"I consider marijuana the worst of all narcotics, far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influence men become beasts... Marijuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed. The government is going to enforce this new law to the letter."
Judge John Foster Symes
(1878-1951) United States federal judge
October 5, 1937, when sentencing Samuel R. Caldwell (the first person to be charged under the new Marijuana Tax Stamp Act passed 3 days earlier) to four years of hard labour in Leavenworth Penitentiary, plus a $1,000 fine. Caldwell served every day of his sentence and died one year later after his release.
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Reader comments about this quote:
LOL ! if it wasn't so sad. Judge John Foster Symes, a glowing poster child for what is wrong with Amerika.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Consider the source. He probably beat his children as well.
     -- anonymous     
    I'm sure the same was said during alcohol prohibition and that failure gave birth to organised crime. At least they were smart enough to repeal it when it became obvious it was a bad idea in the first place. Today it become a BIG GOVERNMENT BONANZA!
     -- Mike, Pleasant Hill     
    It's a great quote because it shows how far we've come and how foolish the judgements of supposedly wise people were in 1937.
     -- Stan Kerr, Normal IL     
    This is why judges gave so many harsh prison time to people who smoked a joint. This was a natural result of this horrible, so called War onDrugs.
     -- jim k, austin tx     
    Never used drugs myself, but as Ron Paul has mentioned, it is a state issue.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    Beating a dead horse. People, some do and some don't. Always has been that way. Stigmatized through fear tactics,
    Lord we came across those casting out Devils in thy name.
    But they would not follow us, If they are not against us, then they are for us ! The difference between smokers and drinkers, has been sense the beginning of time. If you take a drink of coffee, a BC powder, 5 hour energy, you take drugs.
    Mild to some, strong to others. Ask the Mormons about coffee.
    Misleading information. President Washington, noted it should be planted all across the country. But even now, no one wishes to follow his advice. Anti big business. I like blue ties,
    blue ties are against the law. The mob says all must wear red ties. Then I will move away to where I can wear my blue tie. We did this once in 1776. Now tell the public who is running the show.
     -- Ron, Or     
    Once the Prohibition Amendment was repealed, the government knew there was no way another could be passed to prohibit 'drugs' so in typical 30's fashion, they used commercial statutes to create criminal offenses -- this was during the time we switched to commercial paper for money and the common law and commercial law courts were merged. The way the federal government made marijuana 'illegal' was to pass the Marijuana Stamp Act which required that each ounce of Marijuana had a $1 tax stamp on it -- but they did not issue the stamps! Of course it was also one of those 'laws' passed around Christmas time when few were paying attention. Only later did states like Kentucky that had a HUGE hemp industry learn that their crops were now illegal, too! Too late, 'reefer madness' was propagandized across America. Just goes to show, that absolute trust in government authority will cost you dearly. Since the 30s, our 'dollar' has lost 95% of its value, the war on drugs costs billions and billions of dollars, and we are dangerously approaching the adoption of nearly every plank of the Nazi party.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
     -- SHUG, LONDON     
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