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The following written foreword opens the film: "The motion picture you are about to witness May startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers. Marihuana is that drug-a violent narcotic-an unspeakable scourge-The Real Public Enemy Number One! It's first effect is sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter, then come dangerous hallucinations-space expands-time slows down-almost stands still...fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagance-followed by emotional disturbances, the total inability to direct thought-the loss of all power to resist physical conditions...leading finally to acts of shocking violence...ending often in incurable insanity. In picturing its soul destroying effects no attempt was made to equivocate. The scenes and incidents, while fictionalized for the purposes of this story, are based on actual research into the result of Marihuana addiction. If this stark reality will make you think, will make you aware that something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace, then the picture will not have failed in its purpose...Because the dread Marihuana May be reaching forth for your son or daughter...or yours...or YOURS." Although an unspecified copyright statement appears on the screen, the film is not listed in copyright records. In 1938 New York State censors rejected this film for exhibition. The film was re-released in 1939 as The Burning Question, and in 1947 as Reefer Madness. A modern source notes that Paul Franklin contributed additional dialogue. According to a modern interview with Thelma White in the Los Angeles Times, she earned approximately $2,500 per week from RKO for this film, which was produced in three weeks by a religious group. Although George A. Hirliman was associated with RKO, it has not been determined if RKO contributed to the production of this film.