Cannabis Time Capsule, 1910: 104-year-old marijuana scare tactics alive and well today

Categories: Marijuana

If all of this hysterical talk over the past week about marijuana being a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in Denver seemed familiar to you, dear cannabis historian, it's because it should be. This isn't the first time Colorado news outlets have latched onto the myth that cannabis causes violence.

For some perspective, we're offering up a classic Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule blog post that originally ran in 2013 detailing a 1910 article claiming cannabis brought on great violence and was the root of the word "assassin."

According to legend, hash-stoned mercenaries carried out murders for their blood-thirsty ruler in exchange for more ganja.

So is it true? Partly -- but it's not what you'd describe as "accurate."

Here's the vintage clip:

Oh, the horrors. Marijuana leads to people becoming hypnotized, desensitized murderers! Only that wasn't the case (just as it isn't the case today). As we wrote last May:
The real tale centers around al-Hassan ibn-al-Sabbah, leader of a Persian sect of Ismailians called the Nizaris. There are tales of him giving a hash drink to drug young soldiers he would then drag into his palace. When the soldiers awoke in splendor, Hassan would tell them that if they wanted to stay in paradise, they would have to kill for Hassan. This account has subsequently passed through several xenophobic filters of history, leading up to what we "know" today.

The problem with this Western version of the story is that the primary source comes from a biased Marco Polo, who visited the area nearly 150 years after al-Hassan's reign. Caucasian historians were the ones who wrote the history the Western word has been taught and they haven't always been the kindest to other groups. As we understand it now, Hassan was a fundamentalist, and in addition to alcohol, he prohibited hash use among his Muslim followers. If the tale of the young soldiers being drugged is true, it was most likely with something much stronger than hash.

But based on the tale, the Arabic term "hashishiyya" (one who uses hash) became used for the Nizari. And around that, the legend grew until it became the false-history of today.

So while a sadly large number of people in this state continues to believe that marijuana caused a college student to violently run amok and fall to his death and that candy containing THC was responsible for a man killing his wife while on pain killers, keep in mind that we've seen this type of crap before.

For more cannabis history told through the pages of our state's old news reports, check out our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Bill Workman
Bill Workman

Maybe you should just go check your self in and skip the meds. They are obviously not working for you.

Kelly Mershon
Kelly Mershon

See another intelligent example of pot and giving trophys to loosers. We can be so proud!

Bill Workman
Bill Workman

The 80's called and they want you to take your Ritalin.

Kelly Mershon
Kelly Mershon

So what is his reason? Because people in history have done it? Really?????? That's all I get reading this. I think people think it was the marijuana cause that is what they were I ingesting before they did what they did. Think!!!! I know marijuana can make that hard too especially after watching the stoned couple at the yogurt store this weekend! Lmao!!!!!


A sufficiently stoned person will hardly get off the sofa, let alone "run amok." LoL


the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

Deaths by Alcohol and Tobacco: Millions
Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
Deaths by Guns: Millions
Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

love and freedom forever


DonkeyHotay topcommenter


DENVER - This week, two Denver deaths were linked to marijuana use, and while some details of the deaths have yet to emerge, they are the first ones on record to be associated with a once-illegal drug that Colorado voters legalized for recreational use, as of January 1, 2014.

One man jumped to his death after consuming a large amount of marijuana contained in a cookie, and in the other case, a man allegedly shot and killed his wife after eating marijuana candy.

Wyoming college student Levy Thamba Pongi, 19, jumped to his death at a Denver hotel on March 11 after eating more of a marijuana cookie than was recommended by a seller, police records show - a finding that comes amid increased concern about the strength of popular pot edibles after Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Pongi consumed more than one cookie purchased by a friend - even though a store clerk told the friend to cut each cookie into six pieces and to eat just one piece at a time, said the reports obtained Thursday.

Pongi began shaking, screaming and throwing things around a hotel room before he jumped over a fourth-floor railing into the hotel lobby March 11.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter


Marijuana linked to death of Colorado exchange student

An exchange student fell to his death after ingesting marijuana in Colorado - the first death linked to the drug since it was legalised in the US state.

Levy Thamba, 19, plummeted from the balcony of a Denver hotel on 11 March after eating a cannabis-laced cookie.

A post-mortem examination found marijuana intoxication was a factor in the Wyoming student's death.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter


Pot Mom sentenced to 10 years in Deaths of her 2 sons

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.—A Colorado woman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the deaths of her two young sons who overheated when they were left alone in an SUV with the motor running and the heater on while she got stoned nearby.

Heather Jensen was sentenced Friday in Mesa County District Court.

She was convicted Jan. 31 on two counts of fatal child abuse

fishingblues topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @fishingblues

Do you have a difficult time thinking in the abstract donk?  Ever hear of 'narrative license'?  Do you know what sarcasm means?  Are you dumber than a frozen turd?    

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault