• October 22, 2019

1968: Young people predict marijuana legalization ... eventually - Ocean City Sentinel: News

1968: Young people predict marijuana legalization ... eventually

They say pot and other drugs prevalent in resort; harm of drug debated

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Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2019 4:06 pm

OCEAN CITY – Marijuana. Cannabis. Pot. Though the state legislature halted its march towards legalization, it still remains an issue of contention in the Garden State.

During the 1960s, before medical marijuana dispensaries and grassroots (sorry) movement toward legalization, cannabis was viewed with suspicion, a drug the counter culture embraced and the establishment reviled.

Ocean City tried combatting the spread of marijuana with law enforcement, medical experts and public relations. 

The Ocean City Sentinel reported about marijuana in its Sept. 5, 1968 issue.

Reporter Edward Gore wrote about young people predicting weed’s eventual legalization. 

“Ocean City, though the town was headquarters for thousands of young people of high school and college age this season, got through the entire summer without one arrest for possession or use of marijuana, LSD or so-called prescription drugs such as methedrine or Dexedrine,” the paper reported. “In previous seasons city detectives have engaged in lengthy and sometimes successful investigations which led them to marijuana users, buyers, and most important, sellers.”

The paper reported that young people insisted marijuana was “plentiful” in Ocean City as a “less popular brand of cigarettes” and just as easy to purchase. 

“In the latter part of August there was actually a ‘price war’ which cut the cost of LSD in half so that a ‘trip’ via the dangerous narcotic was reduced from $5 to $2.50,” according to the paper. “Methedrine, known to illicit users as ‘speed’, has been easy to obtain from teenage peddlers, they say. The peddlers, ‘pushers’ in the argot of the narcotics world, are surprisingly young. Several, obviously, were no more than 16. Most of their customers have been other teenagers, many of them from high schools in the Philadelphia suburbs. Few seemed to have acquired the marijuana habit here. They brought the habit with them when they came.”

According to the story, the most popular type of marijuana, “hash,” short for hashish, was available for $5 or $10 in nickel or dime bags, respectively. 

“Most of the supply this summer was imported here from New York City and the kids claim its original source is the Mafia,” the paper reported. “One youngster brought a suitcase full of ‘pot’ from New York City and sold some of it to local wholesalers. The transaction was completed early one evening at a pavilion on the boardwalk. The boy with the suitcase went on to Avalon, Stone Harbor and Wildwood. When he was through his rounds, the suitcase was empty, but his pocket was full of greenbacks.”

The paper noted that drug traffic was concentrated close to the Public Safety building. 

“It went on uninterrupted, though youngsters said two or three ‘hippie’ types were really informers. To whom they gave their information the kids said they didn’t know,” according to the paper.

Police visited private apartments and warned those in them to quiet down or turn off record players, but police left without “detecting the acrid odor of burning marijuana,” the paper reported. 

“The philosophy among the youthful users seems to be that in a few years the use of marijuana will be legal. Meanwhile, if one gets caught his reputation suffers and he may be penalized by school authorities,” according to the paper. 

The Ocean City Sentinel-Ledger reported a national story on the dangers of cannabis on Nov. 6, 1969. 

Noted anthropologist Margaret Mead told a Senate committee in Washington that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, should be legalized, and 16 should be the minimum age for its use. 

“John Brooks, a rehabilitated drug user and manager of Narcotics Addicts Rehabilitation Center Organization of Atlantic City, told members of the Exchange Club here Monday night that despite all of the qualifications made by Dr. Mead and other self-styled experts on the use of drugs, ‘pot is dangerous.’” the paper reported.

Brooks said that marijuana is “probably not harmful to the physical well-being of the users, but it certainly is dangerous to his psychological well-being.”

“The ‘pot’ smoker builds up a tolerance in his body for the drug and soon the smoker loses the sensation that pot brings,” the paper reported. “Then the user looks for ‘bigger kicks’ and that is where the danger in pot lays, The pot smoker is a prime potential for such opiates as heroin and morphine and the latest of the sensation drugs, LSD.”

“This is what makes pot dangerous,” Brooks said.

Brooks, along with other NARCO staff members, conducted a program for Ocean City High School students. 

The paper reported Brooks once surrendered himself to the state mental hospital at Ancora for treatment. 

After four days of psychoanalysis and a number of tests, he was deemed a “drug addict.”

“Hell, I told them that when I walked into the place,” Brooks said.

“Brooks said that parents can do much to save their children from the pot scene. He said that children do not understand the double-standards by which their parents live … condemning youth while participating in the evils of the adult world,” the paper reported. 

Brooks said a former addict can get through to a user with NARCO easier than a psychologist. 

“Addicts are inveterate liars. They know they can lie to the doctors and maybe get away with it,” Brooks said. “But they also know they can’t lie to a former addict, because we have been every place they have been.”

According to the paper, NARCO operated without the help of state and federal funds. 

“The group was at first affiliated with a state-wide agency, but broke away when they determined that the red-tape was interfering with the rehabilitation program,” the paper reported. 

Brooks told the paper the rehabilitation rate with NARCO was about 4 percent. 

“No matter what the experts say, even the minor drugs are dangerous,” Brooks said. “We cannot lay off in our fight to suppress it.”



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