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The Great Mormon Marijuana Myth

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 09, 2009

Keepapitchininny bfwebster spotted this paragraph in a 2003 Salon post:

However, the first [US] state law outlawing marijuana did so not because of Mexicans using the drug. Oddly enough, it was because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church was not pleased and ruled against use of the drug. Since the state of Utah automatically enshrined church doctrine into law, the first state marijuana prohibition was established in 1915. (Today, Senator Orrin Hatch serves as the prohibition arm of this heavily church-influenced state.)

[18 March 2010:  Please note that Pete Guither, the author of this Salon post, took part in our conversation and edited his old post as a result of that discussion. The Salon post no longer reads exactly as quoted here; this was an accurate quotation on 9 January 2009, however, when this post was published on Keepa.]

Google, if you dare, the words “Mormon Utah marijuana law.” You’ll find literally thousands of sites parroting this claim, in virtually identical language – I gave up trying to identify the first source from which the others plagiarize. Some sites are a little more creative: My favorite account — a speech delivered at the 1995 annual conference of the California Judges Association by Charles Whitebread, a professor at USC Law School, of all things — solemnly declares that the speaker has verified the history of the first U.S. marijuana legislation with “a lot of work” and “help from some people in Salt Lake City, associated with the Mormon Church and the Mormon National Tabernacle in Washington.” His meticulous research (**cough cough**) revealed:

In 1910, the Mormon Church in synod in Salt Lake City decreed polygamy to be a religious mistake and it was banned as a matter of the Mormon religion. Once that happened, there was a crackdown on people who wanted to live in what they called “the traditional way”. So, just after 1910, a fairly large number of Mormons left the state of Utah, and indeed left the United States altogether and moved into northwest Mexico. They wrote a lot about what they wanted to accomplish in Mexico. They wanted to set up communities where they were basically going to convert the Indians, the Mexicans, and what they referred to as “the heathen” in the neighborhood to Mormonism.

By 1914, they had had very little luck with the heathen, but our research shows now beyond question that the heathen had a little luck with them. What happened apparently — now some of you who may be members of the church, you know that there are still substantial Mormon communities in northwest Mexico — was that, by and large most of the Mormons were not happy there, the religion had not done well there, they didn’t feel comfortable there, they wanted to go back to Utah where there friends were and after 1914 did.

And with them, the Indians had given them marijuana. Now once you get somebody back in Utah with the marijuana it all becomes very easy, doesn’t it? You know that the Mormon Church has always been opposed to the use of euphoriants of any kind. So, somebody saw them with the marijuana, and in August of 1915 the Church, meeting again in synod in Salt Lake City decreed the use of marijuana contrary to the Mormon religion and then — and this is how things were in Utah in those days — in October of 1915, the state legislature met and enacted every religious prohibition as a criminal law and we had the first criminal law in this country’s history against the use of marijuana.

[Added 20 October 2009: Readers desiring a brief outline of the egregious historical errors of the foregoing paragraphs will find such an outline here.]

Most of this historical claptrap – and I defy all the experts at the Mormon National Tabernacle in Washington when I call it that – appears on sites dedicated to legalizing medicinal or recreational marijuana: Since marijuana was outlawed through anti-Mexican bigotry in the case of most states, and through religious prejudice in the case of Utah, the reasoning apparently goes, and since we are now enlightened beyond racial and religious prejudice, the drug should be legal. The myth demonstrates the process, so detrimental to public understanding of Mormonism and our history, that if you repeat a lie loud enough and long enough, especially without anyone’s attempting to correct the lie, it becomes “the truth” by default. This claim of Utah’s having passed the first state anti-marijuana legislation due to Mormon fiat can be found now in timelines of drug legislation history on serious websites not obviously linked to decriminalization politics.

But how do you go about combating such a myth? We could point to all the historical flaws in the paragraphs quoted above, but somehow I doubt that would persuade anyone – “I may have got some of the details wrong, but you guys still passed the first anti-marijuana law. That had to have been because of your religion.” End of discussion.

If anyone unfamiliar with Mormon history lands on this post and wants an outline of the historical flaws, feel free to ask in a comment or to write to me privately (keepapitchinin at AOL dot com). Here, I’ll try to correct the myth by explaining the real history of Utah’s first anti-marijuana legislation.

Utahns may have heard of marijuana in the 19th century, but there is little documentary evidence of that. The only pointed trace I have found so far is an 1877 German chemical analysis of American quack medicines, which was reprinted in Utah (“Patent Medicines and Secret Remedies,” Deseret News Weekly, 17 October 1877) in an effort to debunk the mystique of “secret formulas” by exposing their active ingredients. One – a single one – of a long list of patent medicines apparently contains a compound of marijuana:

Dr. Brown’s Chlorodyne contains 5 parts of concentrated muriatic acid, and 10 parts each of ether, chloroform, tincture of cannabis indica (Indian hemp), and tincture of capsicum, 2 parts each of morphine and hydrocyanic acid, 1 part of oil of peppermint, 50 parts simple syrup, 3 parts each of tincture of hyoscyamus and tincture of aconite.

A careful search for the terms marijuana, marihuana, loco-weed, Indian hemp, cannabis indica, and cannabis sativa in electronic databases turns up few further references to marijuana in Utah in the 19th century (although I did find a fascinating article, “Joy for the Topers,” concerning the hallucinogenic properties of peyote – “not considered dangerous like alcohol!” – in an 1896 issue of the Manti Messenger, which compared those properties to the visions, “generally of a gay character,” produced by cannabis. That article, note, was supplied as boilerplate by eastern companies that furnished much syndicated matter to small town newspapers; it was not written locally). For Mormons – for Utahns, for western Americans in general – “loco-weed” meant not cannabis, but a common western herb that crippled and killed their livestock, and “Indian hemp” meant not a hallucinogenic drug from the East Indies but the yucca fibers that held together ancient ladders leading to cliff dwellings, and the other plant fibers twisted by living Paiutes into the cords used in their rabbit hunts.

You may know from your reading of historical documents that in the United States, throughout the 19th century, there was virtually no regulation on the purchase or use of poisons, alcohol, and narcotics of any kinds. Temperance women might rail against Demon Rum and newspaper editors might rant against opium dens, but the production, distribution and use of those substances was not illegal. Laudanum (opium) was freely available from druggists, and even a child could purchase arsenic from the hardware store.

Too many suicides and accidents later, local, state, and federal governments began to pass regulations for such dangerous substances. First came laws requiring poisons to be sold in containers marked with a skull and crossbones, with the antidote printed on the label. This was followed by additional labeling laws, then by regulations governing by whom and to whom such substances could be possessed or sold, and in what strengths.

In 1907, the Miles Medical Co. of Elkhart, Indiana, purveyors of a patent medicine designed to cure headaches, whose ads were carried by the Salt Lake newspapers, complained – or was it a “complaint” meant only to advertise? – that they had been the targets of false statements accusing them of using dangerous narcotics in their product. They repeatedly offered a $5,000 reward,

to any person who can find one atom of opium, chloral, morphine, cocaine, ether, chloroform, heroin, alpha and beta eucaine, cannabis indica, or chloral hydrate or any of their derivatives

in their remedy. The recitation of that long list of drugs is no mere advertising invention. That is the list of narcotics that was beginning to come under regulation, a list apparently compiled by the American Pharmaceutical Association’s model legislation proposed to Congress in 1903. (Caveat: I am relying on summaries here, and have not yet found the exact wording of that model legislation.)

New York City passed its first regulatory law in 1906, followed shortly by Washington, D.C. The national Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in 1906; by 1913, the states of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington had all passed drug laws governing the labeling of products containing a set of narcotics which included marijuana. The common origin (i.e., the national law) of all these state laws is obvious in their identical wording of that list of narcotics: “alcohol, morphine, opium, cocaine, heroin, alpha or beta eucaine, chloroform, cannabis indica, chloral hydrate, or acetanilide.”

Other states passed pure food and drug laws similar to but differing in details from the national legislation: Louisiana’s law is structured very differently but regulates the same drugs, including cannabis. Utah’s law governed “cocaine, morphine, heroin, codein, alpha eucaine, beta eucaine, nova-caine [and] opium,” but did not mention cannabis (nor the chloroform, chloral hydrate, or acetanilide of the national legislation).

In other words, the placing of narcotics under state regulation was the mood of the Progressive Era, and was certainly not unique to states in the Mormon Corridor. [J. Stapley provides this link to the history of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act; and Justin provides this link to the texts of the actual pure drug laws enacted in the various states through 1913.]

I suspect that very few people, including Utahns, knew anything reliable about marijuana at that point. The Ogden Standard-Examiner of 17 January 1907 equated marijuana with hashish (a confounding of drugs appearing many times in my short research), and saying that some Asians used marijuana as a love potion: “The man’s brain becomes fogged, and he is ready to believe anything that is suggested to him.” The same paper of 5 February 1907 gravely informs readers that “a single grain of the resin of Indian hemp will produce catalepsy in a man.” A syndicated story in the Box Elder News for 7 November 1907, describes substitutes for tobacco, including “cannabis, a drug that gives one the desire to caress people’s feet.” The Salt Lake Herald of 23 November 1908 informed Utahns that “Indian hemp is smoked by nearly all classes in Jamaica, with terrible results. It is supposed that this weed was used by the leaders of the Indian mutiny to unbalance the minds of the Sepoys and to excite them into the terrible passions of raging mania which they exhibited during that campaign.”

