RHODE ISLAND TO END WEED AS DRUG SOURCE


State Plans Drive to Eradicate Marijuana Plant After Wide Traffic in Hashish.

By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R. I., Jan. 19. -- Rhode Island authorities are planning a Spring drive to eradicate the marijuana or Mexico weed, which long has been the source of large supplies of the dangerous narcotic drug known as hashish.

From the dried flowers of the plant, which is also known as cannabis sativa, the drug is derived. It is rolled into cigarettes called "reefers." The Rhode Island Narcotic Drugs Board, in one of its bulletins, describes a newspaper story of a round-up of "reefer" smokers in New York and adds:

"It would be a fairly safe guess that the cannabis or marijuana, from which the cigarettes were made, came from this State."

Why Rhode Island should yield such large amounts of the Mexico weed, which flourishes in its name country and Texas, is not known. Growths have been found in New York, Pennsylvania and to a small extent in Massachusetts, according to this State's board. Kansas was confronted with an epidemic of "reefer" smoking some years ago.

Secretary Frederick B. Cole of the Rhode Island Narcotic Board believes it was introduced to this State twenty-five years ago, probably in cotton shipments from the Southwest.

Investigators say the soil of this State is adapted to the growth of the plant. It is found here in dumps, along railroad rights-of-way and in vacant lots in the industrial sections of this city.

It came forcibly to public notice last November when a floater, taking temporary shelter at a Federal Transient Bureau, went for a walk on Allens Avenue on the waterfront. There, in the shadow of a big gasometer, the tanks of one of the large oil companies and across the street from the State pier, he saw the plant, towering eight feet high, in a vacant lot.

He spread the word. Soon two or three men were preparing the drug for their own and others' use. Before the police stepped into the picture, Narcotic Drugs Board investigators say, fifteen or twenty men were gathering the flowers of the plants, drying them, processing them crudely in small coffee mills and manufacturing "reefers." The cigarettes sold for from 15 to 25 cents each.

Four arrests were made and equipment confiscated.

However, early this month, Mr. Cole told a meeting of social workers that the traffic had scarcely been dented, much less broken up.


New York Times 20 January 1935




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