A vintage pot talk booklet: New Facts About Marijuana (1970)

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Before showing the once-popular, widely-distributed brochure about the dangers of marijuana, here is a counterpoint that appeared in The Belleville Times (Belleville, New Jersey) on February 25, 1971, written by the newspaper’s publisher, Frank A Orechio.

A response to the booklet, New Facts About Marijuana (1971)

One of our readers, Mr. William Wellman, disagreeing with my suggestion that marijuana should be legalized mailed to me a booklet, “New Facts About Marijuana,” published by the Ambassador College Press, Pasadena, California.

In general, the pamphlet urges “pot” users to turn it off. “If you haven’t tried it — don’t”, advises the editor.

Laced throughout the various chapters, subtly hidden from prominence, are various truths which all but pulls the rug out from under the author; i.e., (re use of “pot”) “Medical authorities, lawyers, sociologists disagree among themselves; (Para 3, pg 6) “The chemistry of the cannabis drugs (marijuana) is surprisingly complex, it has never been completely understood.” (Para 1, pg 13); “It is scientifically impossible to absolutely know what ‘just one’ marijuana cigarette will do to you. (Para 6, page 20); “Most researchers quickly emphasize that a person intoxicated by marijuana will not generally take action that is foreign to his normal behavior.” (Para 6, pg 22).

DESPITE ALL of the foregoing quotes the author brashly and unashamedly states, “Irreparable brain damage — Is this what you want? You can have it by smoking marijuana.” (Para 5, pg 21)

And on Pg 27, the author adds further contradictions, “Nearly all experts agree that the known physical effects of marijuana are few. The current drug explosion, has been encouraged by the lack of solid physical evidence about marijuana.

“There is a large amount of mythology, ignorance and misinformation floating about. At the same time, there is still a dearth of real scientific data. Medically speaking, marijuana is not positively known to be addicting.”

I have never urged the use of marijuana. I have never pretended to be an authority on the subject. I simply oppose labeling, for life, a young person as a criminal simply because he was caught with marijuana in his possession.

ALCOHOL IS BAD for us, but nobody bears a criminal record because he drinks a dozen scotches and dribbles at the mouth. Tobacco leads to cancer, but no one is jailed for smoking three packs a day of the weeds.

I do not endorse the use of marijuana (I’ve never tried the stuff), I simply oppose the classification of its use as a crime.

New Facts About Marijuana (1970)

A vintage pot talk booklet: New facts about marijuana (1970)

The use of MARIJUANA is soaring, skyrocketing!

Never have so many “turned on” with drugs and “dropped out” of society. Never has there been such concern and confusion over an issue. But WHY?

What are the REAL facts? Is marijuana harmful? Are there physical and psychological side effects? Does smoking marijuana lead to stronger drugs? What does it do to formation of personality and character?

Never were these questions more timely!


MARIJUANA — the subject of much controversy. It’s much talked about, but little understood. Is it harmful? Beneficial? The “experts” debate.

Does it dull the senses? Injure the mind? Can it be habit-forming? Will it lead to stronger drugs? Or is it only a mild stimulus — nothing to get alarmed about?

Everyone seems to have an opinion.


To parents, the word “marijuana” brings fear. They may have young children, teenagers or college-age offspring. “What can we do to keep our children from experimenting with it?” they ask.

Teenagers claim, “But Mom, a little pot never hurt anybody. You smoke cigarettes and we smoke pot. Cigarettes cause cancer — marijuana doesn’t. So why shouldn’t we smoke it?”

Medical authorities, lawyers, sociologists disagree among themselves. Some praise the drug and extol its supposed virtues. Others say the laws dealing with marijuana are too harsh and need to be repealed. Opponents of marijuana are equally vociferous in their cries against it!

Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities see arrests for marijuana possession skyrocketing. They find it impossible to police every home, every high school, every college and every street.

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A Marijuana Epidemic?

No one really knows the full extent of marijuana usage. But all authorities agree it is chronic and very widespread.