Yet despite such horror tales and the legislature’s willingness to consider such laws in common with the rest of the country, Utahns resisted drug regulation laws to some extent. An editorial in the Salt Lake Herald, 9 January 1907, discussed the difficulties being imposed on druggists and grocers by the requirements of the new pure food law governing the use of opiates, and scoffed at such regulations as being tailor-made for the “dope fiend.”

[He] should glory in the new law. He will be able to discover just what drug contains the greatest percentage of cocaine, opium or morphine, and instead of frightening him into a disuse of the remedy, the siren voice of the label will be all the more captivating. The new law, in fact, does not drive cocaine-loaded mixtures from the market, but surrounds them with a halo having especial fascination for dope fiends of all degrees of degradation.

Nevertheless, regulators pressed on.

Contrary to the claims of the mythmakers, Utah was not the first to pass a statewide law controlling the sale and use of marijuana (beyond, that is, the labeling laws discussed above). No, that honor goes to the progressive state of … California! [Update: See Justin’s note 38 for a possibly even earlier law in Massachusetts. Anyone writing seriously about this topic (i.e., not writing in haste for a blog) really needs to obtain the text of all these laws and verify their dates of passage from primary sources.]

Dale H. Gieringer, one of the less sensational voices discussing the history of marijuana laws, traces California’s marijuana laws to the 1910 immigration to California of a group of “Hindoos” (actually East Indian Sikhs and Punjabis), who may or may not have brought narcotics with them, and to growing prejudice against Hispanics who in fact had brought marijuana with them from Mexico to California. Reaction to these immigrants placed marijuana among the drugs to be regulated by California’s 1913 legislation governing the manner in which pharamacists could dispense poisons, including narcotics. While I initially accepted at face value Gieringer’s attribution of California’s law to anti-Indian, anti-Mexican immigrant prejudice, I have come to question that attribution — too many of the states known to have begun regulation of marijuana by means of their pure food laws had no contact with such immigrants. I can’t branch out to correct that misperception as well as those directed toward Mormonism, but somebody should.

Gieringer believes that the 1913 legislators intended to include marijuana among the controlled substances, but that through clerical or other error the word was omitted from the section of California’s 1913 Poison Act listing the actual drugs to be regulated. Marijuana was named in the following section governing paraphernalia, however:

Penal Code of the State of California [1913]

Sec. 8a. The possession of a pipe or pipes used for smoking opium (commonly known as opium pipes) or the usual attachment or attachments thereto, or other contrivances used for smoking opium, or extracts, tinctures or other narcotic preparations of hemp, or loco weed, their preparations or compounds containing more than four grains to each fluid or avoirdupois ounce (except corn remedies containing not more than fifteen grains of the extract or fluid extract of hemp to the ounce, mixed with not less than five times its weight of salicylic acid combined with collodion), is hereby made a misdemerit. (emphasis added)

Utah passed its own omnibus pharmaceutical law soon after, in 1915. You’ll note, of course, that the section on paraphernalia below closely echoes California’s 1913 law. I do not know whether Utah based its law entirely on California’s, or whether both California and Utah were working from the model legislation proposed by the American Pharmaceutical Association. I suspect the latter, because Utah included marijuana in the list of regulated substances without repeating California’s omission.

[Note: I didn’t have ready access to the volume of 1915 legislation; 1917 is as close as I could come. The 1917 volume cites the 1915 legislation without intervening amendments; it is possible, however, that the numbering of title, chapter and section may not be quite the same in 1915 as in 1917. [Update: I now have the text from the 1915 legislation first published with the state’s Compiled Laws on 14 January 1916 — wording is identical to that quoted here, but its citation is Chapter 66, sections 8, 8a and 8b.]

Compiled Laws of the State of Utah [1917].

Title 83. Pharmacy, Poisons and Narcotics.

Chapter 2. Poisons and Narcotic Drugs.

4432. Possession and use of narcotic drugs. Dispensing at retail and wholesale. Prescription by physicians, dentists, and veterinarians. Exceptions. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to sell, furnish, or give away, or offer to sell, furnish, or give away, or to have in possession, any cocaine, opium, morphine, codeine, heroin, peyote (mescal button), alpha eucaine, beta eucaine, nova caine, flowering tops and leaves, extracts, tinctures, and other narcotic preparations of hemp or loco weed (cannabis sativa, Indian hemp), or chloral hydrate, or any of the salts, derivatives, or compounds of the foregoing substances, or any preparation or compound containing any of the foregoing substances, or their salts, derivatives, or compounds, excepting upon the written order or prescription of a physician, dentist, or veterinary surgeon licensed to practice in this state, which order or prescription shall be dated and shall contain the name of the person for whom prescribed, written in by the person writing said prescription; or if ordered by a veterinary surgeon it shall state the kind of animal for which ordered and shall be signed by the person giving the prescription or order; provided, however, that this exception shall not apply to anhalonium or peyote, the use whereof in any form whatsoever being hereby positively prohibited; and it is hereby further provided, that it shall be unlawful for any person, association, or corporation to carry or cause to be carried into or within this state any of said anhalonium or peyote, or any compound, manufacture, derivative or preparation thereof. … [followed by very long sections dealing with the forms of written prescriptions, transportation and delivery regulations, the process for tracking purchasers, prohibitions against providing the listed substances to addicts except in the course of treatment to lessen addiction, etc.]

4433. Possession of certain pipes and preparations unlawful. Penalty. The possession of a pipe or pipes, or other contrivances used for smoking opium (commonly known as opium pipes) or the usual attachment or attachments thereof, or extracts, tinctures, or other narcotic preparations of hemp, or loco-weed, their preparations or compounds (except corn remedies containing not more than fifteen grains of the extract or fluid extract of hemp to the ounce, mixed with not less than five times its weight of salicylic acid combined with collodion), is hereby made a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by the penalties prescribed in §4431.

(The reference to corn medication, by the way, is an odd little exception based on a very popular treatment in that generation. In 1881 the Deseret News gives the recipe from an exchange paper — not a local recipe — as

Salicylic acid, 30 parts; extract of cannabis indica, 5 parts; collodion, 240 parts. To be applied by means of a camel’s hair pencil.)

There is no hint whatsoever that Utah’s law – which, you now see, did not specially target marijuana, and did not even show any particular awareness of marijuana, but merely incorporated the language used by other entities to name marijuana among a whole host of regulated drugs – was spurred by religious concerns. There is no discussion of marijuana, no complaint about its use, no report of arrest for intoxicated behavior other than alcohol or Chinese opium use, no marijuana-related editorials, in Utah’s newspapers before the passage of the 1915 law. The Journal History (which is in effect a glorified scrapbook tracking Mormon history on a day-to-day basis) gives no hint that marijuana is being used by Mormons – in fact, the sole entry in its index for marijuana (or any of its variant names) is one from 1927, when Utah’s drug laws were being revised: a Deseret News editorial called for the strengthening of the law, reporting that some very recent drug prosecutions had been dismissed due to loopholes in the law. (An appeal of such a Utah case in State v. Navaro, 26 P.(2d) 955, illustrates such a loophole: The defendant had been charged with and convicted of “possession of marijuana” when the statute criminalized only possession of the “flowering tops and leaves” of the plant. The Utah Supreme Court upheld conviction.) There is no discussion of narcotic use of any kind, much less of marijuana, in the conference talks of 1910-1915. Perhaps most tellingly, there is no indication that the church or the state tried to curtail tobacco use or trade by legislation at that time, despite the very large body of documentation concerning Mormon opposition to tobacco.

So … with all due respect to that body of august scholars associated with the Mormon National Tabernacle in Washington, and with sympathy to all the tender feelings of thousands of pro-marijuana bloggers, I must submit my conclusion: Your tale of church-imposed state legislation to curtail the rampant drug use of Mormon polygamists is, I am forced to say, a pipe dream, a wisp of smoke, a lie with no basis in fact.

Help yourself to the Doritos. I know you need the comfort.



115 Comments »

  1. Wow – a lot of great stuff here. And I just can’t stop thinking about “the Mormon National Tabernacle in Washington, D.C.” It’s a little known fact that I actually served my mission there. Ah, good times.

    Anyhow, I didn’t take the dare to Google those terms: All the results would probably just depress me. But that leads me to your question about how to combat misinformation about the Church/Church History? Blogs like Keepa are important in that regard, but why not develop a Mormon Anti-Defamation League of sorts?

    Comment by Hunter — January 9, 2009 @ 10:25 am

  2. P.S. C’mon, Keepaninnies: in honor of the (ahem) subject matter of this post, we have to reach 420 comments.

    Comment by Hunter — January 9, 2009 @ 10:32 am

  3. But that leads me to your question about how to combat misinformation about the Church/Church History? Blogs like Keepa are important in that regard, but why not develop a Mormon Anti-Defamation League of sorts?

