I received the following thru email from “Uncle Mike”… Thought it was well worth passing on…. No “cannabis” law is a good “cannabis” law!
1937 Marihuana Tax Act – First Convictions — In A Nutshell
Uncle Mike 10/29/2019
Historically significant fact check list addressing common issues & problems with dates, people, places, charges and the chain of events surrounding America’s first federal marijuana convictions. This short 1-page report is based on the larger 190-page criminal case study book entitled:
U. S. District Court, Denver, Colorado Imposes First Federal Marihuana Law Penalties, Compilation of Publications, Interviews, Criminal Files and Photographs of Moses Baca & Samuel Caldwell, By Uncle Mike, Copyright Nov 12 2008, Feb 17 2010, May 5 2019.
The Marihuana Tax Act was approved August 2, 1937 and went into effect Friday, October 1st 1937.
Moses Baca, age 23, Mexican American born in Trinidad Colorado, was charged with violating the act on Monday the 4th.
Samuel R. Caldwell, age 57, white guy from Indiana, was charged with violating the act on Tuesday the 5th.
Federal grand jury indictments were issued on Thursday, October 7th, and both men were then brought before the court and sentenced on Friday, October 8th, 1937 after pleading guilty.
Leading the first federal court proceedings was Moses Baca, who received an 18-month sentence in Leavenworth Penitentiary for possessing ¼ ounce of marihuana. A search of his home was conducted at 2625 California Street, after a drunk & disturbance arrest, revealing one-fourth ounce of marijuana in his bureau drawer.
Following Baca’s possession case, Samuel R. Caldwell was sentenced. He received 4 years in the Leavenworth Penitentiary for selling 3 marihuana cigarettes to a man he met on the street named Claude Morgan and possessing 4 pounds of marihuana later found hidden in his Lothrop Hotel room at 1755 Lawrence. According to Caldwell’s friend, Alex Rahoutis, he had only been dealing a few months when he was busted by federal agents, and apparently didn’t smoke weed himself.
After their release:
Moses Baca, after his release on Dec 10, 1938, he returned to Denver, Colorado, but in 1940 he moved with his family to California. Moses ended up in Los Angeles General Hospital and died on March 19, 1948 of a ruptured pulmonary tuberculosis abscess that caused blood poisoning. The disease was most likely contracted in Denver as TB suffers commonly came to Colorado thinking the states dry air would help cure them.
Samuel Caldwell, after serving his sentence, was released on Nov. 5th, 1940. Approximately 8
months after his release Caldwell died in Denver, Colorado on June 24, 1941 of Primary Carcinoma of the Liver from excessive drinking.