‹‹‹ prev (296) Plate [16]Plate [16]

(298) next ››› Page 264Page 264

(297) Page 263 -



view. In the second case (No. 80), Mr. Sinclair seems to be doubly mistaken.
In the first place, the Magistrate acquitted the accused because it was not
proved that he had committed the acts constituting the alleged offence, and,
in the second place, the man's insanity was attributed to other causes than ganja.

The last case (No. 81) was given by Colonel Humfrey, Inspector-General of
Police, Bombay. Colonel Humfrey was engaged in the arrest of the sepoy in
this case; yet his recollection of the facts was not quite accurate, and led him
to make the connection between the crime and bhang closer than it really was.
He did not, however, actually attribute the crime to the drug. The judgment
of the High Court is very clear, and shows that the murderous use of his rifle by
this sepoy was deliberately planned, was due to revengeful feelings against the
policeman, and was not due to the influence of bhang.

Results of the examination of
these cases.

551. Of these twenty-three cases then, the records in not less than eighteen
show that the crimes cannot be connected with
hemp drugs. There is one case on which doubt
is thrown by subsequent discoveries. The connection between hemp drugs
and crime is only established in the remaining four. It is astonishing to find
how defective and misleading are the recollections which many witnesses retain
even of cases with which they have had special opportunities of being well
acquainted. It is instructive to see how preconceived notions based on rumour
and tradition tend to preserve the impression of certain particulars, while the
impressions of far more important features of the case are completely forgotten.
In some cases these preconceived notions seem to prevail to distort the incident
altogether and to create a picture in the mind of the witness quite different
from the recorded facts. Some of the witnesses whose memories have thus failed
them are men who might have been expected to be careful and accurate.
Their failure must tend to increase the distrust with which similar evidence,
which there has been no opportunity of testing, must be received.

Summary of conclusions regard-
ing effects.

552. The Commission have now examined all the evidence before them
regarding the effects attributed to hemp drugs. It will
be well to summarize briefly the conclusions to which
they come. It has been clearly established that the occasional use of hemp
in moderate doses may be beneficial; but this use may be regarded as medicinal
in character. It is rather to the popular and common use of the drugs that the
Commission will now confine their attention. It is convenient to consider the
effects separately as affecting the physical, mental, or moral nature. In regard to
the physical effects, the Commission have come to the conclusion that the moderate
use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all. There may be
exceptional cases in which, owing to idiosyncracies of constitution, the drugs in
even moderate use may be injurious. There is probably nothing the use of which
may not possibly be injurious in cases of exceptional intolerance. There are also
many cases where in tracts with a specially malarious climate, or in circumstances
of hard work and exposure, the people attribute beneficial effects to the habitual
moderate use of these drugs; and there is evidence to show that the popular
impression may have some basis in fact. Speaking generally, the Commission
are of opinion that the moderate use of hemp drugs appears to cause no
appreciable physical injury of any kind. The excessive use does cause injury.
As in the case of other intoxicants, excessive use tends to weaken the constitu-
tion and to render the consumer more susceptible to disease. In respect to the
particular diseases which according to a considerable number of witnesses

Images and transcriptions on this page, including medium image downloads, may be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence unless otherwise stated. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence