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While not all students of governmental dis-information agree as to the importance of (what are obviously fictional) dime store novels as propaganda. And no doubt some would even argue that they played no role in the reefer madness campaign. But this author for one feels that they played a much greater role than is generally attributed to them.

However, we would be fooling ourselves if we thought the evil hand of the drug police was everywhere. Unlike magazine editors, no evidence exists of government coercion of any pulp fiction writers or their publishers. But as these covers show, none was needed, many a publisher was in it solely for the money. And soon they had writers jumping over each other to see who could write the most outrageous story lines. As for the true, it was boring and probably wouldn’t have sold anyway. Reefer Madness simply made for more fun and money. Where else could one get a story that read:

“A cheap and evil girl sets a hopped-up killer against a city.” – “Marihuana turns weak King Turner into a deadly weapon, a conscienceless killer with no more human feeling than a hooded cobra or a mad dog.”

For Pulp Fiction novels, the Reefer Madness era started around 1935 and lasted until the early 1960’s, at which point the naively long ago had stopped. This is why “Marijuana Girl” by DeMexico, (1969) despite its great byline, –“She traded her body for drugs and kicks,” is not included in this index. Let’s face it, by 1969, no one was that naïve, therefore the novel fell into the world of pure exploitation, and not Reefer Madness.

To simplify matters, maybe it would best to sub-categorize these Novels as two types, OVERT and OBTUSE.:

OVERT beign where both the Cover are as well as the plot of the story, both revolve around the weed of madness — Such novels as “Marihuana” by William Irish, with its sleazy (good girl art) cover and plot obviously falls into this category.

And OBTUSE, (the one in which by far most novels fall into) being the ones where marihuana itself has little to do with the novels plot, but when mentioned is always done so in the negative. [hypothetical example]

“Sleazed-bag Johnny, was slithering his way back down the dark streets toward his den of iniquity, when to his right he spotted, Jimmy-the-fink. Hey, he thought to himself, Jimmy always sells good medical marihuana cigarettes—–just what he needed before committing some heinous crime. “Hey, Jimmy, do you have some good smokes for me” he asked? etc.“”

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