    Isn’t that essentially what FAIR does?
    (Running for cover . . .)

    Comment by JimD — January 9, 2009 @ 10:57 am

  4. I remember reading somewhere that James E. Talmage self experimented with hashish. It was for his scientific studies, but still, the idea of the apostle who wrote Jesus the Christ toking it up is pretty funny.

    But this is probably just a bunch of klaptrap.

    Comment by Brett — January 9, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  5. Brett, the hazards of opium had been known long before Talmage’s day, and he and his associates were very familiar with its effects through a generation of combating opium dens on Salt Lake’s Plum Alley and environs. I have no hesitation whatsoever in declaring that an abject lie, wherever you read it.

    Please, let’s not report rumors like that without offering solid support. The problem with combating such a falsehood, or the one which is at the base of this post, is that people reading it will remember the colorful, scandalous parts and forget the debunking.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  6. And immediately after declaring that an abject lie, I find the evidence. Will cite in a moment — am trying to get this comment up before anybody corrects me. Sorry, Brett.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 11:09 am

  7. It’s humiliating to be so spectacularly and instantly wrong, but at least I went out to check …

    “Inner Dialogue: James Talmage’s Choice of Science as a Career, 1876-84,” The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism, Gene A. Sessions and Craig J. Oberg, eds. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993. Online here.

    Since Talmage was a student in a time and place when fully supplied laboratories were a luxury, he early developed the habit of supplying his own specimens. Perhaps the most telling example of the depth of his scientific curiosity and his commitment to experimentation occurred in the spring of 1884 while he was studying narcotics at Johns Hopkins. He recorded the following entries in his journal:

    March 17. I have been engaged some time in the study of the effects of Narcotics upon the system, i.e. studying the same theoretically only. Today I found a gentleman who works in the same Laboratory as I, and who has for 2 years been addicted to the habit of eating Haschich or extract of Cannabis Indica. He was very willing to give me any data from his own experience; and gave me such.

    March 18…Three of us in the University have entered upon the study of the Narcotics in use.

    March 21. The result of our work in research upon Narcotics has been tolerably satisfactory. We utilize my friend referred to above, with his Haschich eating experience — and find four or five others whom he knows have also an experience upon the subject. But the effects experienced by the different ones are so widely different that we can scarcely draw a conclusion. The opium habit is well explained by books, and the bad after effects of the same are sufficiently appalling to keep down experimentation upon the subject. But, the ill effects are reported very low in the Haschich or Hemp administration; and we have concluded to try effect of small dose upon ourselves.

    Of course, such a course is the proper one for the study of the effects of the drug, though I very much disliked the idea of doing [p.59] such a thing, for as yet I have never known what it is to be narcotized either by tobacco, alcohol, or any drug ….

    March 22. This being Saturday, was the day I selected to study practically the effects of Haschisch. This evening, after work and all was over, I took at 3 doses each an hour after the preceeding, 5 grains solid extract Cannabis Indica. At this writing — midnight — 5 hours since last dose, I have experienced no effect whatever. The effect is said to be widely different in different people.

    March 23. Sunday. Spent quietly. Have had no result to be noted of my physiological experiment yesterday ….

    April 5…Took in all 15 grains. No effects.

    April 6. Sunday…Continued my experiment by taking 20 grains Cannabis Indica and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way.

    Talmage would lecture to the Brigham Young Academy faculty in September 1884 on “The Effects of the Narcotic Hashish on the Human System,” but the Faculty Minute Book does not record whether he mentioned the source of his information.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 11:20 am

  8. This has to be the best blog post of the day, I mean week, I mean month: James E. Talmage being “narcotized” by eating hashish. Oh my. I’m not sure whether this information really *means* anything, but it’s just so awesome. Good find.

    Comment by Hunter — January 9, 2009 @ 11:29 am

  9. Thanks for such an interesting and informative post.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — January 9, 2009 @ 11:31 am

  10. As the one who kicked the pebble down the mountainside, I am pretty stunned at what you pulled together in a bit over 24 hours (for those wondering, I sent Ardis an e-mail yesterday morning with the paragraph and Salon link). Stunned but not surprised (if that makes sense). Way to go, dudette! (Hey, if you can call me a “Keepapitchininny”, I can call you “dudette”.)

    And, as one who lived in DC for six years, I find the reference to the “Mormon National Tabernacle in Washington DC” to be just wonderful. Ah, yes, I remember it well.

    It took some minor sleuthing on my own part to figure out how I found that the original link came from Metafilter, one of my favorite grab-bag websites. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — January 9, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  11. Oops. If that last sentence sounds garbled, it’s not due to evil weed. It’s what comes of writing a post while mousing around a bunch of other websites to find how I got to the “Mormons/marijuana” column in the first place. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — January 9, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

  12. Wow, how will I ever be able to tell my kids to stay away from drugs, when all they have to do is say, “Elder Talmage used it, why can’t I?”

    Or how do we use the ban on medical marijuana, when he saw no foul in trying hash for scientific studies?

    Gerald

    Comment by Rameumptom — January 9, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  13. Quite an interesting post (as if the others are not). I liked that about Talmage. Use that as a “shock bomb” in a boring priesthood class sometime–“BTW, Did you know that James E. Talmage experimented with hashish?”

    In all seriousness, I think there are several important issues brought up–i.e. the way LDS history is presented (by the Mormon National tabernacle in Washington DC :-)).

    I think it also raises issues of LDS “influence” on politics. To be fair, since most UT legislators are LDS, they bring an LDS point of view with them. Just like here in the southern state in which I live. Evangelical Christians bring in their points of view.

    That said, if I recall, in the 1910s, the Prohibition movement was pushing to make liquor illegal. One would think that the Church would be behind this “moral” issue. However, (please correct me if I’m wrong)JF Smith and Reed Smoot said little and were upset that HJ Grant was preaching prohibition over the pulpit. Smith and Smoot were concerned about the perception that they were interfereing too much in politics.

    Ardis, I think you’re right on about how the regulation of narcotics reflected Progressive Era politics rather than Church oppression.

    Of course, we still see these sort of things. I remember returning from my mission in 1987. In Kansas, where I lived, the legislature passed a ban on smoking in public buildings. Several months later when I moved to Utah, the UT legislature was debating the same issue. Opponents of the ban argued that the Church was trying to impose its will on the non-LDS with this ban. It struck me as ironic since it had been non-Mormons who had passed a similar law in Kansas and many other states as well (long before Utah did).

    Comment by Steve C. — January 9, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

  14. I gave up trying to identify the first source from which the others plagiarize.

    The Salon blog is indeed the origin. I’ve informed the author of this post.

    Comment by daksya — January 9, 2009 @ 1:17 pm

  15. JimD,
    FAIR definantly tries to fight mis-information about the Church, but I am not sure if they focus enough on the post-1850 time period for this discussion.
    At least my limited interaction makes me think it is more a doctrinal than a historical group.
    Brother Alexander’s book “Mormonism in Transition” would give people a good grounding in this time period.
    However, some of Brother Alexander’s theories are suspect. He has accepted the notion that there is a “Mormon neo-orthodoxy” without realizing that if the originator of it had been right than Hugh Nibley would be an ultra-conservative, which is the most laughable idea I have contacted all year.
    I will make another post about there specific falacies in the historical argument that I find amazing that people perpetuate.

    Comment by John Pack Lambert — January 9, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

  16. Thanks for the enlightening post. I’m making adjustments to my article due to it. For your information, the sources I had used for writing that portion of the article originally were:

    The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge: An Inquiry Into the Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition by Richard J. Bonnie & Charles H. Whitebread, II. Virginia Law Review, Volume 56, October 1970, Number 6.

    and

    “The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States” by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law, USC Law School (A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference)

    (The links to those sources are at the bottom of the article)

    It appears, based on your research, that Whitebread missed the California law (perhaps because of wording?) and may have over-assumed on the background of the Utah law.

    But I had no reason to doubt his research at the time.

    (just so you know I didn’t pull it out of my ass).

    Again, thanks for the new information.

    Comment by Pete Guither — January 9, 2009 @ 1:50 pm

  17. Excellent write up, Ardis. You allude to it, but the Federal 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act is important context.

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 9, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

  18. Pete Guither — Thanks for stopping by. I wouldn’t have had any reason to doubt 99% of your column (regardless of where you pulled it from :) ) except that I challenged the Mormon history part of it. I hope you will consider revising those remarks as well as the earliest California law — if you need any dates or names or facts or citations to help you with accurate Mormon history, I would be more than happy to oblige (write to me at keepapitchinin at AOL dot com).

    Thanks, J. I’ve been hunting for links like yours — I’ll add your link into the main post.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  19. At our next synod, I will place Ardis’ name in nomination for Assistant Church Historian.

    Comment by Martin Willey — January 9, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  20. Wow.

    I’ve heard of people “experimenting with drugs,” but when Talmage experiments, there’s a lab notebook and everything.