An estimated ten to twenty million Americans have smoked it at least once. Five million others would experiment with a marijuana cigarette if offered.

High school students are quite familiar with the drug. In a large number of high schools, anywhere from 35 to 90 percent have tried it. School officials keep the estimate low; student estimates run higher.

Some say at least one third of the nation’s college students have tried marijuana. Authorities vary in their estimates. “It depends on the college,” say experts. One thing is certain. Students know where to get it. In the larger universities especially, buying marijuana is as easy as getting the school newspaper.

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WHY So Popular?

But why is marijuana so popular? Why do teen-agers, young people and adults alike smoke it?

One student put it in these frank terms, “We do it because it’s there, because we like it and because it’s one way to tell the grown-up world to go to hell.”

Others say they smoke marijuana because of the pressures around them. Many students claim peer pressure is the reason. One student observed, “There are some groups of people whose common interest is dope, and to be a part of that group you must smoke.” One senior high school girl admits she first smoked pot because she didn’t want her friends to think that she was “scared or straight.”

The old argument that smoking marijuana leads to drug addiction is generally laughed at by the younger generation. It is usually dismissed as having no validity whatsoever. Many teenagers and adults do not feel there is anything immoral about smoking the drug.

To many, it is simply personal preference. “It feels good, so why not smoke it,” they say. To millions of people — especially teenagers and young adults — it’s no worse than having a few drinks. They derive a certain pleasure from it. So why not? — they reason.

For most users, marijuana appears perfectly safe. It’s not like heroin or even LSD. Said a University of Miami junior: “When parents say marijuana is bad for you, it’s just another example of the older generation not knowing the facts.”

The New Facts About Marijuana 1970


Just what are the facts? The older generation doesn’t seem to have the answers — but neither does the younger! Both are ignorant of the real issues!

What is the truth? What’s behind the current proliferation of marijuana usage? Why are millions “turning on”?

For that matter, what actually happens when you “turn on”? What does it feel like? Is it beneficial? Harmless? Or is it extremely dangerous and harmful? What are the real effects? What does it do to your body? — to your mind?

Never were these questions more timely — or more important. It’s time to make the truth plain! It’s time for right answers! Answers which are urgently needed by you, your family, your nation and your world.

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WHAT Is Marijuana?

It is a drug. A drug which affects the mind.

The active ingredient in marijuana is an oil prepared from the female hemp plant — whose scientific name is Cannabis satiua. Cannabis then, is the correct name for what is commonly called marijuana. (The popular name “marijuana” is probably a corrupted form of the Portuguese word mariguango, which means intoxicant.)

There are three general classes of cannabis drugs — all of which are extracted from the hemp plant.

1.) The “highest” (or most potent) grade is prepared from the resinous exudate of the tops of the mature female plant. In the Middle East and North Africa, this resin is called hashish; in the Far East (notably India), it is called charas.

2.) The “intermediate” grade — called ganja — is prepared from the flowering tops and leaves of carefully cultivated hemp plants.

3.) The “lowest” (or least potent) grade — called bhang — is prepared from the dried leaves and cut flowering shoots of uncultivated plants.

In the United States, the general term marijuana refers to any part of the hemp plant, or any extract thereof which induces physiological and psychological changes in human beings. In actual street-corner fact, most of the marijuana available in the US is bhang — the lowest grade and the cheapest type.

Charas or hashish is five to eight times stronger than the most powerful marijuana commonly smoked in the US, but the cheap, inferior quality of bhang is usually associated with more impurities and more disease.

Marijuana is also referred to as “the weed,” “pot,” “stuff,” “grass,” “Indian hay,” “tea,” “Mary Jane,” and on and on — past the vernacular into slang and past the slang into vulgarity.

Most commonly in the Western world (especially in the US), the cannabis plant is picked, cut, dried, ground up, and rolled into crude cigarettes called “reefers” or “joints.” Recently, in quest for bigger thrills, some have injected marijuana directly into the bloodstream.

