The La Guardia Committee

The La Guardia Committee was the first in depth study into the effects of smoking marijuana. It systematically contradicted claims made by the U.S. Treasury Department that smoking marijuana results in insanity, deteriorates physical and mental health, assists in criminal behavior and juvenile deliquency, is physically addictive, and is a “gateway” drug to more dangerous drugs.

The report was prepared by the New York Academy of Medicine, on behalf of a commission appointed in 1939 by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia who was a strong opponent of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act . Released in 1944, the report infuriated Harry Anslinger who was campaigning against marijuana and he condemned it as unscientific. [1] Anslinger went on an offensive against what he saw as a “degenerate Hollywood” that was promoting marijuana use.

After high profile arrests of actors like Robert Mitchum, Hollywood gave Anslinger full control over the script of any film that mentioned marijuana.

Sociological Conclusions

* 1 Marijuana is used extensively in the Borough of Manhattan but the problem is not as acute as it is reported to be in other sections of the United States.
* 2 The introduction of marijuana into this area is recent as compared to other localities.
* 3 The cost of marijuana is low and therefore within the purchasing power of most persons.
* 4 The distribution and use of marijuana is centered in Harlem.
* 5 The majority of marijuana smokers are Blacks and Latin-Americans.
* 6 The consensus among marijuana smokers is that the use of the drug creates a definite feeling of adequacy.
* 7 The practice of smoking marijuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word.
* 8 The sale and distribution of marijuana is not under the control of any single organized group.
* 9 The use of marijuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marijuana smoking.
* 10 Marijuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes.
* 11 Marijuana smoking is not widespread among school children.
* 12 Juvenile delinquency is not associated with the practice of smoking marijuana.
* 13 The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marijuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.



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