Eighty years ago today, on the day the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was enacted (Oct. 2, 1937) the FBI and Denver, Colo., police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed labourer and Moses Baca, 26. On October 5, 1937, Caldwell became famous as the first marijuana seller convicted under U.S. federal law. His customer, Baca, was found guilty of possession.
Judge Foster Symes, during sentencing, said, “I consider marijuana the worst of all narcotics, far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influence men become beasts. Marijuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed. The government is going to enforce this new law to the letter.”