In other areas of the world, marijuana is imbibed as a drink or ingested in foods such as sweetmeats.

How to recognize marijuana 1970

How Widespread Is Marijuana?

The answer is found on the college campus.

A five-campus survey in California showed that 57 percent of the students had smoked marijuana at least once, whereas a year earlier only 21 percent had tried the drug. Regular users had increased from 4 percent to 14 percent!

At Boston University, researchers indicated that it was difficult to find students who had never smoked marijuana!

In November 1969, a Gallup Poll was conducted on 57 US campuses for Newsweek magazine. A total of 1,092 students were interviewed. To keep responses confidential and candid, each student was handed an envelope and a list of questions so he could formulate his answers privately.

Said Newsweek, “The secret ballots clearly showed that the drug revolution has hit the campus in force. Some 32 percent of the students said they had tried marijuana (vs. 22 percent in a similar poll just six months earlier).” (“The New Mood on Campus,” Newsweek, Vol. 74, No. 26, December 29, 1969, p. 44.)

The poll reported that at Berkeley, about 75 percent of the student body has used drugs at one time or another.

What about legalization of marijuana? The poll revealed that nationwide, 48 percent of students are in favor of legalizing pot, whereas 46 percent are opposed. At Yale almost everybody interviewed said marijuana should be legalized!

Marijuana, however, is not confined solely to the campus.

Investigators estimate about 220,000 pounds of marijuana is processed annually in Vietnam — enough for one million reefers. Army medical officials estimate that 30 percent of US servicemen in Vietnam smoke marijuana, and the percentage is rising. Others put the figure as high as 65 percent!

Senator Thomas J Dodd of Connecticut, after Congressional hearings on the use of marijuana and other drugs by US servicemen in Vietnam, declared: “In the course of these hearings, the Secretary of Defense told me that arrest figures for marijuana in Vietnam increased 2,553 percent between 1965 and 1967.

“We heard of marijuana being found on four out of five bodies of dead GI’s, including officers, and of confused young men in combat turning to marijuana in sheer desperation.

“It is common knowledge among servicemen, newsmen and civilian employees in Vietnam, that a stick of marijuana in Saigon is as far away as the nearest news-stand or bar, and only slightly more expensive than a good cigar.”

Marijuana is not just a problem peculiar to the US. As early as 1950, a United Nations report estimated that about 200 million people had used marijuana — and the great majority of these people resided in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.

New Facts About Marijuana 1970

“But Just Once Won’t Hurt You”

“Wouldn’t you like to try marijuana — just once — just to see what it ‘feels like’? That’s all — just once. Surely that won’t bother you. Aren’t you curious? You’re not scared, are you? Come on now — just once won’t hurt you.”

It sounds good: “Just once.” It could appeal to you.

Don’t let it!

Many cases of psychopathology have been reported after single marijuana doses. “Just once” did it.

Just one experience can induce serious psychotic disruptions of the mind. Don’t be fooled!

It is scientifically impossible to absolutely know what “just one” marijuana cigarette will do to you. But, “just once” could ruin your life.

Adam and Eve tried the wrong tree “just once”! Many people of strong mind and will cannot take “just one” salted peanut and then stop. The “just one” idea is foolish — and dangerous!

Marijuana and Heredity

In recent months, scientific research has brought to light the frightening fact that LSD drastically alters the genetic organization of human germ cells — and consequently could cause horrendous mutations in the offspring of LSD users.

Some evidence indicates that a similar (though undoubtedly less severe) genetic alteration may also be induced by marijuana. Dr. Luis Souza of St. Dismas Hospital, Paterson, New Jersey, used a chromatograph — a chemical detector which can quantify the molecular weight of large macromolecules — to study the effects of marijuana.

He found that after the first experiences with marijuana there was a seemingly complete destruction of DNA, the macromolecule responsible for human heredity.

Dr Souza noted that marijuana transmitted its effects through both dominant and recessive genes. This means that a host of debilitating mutations — such as mental retardation — would affect many generations.

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