Earlier this month, The Seattle Times marked the one-year anniversary of recreational marijuana stores in Washington, with an article that takes a look at their 115 years of marijuana coverage. While the Seattle times may call it ‘coverage,’ some of it seems more like propaganda, or ‘Reefer Madness.’
At the top of the Seattle Times article, is a creepily illustrated image, published in 1928. Just beneath the image the caption reads:
“A Seattle Daily Times reporter writes about a drug that, the article states, is popular in Mexico and among musicians in Chicago, who “sit in the orchestra giggling foolishly and emitting sour notes. When they are reprimanded, they simply giggle.”
If you enlarge the vintage article and read it (or as much of it as possible), you will realize that the caption is quite tame for what the article actually states.
For example, the first paragraph alone suggests ‘insanity or death.‘ This is followed by the description of marijuana as a ‘devastating Mexican drug,’ which isn’t the only time it’s referred to as a ‘Mexican drug.’
The vintage article then describes the effects of marijuana, such as laughter and giggling (as if laughter and giggling is a bad thing), and suggests that it may cause ‘temporary and even incurable insanity.’ The article then tells the story of an unnamed widow and her four children who became insane from eating marijuana.
The article is cut off, of course, so we could no longer be entertained. But, let’s go back to the caption underneath the vintage article. The latter part of the caption reads:
“can decrease headaches, violent fits of coughing and pulmonary hemorrhage.”
In other words, marijuana may decrease your headaches, your violent fits of coughing, and pulmonary hemorrhaging, but it may cause incurable insanity or even death. Sounds like an advertisement for a pharmaceutical drug.
Despite the Seattle Times article being written a gazillion years ago, it is interesting – mixed with a little bit of irony – how an entity has no problem covering the current industry, but at one time they were driving fear into reader’s minds.