Marijuana – in the East they call it hashish – is giving North American narcotic squads plenty to worry about
HERE’s the latest message being whipped from narcotic headquarters at Ottawa to all Mounties on border patrol and to undercover men in a dozen large cities: “Look out for Mary Jane.”
What does it mean? Who is Mary Jane?
Mary Jane is plain English for marijuana, which has taken such heavy toll among youth in United states; and the message, backed by timely Dominion legislation, means that Canada is now prepared to fight this latest drug menace to a finish.
There are 8,000 dope addicts in Canada. In British Columbia, owing to the proximity of the Orient, opium is at the top of the narcotic list. Heroin has most buyers in Winnipeg. Montreal favors morphine and cocaine. Sixty per cent of Toronto addicts go for codeine, paregoric, or one of the newer drugs found in sleeping powders or headache pills.
Until recently marijuana was little known in Canada, but figures tell a story of alarming increase in its distribution during recent months. It is true that since 1932, when the first seizure was made, less than 1,000 cigarettes and only a small quantity of makings have been removed from illicit channels, and in 1936, when marijuana was achieving fantastic heights on the other side of the line, only one lone “reefer” was confiscated here in Canada; but since the beginning of 1938 more of them have been seized than during the rest of that whole six-year period.
In January, George De Bozy, of Plymouth, Michigan, crossed on the ferry from Detroit. He accompanied his girl friend. The couple got into his car, which had been parked near the ferry docks, and drove off, apparently innocent tourists out to explore Canada. But when Mounties overhauled the car on the main street of Windsor a few minutes later, they found twenty-five marijuana cigarettes under the dashboard, and the makings for 1,000 more in a cleverly concealed cache beneath the rear seat.
In February, Shorty Bryans, ex-member of the Red Ryan gang and many-term prisoner, shot and killed Norman Ford outside a Toronto police station. No motive could be found for the crime, but Bryans said that he was in the habit of smoking “reefers,” and claimed he was “on the muggles” at the time the shooting occurred.