richard Hartshorne

(Mr. Hartshorne is a member of the Interstate Commission on Crime. We have many cases of this kind.)


It affects them that way?




(viewing a photograph presented by Mr. Anslinger) Was there in this case a blood or skin disease caused by marihuana?


No; this is a photograph of the murdered man, Senator. It shows the fury of the murderer.


That is terrible.


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