    Comment by Ben Pratt — January 9, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

  21. At our next synod, I will place Ardis’ name in nomination for Assistant Church Historian

    I second

    Comment by Matt W. — January 9, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  22. I will accept such appointment only if I get a corner office in the Mormon National Tabernacle.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

  23. wow . . .great stuff

    Comment by Guy Murray — January 9, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  24. Ardis,

    According to the Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young encouraged the production of hemp. Since they were so determined to be self-sufficient, I think it is safe to assume that the hemp should be seen as part of the silk mission/cotton mission initiative as a way of producing fibers for clothing, instead of for its other, uh, qualities.

    Comment by Mark Brown — January 9, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  25. The three falacies:
    1-Mormons have synods, the church ended polygamy in 1910 and it was post ending of polygamy and policies of oppression by the church that caused people to move to Mexico.
    This is very easy to show to be sperious. A perusal of the 2008 Church Almanac will find on page 416 mention of the fact that the Colonia Juarez stake in Mexico was organized in 1895.
    I just created a short article in wikipedia on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico. This will hopefully do a little in dispelling some of the false information, but maybe not enough.
    The history of the end of polygamy, although more complicated than just the 1890 manifesto, does not support the 1910 date. The second manifesto is clearly present by 1906 and excommunications began no later than 1909.
    If it was only these egregious misunderstandings of the history of the Latter-day Saints going to Mexico (since those who went actually fled US government persecution, not actions by the church) than the story might seem vaguely plausible.
    However there are other issues that I take with the whole presentation of events.
    2- The reasons given for why Mormons returned are spurious and show a major lack of any knowledge of Mexican history.
    The reason there was a mass return of Mormons from Mexico is not at all what is stated.
    First, I have to point out that the notion that the Mormons had failed to win converts in Mexico prior to the first major wave of returning from the colonies is patently false. The story of Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales, the leaders of a branch in Central Mexico who were killed for their testimony of the Church during the Mexican Revolution shows this notion to be spurious.
    I would not say we remember Brothers Monroy and Morales enough, but since President Faust told there story not long ago in General Conference, it is clearly a remembered story.
    That said, the biggest falsehood in the story of marijuana and Mormons is the notion that the people left Mexico since they missed Utah, well maybe not the biggest falsehood, but it is false. The reason the people left Mexico was because of the ongoing and escalationg violence related to the Mexican revolution.
    3- The biggest problem with the story is pointed out by the fact that Utah did not pass any laws against tobacco use prior to 1920.
    The story represents major failures to understand the relations of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Utah government, and support for laws given by the Church.
    First off, once the church excommunicates people it no longer considers them members in any way or sense. This is different than the Catholic view of excommunication and the Catholic view on the issue may explain why many people not familiar with the church hold the spurious notion that the church proactively attempts to affect the behavior of people it has excommunicated.
    Secondly, the church has never tried to implement all its goals and policies into legislation in Utah. There have been few if any unprecedented legislative initiatives in Utah. Utah was not the first state to outlaw the consumption of alchohol.
    At heart a lot of this discussion is built on the false assumption that because a few is religiously motivated it can not become law. This would invalidate many political initiatives of the past such as abolition, because at least in its early phase almost all abolitionist were such because of the specific religious beliefs they held.
    On the other hand some of the attacks on LDS supported ideas are at heart anti-papist. This may seem an odd characterization, but it is the most historically accuracte name I can give them.
    It is not so much a distrust that the ideas come from a religious source, but te argument seems more often to be that the participation in politica by some people has become suspect because they are “merely following the instructions of their leaders”.
    This seemed to me to be the real argument of the anti-8 people, and from my little exposure to this issue seems to be the argument.
    It is not so much that Utah passed the bill because of a general religious idea, but the argument seems to be that it was a centralized religious fiat with the goal of keeping members of the religion in line. This is why the people who write about it but the return of the Mormons in 1914, because if they admitted the truth that the Mormon exodus from Mexico was in 1912 than they would have less of a case to argue this bill must have been pushed by a small cadre of religious leaders to control a vast part of the church that was unaware of what was occuring.

    Comment by John Pack Lambert — January 9, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  26. Brett,
    First off, I would recomend reporting things you merely “read somewhere”. At least tell us where you read it.
    Secondly, Elder Talmadge was a metulurgist, not a chemist. He dealt with dead rocks, not living plants. So the notion that he would have done any research with hashish in any way is almost as ludicous as the idea that the Mormons left Mexico just because they missed Salt Lake City.

    Comment by John Pack Lambert — January 9, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

  27. John, while I appreciate your ardor and participation, I’m going to ask you to please let me police my own blog. Thanks!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  28. The Mormon National Tabernacle in Washington, D.C. used to be on the southwest corner of 16th Street and Columbia Road. If the Google street-level URL at the end of this comment works correctly, it’s the building on the right. I think it belongs to the Unification Church now.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&ie=UTF8&g=38.892093,-77.024055&layer=xc&ll=38.927915,-77.036447&spn=0.000714,0.002983&z=18&cbll=38.926821,-77.036457&panoid=g0yQT6dmvHeB8KnM5PtFqQ&cbp=11,181.11538303617868,,0,5.000000000000001

    Comment by John Mansfield — January 9, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  29. Well,
    I think there are hundreds of issues people miss in the “Talmadge used hashish argument”.
    I think things need to be considered in context. Is this any more outrageous than “Joseph Smith drank alchohol” or “Brigham Young chewed tobacco”.
    First off, I maybe stated my case too strongly. I guess for now I will have to accept that Elder Talmadge experimented on hashish for scientific reasons. However, this was in 1883, more than 30 years before he wrote “Jesus the Christ”.
    Beyond this, the Word of Widsom was not made a condition for going to the temple until the 1920s. It was not the same binding commandement in the 1880s it has been since about 1925, so the actions of someone then have no bearing on the rightness of our actions today.
    You might as well argue we can legitimately drink wine and remain in good standing in the Church because Noah did as to try to argue that Elder Talmadge’s actions as a scientific researcher in 1884 have any effect on what we should do in the 21st Century.

    Comment by John Pack Lambert — January 9, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  30. The quote from Guither’s article shows multiple problems.
    First, the idea that the “State of Utah automatically enshrines into law the policies of the LDS Church” is absurd. If that were true, than why does California has a stricter law against the use of tobacco with more regulation that is in Utah.
    Plus the notion of Church members traveling to Mexico in 1910 seems a very incorrect understanding of the history involved.

    Comment by John Pack Lambert — January 9, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  31. Because the subject matter of this post is apt to draw readers unfamiliar with the atmosphere on Keepapitchinin, let me encourage you all to read the “About” page (a link can be found in the upper lefthand corner of the page).

    Most regular readers know each other pretty well by now and are fully aware of how far we’ve pushed our tongues into our cheeks in the discussion here. If you don’t know us, a great deal of good humor has flown right over your head — I’m sorry for that, and invite you to lurk until you’re comfortable with our style.

    One thing that is absolutely verboten here at Keepapitchinin is rancor and argument. If someone makes an incorrect statement, anybody may provide corrected information … politely. If anybody goes beyond my level of toleration for expressing apostate ideas or attacking Mormon doctrine or personalities, as blog owner I do not hesitate to apply the heavy hand of moderation.

    Please, all, let’s let the good times roll within our established bounds. If you don’t know what those bounds are, or you don’t know whether or not someone is speaking ironically, sit back and watch. Wait to comment until you understand the atmosphere.

    Thanks, all.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  32. John Pack Lambert, I note that you have your own blog, linked by your signature. Since this topic and the way it has been discussed here is causing your creative juices to flow freely, I ask you now to write up your thoughts and post them in full on your own blog. I’m pretty sure Keepa’s regular readers are as aware as you and I are of all the flaws outlined and do not need a step by step explication of the problems.

    Thank you for heeding my request.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 3:09 pm

  33. If someone makes an incorrect statement, anybody may provide corrected information … politely

    This from a lady who posts pictures of JFS2 flipping the bird…

    Comment by Matt W. — January 9, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

  34. Operative word is “polite,” Matt, not “genteel.” Excuse me while I rinse the blood from my white kid gloves.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  35. Wow! Ardis “Sherlock Holmes” Parshall does it again!

    “…your tale of church-imposed state legislation to curtail the rampant drug use of Mormon polygamists…”

    Hahahaha.

    (Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Mormon history would dismiss the marijuana legend out of hand, but it probably goes to show that not many Mormons or people familiar with Mormon history are reading pro-pot blogs.)

    Comment by Researcher — January 9, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  36. Ardis, # 22, if a new Mormon National Tabernacle is built in DC, based on the Tabernacle at Temple Square, corner offices might be at a premium. But I’m hoping you get yours.

    Meanwhile, this is an amazing piece of work to pull together in 24 hours. I’ll be cautious in ever suggesting a research topic for you. You must sleep sometimes, you know.

    Unfortunately, many folks appear to only find this post interesting because of the Talmage anecdote. So much of church history focuses on the 19th century, and as you continue to show, there is a lot of fascinating stuff about our 20th century heritage as well, and it appears to be better documented, but still not really understood. Keepitup at Keepapitchinin.

    Comment by kevinf — January 9, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

  37. Thanks, kevinf. I don’t much mind the direction of the comments — it’s understandable that something surprising that did happen is more immediately of interest than something scandalous that didn’t happen. But now The Truth Is Out There should any Keepa reader ever have this grubby tale thrown at him, and hopefully this post can be found somewhere among all the repetitions of the incorrect story by anyone seriously seeking the truth. I guess that’s the best to be hoped for!

