Sunday, January 3, 2010

Marijuana, Jazz, Opium Addiction and Time Magazine

I was doing a little research not long ago and got into one of those link clicking zones. You know, when you find a link and read a bit, then see a link on that page that leads to something even more interesting, til eventually you see something really, *really* interesting.... this article from Time magazine dated July 19, 1943.

Music: The Weed

 So, what did Time magazine say of pot back then? Here are a few snippets that might prompt you to read the full article:

So, how did you score back in the forties?

In most U. S. cities the marijuana salesman peddles his cigarets to known clients in public places. He is known to his clients as a "pusher." His clients are known as "vipers." Etiquette between pushers and vipers is necessarily delicate. When he wants to buy, the viper sidles up to the pusher and inquires "Are ya stickin'?" or "Are ya layin' down the hustle?" If the answer is affirmative, the viper says, "Gimme an ace" (meaning one reefer), "a deuce" (meaning two), or "a deck" (meaning a large number). The viper may then quietly "blast the weed" (smoke). Two or three long puffs usually suffice after a while to produce a light jag. The smoker is then said to be "high" or "floating." When he has smoked a reefer down to a half-inch butt, he carefully conserves it in an empty match box. In this condition it is known, in Mexican, as a chicharra, or in English, as a "roach."

 ...and what of the dangers of being a pot head?

Because of its non-habit-forming character, doctors have recently been experimenting with the drug as an aid in curing opium addiction. In the world of hot jazz, marijuana's relatively benign effects are attested by long experience. Lushes often die young from cirrhosis of the liver or apoplexy, often spend their final days in delirium tremens. But vipers frequently live on to enjoy old age. In You Rascal You, a viper addresses an imaginary lush : "I'll be standing on the corner high when they bring your body by."

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