One hundred years ago this week, the first "marahuana bust" was made in Los Angeles' Sonoratown neighborhood. The L.A. Times covered the raid, claiming that cannabis led to "murder, suicide and disaster."
One hundred years later, prohibition is still in effect in California but just about nobody believes the propaganda prohibition on display in this article and the movement to end prohibition is stronger than ever.
America’s First Marihuana Bust
Stuff of which a million dreams might be made was confiscated yes-terday by Inspector Roy Jones of the State Board of Pharmacy. A wagon- load of Indian hemp—called hashish in the Orient and marahuana here— worth $500, was cut down in two “dream gardens” in New High street and now is wasting its incense on the dank air of the police storage cellar.
Indian hemp is a plant having potent narcotic properties and was blacklisted under the poison law passed by the last Legislature. Sur-rounding it are sinister legends of murder, suicide and disaster. The toxic effect of the plant’s use some-times induces mental exileration but at other times incides to murder. Etymologists say the word “assassin” is derived from this phase of the drug’s effect. Locally, the slaying of three persons at No. 625 San Fer-nando street by Juan Soto is credited by the police to addiction to “mara-huana.”
Marahuana grows on stalks as tall as six feet. Its leaves and blossoms are dried and smoked in cigarettes and pipes, often being adulterated with tobacco. According to Inspector Jones and Detectives Leon and Rico, well acquainted with Sonoratown life, the weed is much used in the local Mexican colony. In out-of-the-way nooks and corners small plants are nursed and often provide the bare livelihood of the cultivators.
One place from which the plant was cut down yesterday was the backyard of the home of the aunt of Joe Rivers, the pugilist. She is Mrs. Marie Ybona, No. 725 New High street. She said the stalks served only ornamental purposes.
At No. 718 New High street the of- ficers not only cut down two dozen stalks but found a quantity of the leaves dried, apparently for commer- cial purposes. Retailers of the mara- huana obtain as high as $1 an ounce, according to Mr. Jones.
“One cigarette of the stuff general-ly puts one in a dreamy state of beauti-tude” says Inspector Jones, “but sometimes it also induces hallucina- ions. The smoker generally loses the sense of time. While the drug may be bad for the head, it is good for the feet. Cannabis Indica is an extract and is the base of most corn medicines. I am not sure that the plant which grows in this country is identical with that grown in India, but they are both known as Indian hemp and the drug obtained from them has almost the same properties.”
Source: California NORML