    About that 24 hours thing: This week I’ve been involved in an extended family emergency that has filled many hours with physical work and heartache. I worked on this post more than I perhaps would have under normal circumstances as a way of distracting my mind. This is a novel way of turning to drugs for escape from the real world, no? :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  38. Re California as the first to pass a statewide law against marijuana, Gieringer indicates in this article that Massachusetts passed an anti-cannabis law in 1911 (p. 27 n. 119).

    Comment by Justin — January 9, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

  39. Good catch, Justin. Isn’t it ironic that Massachusetts, that bastion of social conservatism, may have beat out California, where ne’er drug was known to stain fair reputation, for first honors?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  40. “Most regular readers know each other pretty well by now and are fully aware of how far we’ve pushed our tongues into our cheeks in the discussion here. If you don’t know us, a great deal of good humor has flown right over your head”

    Lately, by the time I get on the computer at night, the post has been hashished (did I really say that?) enough that I just sit back and laugh at the bantering going on.

    Aside from that, I concur in the nominating of Ardis for Church Historian. Ardis,I am continually amazed at how you keep coming up with posts, complete with documentation and accurate information, on a consistant basis.

    #15, John Pack Lambert, I sat next to Tom Alexander this fall at the Evans Biography Award luncheon at USU. He said he is reworking his Mormonism in Transition because of new information.

    Comment by Maurine — January 9, 2009 @ 7:10 pm

  41. #37 – “This is a novel way of turning to drugs for escape from the real world, no?”

    It’s the faithful Mormon way, Ardis.

    I really am awed by this post and the turn around time. Justin’s finding of the MA law, however, surprises me not in the slightest. Dude, you are at least in the same galaxy as Ardis.

    Comment by Ray — January 9, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  42. Just an aside…

    Keepapitchininny bfwebster…

    Was this meant to be an allusion to Evan Mecham? If so, well played.

    Comment by Nate W. — January 9, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  43. Hm, that’s one I don’t get, Nate. Regular readers of this blog are affectionately known by the K word, and bfwebster is the way Bruce signs his comments. Now you’re sending me off to research the governor in hopes of understanding what I inadvertently said …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 9, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  44. Wow! I drop off the bloggernacle for a couple of weeks and look what happens. Ardis been nominated for Assistant Church Historian and amidst the fame and glory turns to drugs as an escape.

    btw, Ardis. About the corner office. Turn it down. Washington DC is not the place to kick the marijuana habit. :)

    Comment by BruceCrow — January 9, 2009 @ 9:22 pm

  45. As former DC mayor, Marion Berry said, “Just say ‘Yo!’ to drugs.”

    Comment by Floyd the Wonderdog — January 10, 2009 @ 7:44 am

  46. Just thought I’d add one more comment to put this post into the number four position of most commented on Keepa posts. A few more comments and we can make this number one. :-)

    Comment by Steve C. — January 10, 2009 @ 9:15 am

  47. But let’s not try to make it to Hunter’s 420 on the strength of throwaways, okay? :)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 10, 2009 @ 9:49 am

  48. So, throwaways

    Comment by Ray — January 10, 2009 @ 10:50 am

  49. are OK

    Comment by Ray — January 10, 2009 @ 10:51 am

  50. here, right?

    Comment by Ray — January 10, 2009 @ 10:52 am

  51. Ray, Ray, Ray … No. Not even for you. No more. Please. :( (You’re just trying to maintain your position as top o’ the commenter heap, I know. :) )

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 10, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  52. I just realized none of us have laughed over this, at least not publickly: Today, Senator Orrin Hatch serves as the prohibition arm of this heavily church-influenced state.

    If you know only three things about Orrin Hatch, one of those things is certain to be his championing of the herbal food supplement / natural pharmaceuticals industry, resisting all attempts to regulate or test their products or the claims that are made for them by their unlicensed dealers or the often pyramidal structure of their distributorships. I just don’t think the pro-pot lobby has any idea how funny it is that he should be called anybody’s “prohibition arm” in this context.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 10, 2009 @ 11:54 am

  53. Ardis: start here.

    Comment by Nate W. — January 10, 2009 @ 11:58 am

  54. I found this compilation of state “pure drug” laws enacted between 1906 and 1913.

    Comment by Justin — January 10, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

  55. […] The Great Mormon Marijuana Myth […]

    Pingback by The Great Mormon Marijuana Myth : Mormon Metaphysics — January 10, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  56. So useful, Justin! I’m still working through to see how many state laws do mention cannabis, but it seems to appear always in the context of “… a statement on the label of the quantity or proportion of any alcohol, morphine, opium, cocaine, heroin, alpha or beta eucaine, chloroform, cannabis indica, chloral hydrate or acetanilide, or any derivative or preparation of any such substance contained therein …”

    I have no doubt that if (when, if Justin is involved) a similar compilation of poison or pharmaceutical laws from a slightly later period turns up, they will have the same uniform wording, state to state, showing their common, national origin.

    I started this because the Salon statement was false in its attribution of a uniquely Mormon origin for Utah’s anti-marijuana legislation. With the uniformity of these laws in all parts of the nation, including New England and the South and other places with no Hispanic immigration, I’m pretty sure the attribution of anti-Mexican prejudice as the origin for anti-marijuana legislation in other Southwestern states is equally shaky. Cannabis, as shown by the 19th century newspaper articles I quoted, was a known, if little understood, narcotic drug long before there was any appreciable Mexican immigration anywhere in the U.S.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 10, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  57. Hm. Pete Guither has revised his article to read:

    “However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church’s reaction to this may have contributed to the state’s marijuana law.”

    with a link to Keepa for discussion. That is disappointing. He continues to lie about supposed Mormon drug use. Mr. Guither, pick up a history book, or take me up on my offer to help you correct your laughably garbled account of early 20th century Mormon history.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 10, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

  58. Talmage said ” March 22 was the day I selected to study practically the effects of Haschisch…. …I took at 3 doses each an hour after the preceeding, 5 grains solid extract Cannabis Indica. ”

    That would have been the first day of spring. I wonder if he saw any significance in the date.

    “March 23. Sunday. Spent quietly. Have had no result to be noted of my physiological experiment yesterday ….

    April 5…Took in all 15 grains. No effects.

    April 6. Sunday…Continued my experiment by taking 20 grains Cannabis Indica and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way.”

    April 5 & 6. That would have been General conference weekend! I wonder if he noticed the significance of the date!

    Comment by J. Paul — January 10, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

  59. […] recently, Monk has become one of our favorite shows.» Church property and public use» The Great Mormon Marijuana MythMore than you ever wanted to know about about Utah’s non-history w/ marijuana.» Huckabee […]

    Pingback by Shared Items - 10 January 2009 | A Soft Answer — January 10, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  60. Ardis, I haven’t delved deeply into the history of US marijuana legislation, but I do spot a fallacy in your last comment. You say,

    “With the uniformity of these laws in all parts of the nation, including … with no Hispanic immigration, I’m pretty sure the attribution of anti-Mexican prejudice as the origin for anti-marijuana legislation in other Southwestern states is equally shaky.”

    The similarity of text simply points to states not doing the legwork of crafting their own bills, and picking the convenient option of adopting the APA model law(s) and/or those of nearby states. From that, it does not automatically follow that the motivations and triggers were also broadly similar across the breadth of the United States. Some of it may have been triggered by the local faces of drug use, in some places, Mexicans, in some places, working classes..etc, and in Utah, maybe returning Mormons* and in other states, simply due to the wave of viral social trends.

    *you haven’t positively traced the motivations of Utah legislators in enacting the law that they did when they did. It may simply be the legal trend of the era, as you imply, or prompted by some concrete concerns, possibly including the returning Mormons.

    In Pete’s defence, he relied on sources cited at the bottom of the 2003 post, principally Whitebread, just as you do with Gieringer. We are talking about 90 year old events. All recounting will rely on some “old ink”

    Comment by daksya — January 11, 2009 @ 7:29 am

  61. daksya, yes, we both rely on other sources for some material — although I don’t rely solely on Gieringer for a single essential fact: unlike Pete, I actually went back to the primary sources for confirmation of every claim — you and Pete don’t produce a single scrap of primary evidence for your views; you merely quote and embroider on Whitebread when it comes to Mormon history.

