Saturday, November 05, 2005

Pot considered 'murder weed' in 1937

Rocky Mountain News: Election:

"On Oct. 2, 1937, in the somewhat shady Lexington Apartments at 1200 California St. in Denver, Samuel R. Caldwell became the first person in the United States to be arrested on a marijuana charge. Caldwell, a 58-year-old unemployed laborer moonlighting as a dealer, was nailed by the FBI and Denver police for peddling two marijuana cigarettes to one Moses Baca, 26.

If you're wondering why it took the U.S. government so long to bust a pot dealer, it's because until the Marijuana Stamp Act was passed - on you guessed it, Oct. 2, 1937 - cannabis wasn't illegal. Certainly, it had been vilified in newspapers with headlines such as 'Murder Weed Found Up and Down Coast: Deadly Marijuana Plant Ready for Harvest That Means Enslavement of California Children.'

Neither was it deemed as some benign recreational drug by the nation's law enforcement hierarchy.

Harry J. Anslinger, for example, commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was a vociferous foe of cannabis. In his book, Assassin of Youth, he labeled marijuana "dangerous as a coiled rattlesnake," and anguished, "How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can be only conjectured."

So great was the government's indignation over marijuana that it didn't seem to matter that, as McWilliams points out, "Marijuana is not even a narcotic."

And so, today, as proponents of Denver's Initiative 100 celebrate, it seems only fitting that they should perhaps pause, take a deep breath, and reflect upon the sad saga of Sam Caldwell." (more)

By James B. Meadow,
Rocky Mountain News

Assassin Youth - The Movie


Post a Comment

<< Home