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Williamsport Sun: March 3, 1939 – Report Evidence of Use Here of Marihuana Drug

Evidence of use of marihuana in cigarette form known as “reefers” and “muggies,” a habit-forming narcotic drug, was reported to police today.

One negro, now a prisoner in the County Jail, being held for court on charges of attacking three women and one man, was questioned today by Captain. Joseph Schmucker, city detective, and denied smoking any of the doped cigarettes.

Police who learned of the use of the drug in the city, suspected the above individual of smoking the drug. Suspicions were aroused when he attacked the local persons.

Although police were told by the suspect that he had been drinking before the attacks, his actions were not regarded as those of an intoxicated man.

The suspect was re-committed to the County Jail to await further questioning and investigation by Frank E. Costello, state narcotics investigator, who was out of the city and will be notified of the police findings as soon as he returns.

Reports were that the source of the local cigarettes was Harrisburg, although the investigation had not proceeded far enough to confirm that.

Coincident with the revelation of marihuana in Williamsport were reports that the cigarettes were being peddled to high school students in nearby communities.

In many places the dope laden cigarettes are sold for 10 cents apiece. Its use in many metropolitan areas has become so widespread that the federal government adopted in October 1937 stringent measures governing its use in medicines.

Banning the sale of use of the drug, the most hated of narcotics, was put in effect in 1933. First arrests were made in Pittsburgh where the use of the “reefers” was extensive at the time.

The effect of smoking “muggies” on brain cells, literally divorcing the mind from the body, according to authorities. It gives its users a “high” feeling with the person having no sense of responsibility. Time means nothing to the victim and after the effects have worn off and the letdown comes few persons are able to remember their actions while under the influence of the drug, it is reported.