    Please consider two extremely important points:

    1. Your (you, Pete, Whitebread) knowledege of Mormon history is so scant that you don’t know what all the rest of my readers know: Polygamy was abandoned by Mormons in 1890, not 1910, and although it lingered on in dwindling numbers for another generation, federal persecution of polygamists on anything like a level that would cause numbers of Mormons to flee anywhere ceased in 1890. Mormons, who had been in Mexico for generations, not just since 1910, fled Mexico during the Revolution, but the vast majority of them stayed on the U.S. side of the border hoping to go back home (Mexico) when the war calmed down, and didn’t return to Utah. Mormon abhorrence of stimulants (the word “euphorants” is alien) was and is so great that there is ZERO chance — and ZERO evidence — of casual Mormon adoption of marijuana or any other drug. Even had there been such an adoption, Mormons never, ever, ever, ever, would have handled the problem by simply inducing a civil authority, even the State of Utah, to pass legislation: the problem would have been addressed via ecclesiastical channels, the only channels we have ever paid attention to when it comes to personal behavior. No Mormon “synod” (an alien term, but we’ll allow that to stand for any kind of conference or official gathering) meets in August, in 1914 or any other year; and there is no such thing as a “Mormon National Tabernacle” in Washington, by that or any other name (the map link provided in one comment is to the former LDS chapel in Washington, which had passed out of Mormon hands long before Whitebread supposedly conducted research. Alhough Pete didn’t pick up those parts of Whitebread’s nonsense, those are other signals in Pete’s only source for Mormon history that Whitebread didn’t know what he was talking about.

    In short, when you’re so obviously wrong about easily documented facts of Mormon history as dates and procedure, why should anyone place any reliance on your understanding of a far more difficult matter for outsiders to understand: the matter of motivation?

    2. Unlike Whitebread, and unlike Pete, I have actually searched Utah and Mormon sources for the slightest trace of evidence that marijuana was even the slightest of problems among Mormons of that generation. There is none, to the best of my knowledge. You (and Pete and Whitebread) have produced none. You merely assert. You see “Utah,” and you think “Mormon,” and you think you know what must have happened because, hey, EVERYbody knows about Mormons.

    You can’t show (you *haven’t* shown, and my research demonstrates that you *can’t* show) that Mormons (or Utahns in general — certainly Mormons did not make up anywhere near the totality of Utahns in 1915 — bet you didn’t know that, either) were even aware of what marijuana was. The name and the substance is virtually non-existent in the records of Utah in that generation or earlier — can you show me wrong there? No. The only historically demonstrable source for Mormon or Utah inclusion of marijuana in the 1915 bill is the easily demonstrated fact that the word was copied from the model legislation. Why do you (Pete, Whitebread) allege that Utah had a different motive for copying that phrasing than any other state? Please produce any evidence you have to support such an allegation. We’ll wait. {chirp, chirp, chirp}

    You (Pete, Whitebread) have exactly as much evidence to support a claim of Mormon marijuana use in 1914 as you have to support a claim of widespread use of cocaine, opium, morphine, codeine, heroin, peyote, alpha eucaine, beta eucaine, nova caine, and chloral hydrate, the other narcotics regulated by the same bill that you rely on as evidence for marijuana. Are we guilty of the use of those substances, too? If the law is evidence that we were guilty of marijuana use, why is it not also evidence of our guilt for use of the others? Why is the 1915 legislation an “anti-marijuana” bill more than “anti-all-the-rest” bill? Why must there be a separate motivation for regulating marijuana than for regulating the rest?

    And then there’s still that pesky matter of tobacco, the one herb with which Mormons were undoubtedly familiar, undoubtedly using, undoubtedly condemning … and yet remained absolutely free from legislative restriction. Why, oh why, was tobacco unrestricted, if church law is “automatically enshrined” in civil law and if Mormons used civil law as a way to control Mormon behavior? Hm?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2009 @ 9:19 am

  62. Ardis, I played no role at all in composing that 2003 post, and I didn’t ever imply the opposite, so you have shown the same lack of rigor you accuse Pete of, by ascribing to me certain views on Mormons, e.g. “Your (you, Pete, Whitebread) knowledege of Mormon history is so scant that you don’t know what all the rest of my readers know…”

    You merely assert. You see “Utah,” and you think “Mormon,”

    Now, that’s ironic.

    Why do you (Pete, Whitebread) allege that Utah had a different motive for copying that phrasing than any other state?

    I don’t. I simply claimed that uniform text across states didn’t imply similar motives, and that you haven’t positively delineated the motives of Utah legislators; only simply sought to deny the religious angle. based on 1)the uniform text 2)a lack of citation among the documents & histories at your avail. A speculation on my part would be that if marijuana had a limited mindshare and limited prevalence among Utahns in 191x, then I wouldn’t expect much notice of it in ink. Similar to the state of Salvia Divinorum or Ayahuasca before the past few years. All it demonstrates is that marijuana wasn’t a phenomenon in Utah during that time. But not that the passed law was dropped off a train traversing across the US.

    Comment by daksya — January 11, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  63. daksya, you are commenting here seemingly as Pete’s representative, defending his research and writing, so I include you in the “you.” Nothing ironic about that at all.

    Contrary to your claim, my post does provide substantial reason to believe that “the passed law was dropped off a train traversing across [sic] the US,” because it demonstrates a shared origin with laws being passed in so many other states at that very moment. The only alternative is to imagine that such uniform wording spontaneously and simultaneously occurred to legislators in every region of the country.

    If you (meaning you individually, or Pete, or Whitebread, or any other composition of “you” that is acceptable) wish to claim that there is a distinction in Utah’s motivation from the motivation of any of those other states, you have the burden of proof.

    I am glad to see, though, your admission that marijuana was not a phenomenon in Utah at that time. That is really the heart of this whole post. Pete claims that the Utah law was passed precisely because the drug was so heavily in use, but provides no evidence; I say there is no evidence of such use, and have outlined the searches into primary sources where I have sought such evidence. It is true that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence — but absence is telling in a case like this where the claimant (Pete, Whitebread, whoever) asserts such an outrageous thing.

    (You’ll have the next four hours to comment without argument, if you so wish, because like all good little Mormon girls, I’m heading off to church in a few minutes.)

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2009 @ 10:17 am

  64. The only alternative is to imagine that such uniform wording spontaneously and simultaneously occurred to legislators in every region of the country.

    What?? You yourself pointed to the APA and California (in the case of Utah) as possible templates for the text, which as I said, simply established the use of a legislative shortcut, and didn’t reveal motives and triggers. Many laws are large, unwieldy & tedious; it’s hardly surprising that one would avoid the work by borrowing something similar from a neighbor and maybe alter it here & there.

    you are commenting here seemingly as Pete’s representative, defending his research and writing

    I only defended him against the notion that he “continues to lie”. The sloppy history is Whitebread’s.

    Comment by daksya — January 11, 2009 @ 10:38 am

  65. *I’m* not the one imagining such a nutty thing, daksya. I present that as the only alternative to what I do assert happened.

    The sloppy history originated with Whitebread. Pete bears some responsibility for continuing to perpetuate it when he has been put on notice of its sloppiness.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  66. Pete claims that the Utah law was passed precisely because the drug was so heavily in use, but provides no evidence

    Cite?

    Pete’s encapsulation of Whitebread in the original post, as you quote above, stated:

    Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church was not pleased and ruled against use of the drug.

    Where does it say anything about heavy use of the drug?

    Comment by daksya — January 11, 2009 @ 10:45 am

  67. daksya, Ardis’ request is really simple. Show us some documentary proof of that last claim in #66. Ardis’ statement also is really simple: It ain’t there.

    Let me repeat what she said in different terms.

    I would NEVER failed (solid “F”) any paper a student of mine wrote making that claim based on no evidence whatsoever and on the types of stereotypical assumptions that abound in what was written – and that would have been for high school history students.

    All Ardis is asking for is one scrap of primary (or even proximate secondary) evidence, and she has articulated numerous problems with the argument – especially, but not exclusively, given the lack of evidence for the claim.

    In summary, this is less about questioning her research (as impressive as it is) and more about providing some (any, really) objective evidence for such a wild and counter-intuitive claim – and it really is a wild and counter-intuitive (and stereotype-based) claim.

    Comment by Ray — January 11, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

  68. My mind jumped ahead, and I left out an important sentence. I would never fail a high school student, but I would fail a college student. The research standards are higher.

    Sorry for that sloppiness.

    Comment by Ray — January 11, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

  69. daksya, “heavy Mormon use” is implied by the statement you quote, unless you suppose that negligible use would have been noticed or legislated agaisnt, or that Mormons were supplying the drug to unnamed others.

    I know you have no knowledge of my experience or the considerable resources at my fingertips, and thus no particular reason to take my word for anything. But really, this all does boil down to exactly what Ray has said:

    It’s impossible for me to provide primary evidence that marijuana was not in use by Mormons in 1914 or that it was not brought by them from Mexico, or that there was not church displeasure over its use — I can’t really go take affidavits from anybody who was in Salt Lake in 1914, and I can’t produce the minutes of meetings that were not held or the words of sermons that were not given or rulings that were not made or records of arrests that did not occur. All I can do is provide the rational basis for Utah’s 1915 law.

    You, or Pete, or anyone else making the claim that “the first [US] state law outlawing marijuana did so not because of Mexicans using the drug. Oddly enough, it was because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church was not pleased and ruled against use of the drug” is not handicapped by trying to prove the negative. All you (any of you) need to do is produce the minutes of a single meeting, or the words of a single talk, sermon, or legislative speech, or the editorial from a single newspaper, or the court report of a single prosecution, or any other primary source document demonstrating that marijuana was being used by Mormons prior to the passage of the 1915 law. A single instance. I’ll admit defeat and crown you victor.

    Mormons are and have been rather obsessive-compulsive about our history. We record every word, transcribe every speech, preserve every diary and newspaper and scrap of documentation produced by or about us. It’s collected, collated, indexed, cross-referenced, and made available at our Archives to anyone who wants to use it. If marijuana use existed under the conditions Pete claims (quoting Whitebread, who is really the fount of disinformation perpetuated by Pete), then there’s no reason in the world why it can’t be found and announced to the world.

    I’m saying such evidence doesn’t exist. If Pete can’t produce it, he has no business perpetuating the story. The false story. The lie.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  70. Pete Guither has again modified his post at Salon. It now reads:

    However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church’s reaction to this may have contributed to the state’s marijuana law. (Note: the source for this speculation is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a paper for the Virginia Law Review, and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.)[linked here to Keepa]

    That’s not a bad concession, and linking here for the full discussion is generous. Consider any hostility that I may have shown toward Pete (I hope there was no actual hostility to him, merely frustration with the ahistorical, antischolarly nature of the allegations) to be officially transfered to Whitebread, who is ultimately responsible for the canard.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

  71. unless you suppose that negligible use would have been noticed or legislated agaisnt

    Ardis, take the case of Salvia Divinorum today. It has been known about in the literature for deacdes in the West, and yet till 7-8 years ago, hardly anyone on campuses(the chief loci for drug experimentation) was aware of it. Slowly, some people tried it, and through word of mouth, spread its awareness. Even then, till around ~2005, despite it being legal, the number of people trying it was a fraction of those using similar but illegal drugs. Basically, the number of people using LSD is typically a fraction of those using marijuana, and the number of people trying Salvia before ’05 was a fraction of those using LSD. Yet, predictably, there was talk in Florida and elsewhere of banning it (over the past 3 years, many states have banned it). Salvia was never in “heavy use”, just the latest target of an established mindset.

    daksya, “heavy Mormon use” is implied by the statement you quote,

    It’s not. “Mormons … came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana” is trivially not equivalent to heavy use by Mormons. There needn’t be the two extreme poles of extreme vs. negligible use either. All it requires for a law to pass is not strong support but simply the lack of an opposition stronger than the support towards or apathy for it.

    Now, you’re asking me to comb through potentially all Utah history of that period to find support for a claim I did not make. All I’ve been getting at is this: You have made an affirmation about pot use in Utah circa 191x based on ‘lack of evidence’ for the opposite claim. But pointing out the lack of evidence is a statement about our knowledge, not about the reality in 1915. To which you would probably repeat the assertion that Utahns record everything. a)Cite? b)do you sincerely believe that? Aren’t Utahns human? Don’t some of them, at times, lose faith, and do things against religious decree? What about lapsed Mormons – no Mormons secretly agnostic or atheistic?

    But you know that, I wasn’t particularly interested in early history of marijuana, but I shall see what I can dig up about Mormons and marijuana.

    Comment by daksya — January 11, 2009 @ 11:12 pm

  72. I’m sure we all welcome the presentation of your evidence, daksya. Then we’ll have something solid to weigh.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2009 @ 11:20 pm

  73. hey why dont you anser teh questions of dayska@71 you are a cowerd

    Comment by dober man — January 12, 2009 @ 6:19 am

  74. {sigh}

    The statement daksya is defending, minus the slew of incidental historical trivia, has four key elements:

    1. Mormons of the era brought marijuana from Mexico to the Mormon heartland of Utah

    2. Mormons in Utah used that marijuana

    3. Mormon leadership objected to marijuana use by Mormons

    4. Mormon objection to marijuana was the impetus for passing a law against marijuana in Utah

    You will notice that the common factor in each element is MORMON involvement. My contention — based on my experience with Mormon recordkeeping — is that if any of those elements had a basis in reality, some trace of it must appear in the records. (Should you be unaware of the state of Mormon recordkeeping, I will help you by stating that even when there was good reason NOT to make a record, or to destroy such records as were made, for certain episodes in the Mormon past, the records could not be successfully purged. [Ask me about John Tobin sometime. Or Mountain Meadows. Or the Aiken Party. Or Parrish-Potter.] How much more should we expect to find traces of an objection to marijuana when hiding that objection would be counterproductive to any desire to curtail marijuana use!)

    I simply (repeatedly) call for the presentation of some part of the evidence that justifies anyone’s making or repeating the claims of the disputed statement. After all, those making the claims are somewhat younger than the centenarians they would need to be to have any personal testimony of conditions in Utah in 1914, so they must have gotten their information from somewhere. Pete got his information from Charles Whitebread. daksya justifies the republication of Whitebread’s claims. I am asking, “on what grounds?”

    daksya says in 71, “But pointing out the lack of evidence is a statement about our knowledge, not about the reality in 1915.” I find it an interesting debate technique that the affirmative position of “the reality in 1915″ is now being argued on the basis of negative evidence.

    But perhaps I misunderstand. It will be much easier for me to evaluate when any evidence for the four key elements (or any one of them) is presented.

    Thank you for your participation, dober man. It says something for the calibre of the arguments when interested parties such as you stand up and give it your best shot.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 12, 2009 @ 6:47 am

  75. For the record, I will address daksya’s quote in total seriousness:

    “But pointing out the lack of evidence is a statement about our knowledge, not about the reality in 1915.”

    That is EXACTLY like saying:

    Lack of evidence about alien involvement in the Kennedy assassination is a statement about our knowledge, not about the reality of 1963.

    It is EASY to make any allegation you want to make when you aren’t bound by the restrictions of evidence.

    Comment by Ray — January 12, 2009 @ 8:28 am

  76. For the last time, I did not make and do not affirm the claim by Whitebread. I pointed out that your contrary position is itself an affirmation without positive evidence other than your faith in the “omniscient-esque” recordkeeping of the era. My objection even disregards the orthogonal & practical matter of you probably not having access to all documents of the era.

    Comment by daksya — January 12, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  77. I think I’m becoming glad that you’re commenting “for the last time” — can I hold you to that? Other than your initial remark that you were making the author of the Salon.com article aware of this discussion, I haven’t in the slightest understood your interest or what point you thought you were making.

    Bye-bye.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — January 12, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  78. I guess we got to nearly 80 comments without too many “throw aways.” The debate has been very interesting and fun to follow. I think this shows the importance of basing assertions on solid evidance. Now if I could just convince my students to do the same.

    Comment by Steve C. — January 12, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  79. “anser teh question…cowerd”

    Ardis, your blog is so cool, even LOLcats comment here.

    Comment by Matt W. — January 12, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  80. #79 – Niblet nomination, anyone?

    Comment by Ray — January 12, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  81. […] her fast and (as usual) outstanding research work. Those of you who are familiar with her work on the Great Mormon Marijuana Myth know just what historical investigation skills she can bring to bear. That […]

    Pingback by Adventures in Mormonism » Blog Archive » New approaches to modern music: “Stairway to where?“ — January 28, 2009 @ 8:20 am

  82. […] and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.) Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), […]

    Pingback by the real reson pot was made illegal read it all - Grasscity.com Forums — January 29, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  83. Y’all would hardly believe how fast the links are coming (mostly without pingbacks) because the pro-marijuana folk are cutting and pasting from the edited salon.com posting. It’s no wonder that the myth appears in so many places, given how these sitemakers feed on each other rather than researching and writing anything new themselves. At least now this discussion with the legitimate background is out there, on the off chance that any puffer dares to buck the trend and tell the truth.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 31, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

  84. That’s hilarious, Ardis. Journalistic investigation at its finest.

    Comment by Ray — February 1, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  85. […] and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.) Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), […]

    Pingback by One of the best articles I've read in awhile "Why is Marijana Illegal?" - Grasscity.com Forums — February 2, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

  86. … “the real reson” … “marijana” …

    A common theme in pro-pot blogs is emerging here!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 2, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  87. Full disclosure: I smoke marijuana.

    Thank you for this article, I’d heard the argument that Mormons made marijuana illegal before but it always struck me as absurd for one reason: Mormons have been marginalized enough in this country that it seems unlikely the whole country would choose to follow their lead on marijuana prohibition.

    I always thought this argument was a distraction from the actual reason marijuana is illegal, ignorance. It is the only drug I know of which the anti-drug propaganda describes entirely inaccurately.

    I will probably continue reading this blog; I don’t know much about Mormons and I’m always looking to learn something new.

    Comment by Ashraf — February 2, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  88. Ashraf, you’re welcome to read here, of course, and to ask questions when anything is confusing. Most of Keepa’s readers are practicing Mormons, and we take a lot of shortcuts in discussing things that are so familiar to us.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 2, 2009 @ 5:22 pm

  89. Three more pro-marijuana blogs picked up a link to this post this week by lifting (mostly without attribution) the revised salon.com posting.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 7, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

  90. Classic. Absolutely classic.

    Comment by Ray — February 7, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

  91. And the blogs have such delightful names, too, Ray: “Black to Nature: Adventures of an Urban Raw Foodist,” “War on YOU,” and “Freedom of Medicine and Diet.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 7, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  92. […] However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church’s reaction to this may have contributed to the state’s marijuana law. (Note: the source for this speculation is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a paper for the Virginia Law Review, and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.) […]

    Pingback by background of marijuana - all about marijuana — April 1, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

  93. and the beat goes on. This is amazing, Ardis – or did you post this as an April Fool’s comment?

    Comment by Ray — April 1, 2009 @ 10:50 pm

  94. No, I usually delete such pingbacks but this one came in after I’d turned off the computer. The wording of this one is a little different from past plagiarisms — “may have contributed” and “speculation” is a lot softer and hedgier than the bald assertions of the past. Will have to check to see if salon.com has softened its charges, or whether “all about” recognized a level of baloney that it couldn’t quite ignore.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 2, 2009 @ 6:01 am

  95. Good news! It’s Pete Guither at salon.com, whose article is so constantly plagiarized by the rest of the pro-pot lobby, who has refined his original post to downgrade the assertions of that nutter Charles Whitebread from “fact” to speculation. I really have to give Pete credit for his willingness to reconsider, however gradually.

    Now if he could just tiptoe around the Internet and clean up all the sites for which he is the unwitting godfather …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 2, 2009 @ 6:10 am

  96. phx: Try again when the chemicals wear off. Read the comment policy (“About” in the sideblog) first.

    4.are you guys really that pathetic as to think that utah was the first state to pass anti-marijuana laws, in some sort of sad, sad effort to attempt to gain “street cred”, or popularity, as you hillbilly’s might describe it?

    It ain’t us rednecks who are claiming that, Bub; it’s you potheads. Your readin’ was a bit shallow, waren’t it?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 3, 2009 @ 5:15 am

  97. Really, phx? “Smartassery”? We don’t use language like that on Keepa.

    Our preferred terminology is “assholiness.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 3, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

  98. Woo-hoo, Ardis! Such polite, good-mannerly visitors to your blog!

    Comment by Researcher — April 3, 2009 @ 2:02 pm

  99. “Assholiness” is my new favorite word.

    Thanks for the biggest chuckle of the day, Ardis.

    [still laughing]

    Comment by Hunter — April 3, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  100. I’m turning into some weird fusion of Steve Evans and DKL.

    And who could have guessed that *this* would be the first Comment #100 on Keepa?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 3, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

  101. I personally am leaning towards the legalization of marijuana/cannabis. A huge debate over whether the we should legalize pot is raging in states all over the world. Many people think pot should be legalized. There are many pros for legalizing pot, and many cons against legal pot as well. An interesting site I have found on this subject is [edited]

    [You’re welcome to leave a courteous opinion here, but you may not use Keepa as a platform to advertise a site that advocates behavior contrary to LDS teaching. – AEP]

    Comment by oprinat — April 8, 2009 @ 5:55 am

  102. […] However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church’s reaction to this may have contributed to the state’s marijuana law. (Note: the source for this speculation is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a paper for the Virginia Law Review, and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.) […]

    Pingback by Blue Sky Sunshine » Schwarzenegger welcomes debate over legalizing pot — May 5, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

  103. […] However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church’s reaction to this may have contributed to the state’s marijuana law. (Note: the source for this speculation is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a paper for the Virginia Law Review, and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.) […]

    Pingback by The History of Marijuana — June 26, 2009 @ 9:52 pm

  104. […] and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.) Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), […]

    [edited: link to pro-pot blog deleted]

    Pingback by Pot Law News Thread - Page 93 - MassCops - Massachusetts Law Enforcement Network — September 11, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

  105. I suppose this post with its continued popularity is responsible for the “Hempy Holidays” email just received in the Keepa mail box:

    substitutedfakesitename.com Wholesale Headshop – Pipes, Bongs, Bubblers, Grinders, all the smoking tools you need!

    December 17th, 2009: Shipping has been cut in half!

    Only 2 weeks left to use promo code “substitutedfakesitenamedeal” and save 20% on your order! (ends Dec. 31st)

    Check out our popular new Cobalt Blue glass by entering “cobalt” in the search bar at http://store.substitutedfakesitename.com

    Get Glass Peanuts for 2 bucks each in bundles of 7 and Inside-out Peanuts for 5 bucks each in bundles of 7 using the “substitutedfakesitenamedeal” promo code (ends Dec. 31st)

    I don’t even know what any of that stuff means!! Cobalt-blue inside-out glass peanuts?? Uh, okay.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 18, 2009 @ 2:25 am

  106. Ardis,
    Just typed in that website and it isn’t selling marijuana paraphenalia, it’s a sex site. I wanted to know what cobalt blue, inside out glass peanuts were also. I envisioned that they were some kind of “munchie” for potheads. Perhaps when they are in the midst of their “high” opening a peanut shell becomes too hard a task and the cobalt blue dazzles them. As to the glass, well, I was hoping that referred to the clear colored hard candy that can be made at home. (Remember the “broken stained glass” candy of 30 to 40 years ago?) Anyway, Sister A., best remove that site address poco pronto.

    [I had replaced the actual address that was part of the email with nonsense letters, Velikye — you don’t think I’d advertise a link to an actual pot site, do you? :) — but didn’t realize that my made-up site was a real address! Thanks, and I’ll edit that name again, hopefully to something that really doesn’t exist. — AEP]

    Comment by Velikiye Kniaz — December 18, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  107. Yeah, Ardis. Sure, you’re not advertising pot paraphenalia I’ve heard that one before. :-)

    Comment by Steve C. — December 18, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  108. in the first paragraph it reads in part “Keepapitchininny bfwebster spotted this paragraph in a 2003 Salon post:”

    “However, the first [US] state law outlawing marijuana did so not because of Mexicans using the drug. Oddly enough, it was because of Mormons using it”.

    I actually read that article first. thats NOT WHAT IT SAID. IT SAID:

    “However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana MAY have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it.

    if you cant even get it right your wrong! thats how gossip goes around. one person changes the truth to make it sound better or worse that the actual facts… in an effort to make themselves the good guy. I am assuming your a mormon, irregardless, its sinful to gossip. so repent and move on

    Comment by Carol Taylor — March 18, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

  109. If you had taken the time to scan through the comments, Carol, you might have picked up on the fact that Pete Guither, the author of the Salon piece, took part in our conversation. He made several changes in his Salon article as a result of this Keepa post, correcting several errors, softening a few others, and doing me the courtesy of acknowledging that I disputed his version; he even linked to this Keepa post in a gentlemanly acknowledgment of my challenges to his theories.

    So the Salon piece you read today does not read as it did a year ago. I quoted it accurately then. It has changed in the meantime. Your understanding, not my scholarship, is faulty.

    Your apology — you do intend to offer one, don’t you? — will be cheerfully accepted.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — March 18, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

  110. 1.To Carol Taylor, Irregardless isn’t a word. :)
    2.They are to be called Latter Day Saints, not “mormons” as is the common usage.
    3.This Blog is obviously DOA, but i had fun reading it, thanks :)

    Comment by Joe Shmo — September 14, 2010 @ 1:56 am

  111. As the author of “Forgotten Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California,” I read with interest your story on the “Mormon Marijuana Myth.” Your conclusions are largely the same as mine: the first cannabis laws were mainly the work of progressive-era pharmacy reformers, not anti-Mexican sentiment or religious bigotry.
    You are incorrect to state that I attributed “California’s law to anti-Indian, anti-Mexican immigrant prejudice.” In fact, I deliberately avoided making that conclusion. My basic thesis has always been that government pharmacy regulators are primarily to blame, as I state in the conclusion of my article: http://www.canorml.org/background/caloriginsmjproh.pdf
    By the way, my article also documents the fact that the Utah pharmacy board sought to copy California’s anti-cannabis law in devising its first anti-cannabis act in 1915.
    As in Utah, there is no evidence of any public concern about marijuana in California when the pharmacy board first moved to outlaw it (indeed, the law doesn’t even mention “marijuana” but rather Indian hemp). The law was purely an act of bureaucratic self-assertion by the newly rising class of pharmacy regulators.
    Hence it has always been my contention that the marijuana laws are a crime-creation program designed to make jobs for drug cops and bureaucrats (and incidentally drug dealers), who to this day remain the laws’ staunchest supporters.

    Comment by Dale Gieringer — September 21, 2011 @ 3:24 pm

  112. Given Dale Gieringer’s connection to this post and topic, his comment is posted. This is not an invitation for other commenters to argue for the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana. Keepa’s comment policy still applies.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — September 21, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  113. Clifford, I don’t care who you are. Your comments violate Keepa’s posted comment policy and will not be posted.

    There is no claim anywhere in my post that Whitebread’s speech or book “ridiculed Mormonism,” only that everything he wrote regarding Mormons and Mormon history was wrong. What he wrote *was* wrong. What YOU write is wrong. This is a history blog, and if you can’t get your historical facts right, you can expect to be called on it.

    Go away.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 8, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

  114. Ha! The post that Keeps on Keepin’ on! 113 comments – wow!

    Comment by David Y. — May 8, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

  115. Loved the piece.

    I’ve been conducting my own search on the history of marijuana in the U.S.

    It’s a given that the legalization crowd will falsify data about its real dangers.

    What I find interesting though, is the large amount of historical inaccuracies.

    Not to be too sarcastic, but it’s probably due to smoking weed.

    George

    Comment by George F. Spicka — July 13, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

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