Ottawa RCMP had their first encounter with “Indian hemp” in 1932 when they seized a “large quantity” of the “deadly drug.” They boasted that they had “nipped in the bud the scheme of a syndicate to peddle the stuff.”
Large Quantity Of Indian Hemp Seized by Police
R.C.M.P. Detectives Arrest Two Men Charged With Possession – Produces Deadly Drug
Ottawa Evening Journal, May 2, 1932
Plans of a United States drug syndicate to open up a new market here for narcotics are believed to have been smashed at the start by the arrest Saturday night of Leo Matte, 18, and Romeo DeBlois, 22, who said they came from Windsor. They are charged with being in possession of a large quantity of Indian hemp, both in bulk and in the form of cigarettes.
In Police Court today they were remanded for one week at the request of Detective-Corporal Paul H. Miller, R.C.M.P. Bail was not asked.
Although the narcotic squad of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police acted within a couple of days after the men are thought to have arrived in Ottawa, Detective Paul H. Miller, who, with Constable George Scott, made the arrests, said he believed a fair amount of the drug had been distributed in and around the city.
Nipped in the Bud
“I think we have nipped in the bud the scheme of a syndicate to peddle the stuff in this district,” said Detective Miller. “This is our first experience with Indian hemp around here, although it is commonly used by drug addicts across the border.”
Detective Miller and Scott arrested Matte and DeBlois in an uptown rooming house where they are said to have been living for the past couple of days. The officers said they found a large quantity of Indian hemp, most of it in bulk and the rest rolled in cigarette form, apparently the way in which it was distributed.
Just how much the narcotic squad seized is not known, since it has not been weighed, but Detective Miller said the amount was considerable.
Drug pedlars have been scarce in Ottawa for many months, thanks to the close watch maintained by the R.C.M.P. upon all known to be connected in any way with the habit ,either user or distributor. Occasionally one or two opium smokers are rounded up, but consumers and sellers of drugs like heroin and morphine have been driven from the city.
Native of Asia
Although a native of Asia, around the Caspian Sea, “cannabis sativa,” or Indian hemp, is grown in several parts of Canada and the United States for use in manufacturing yarns for sail cloth, sacking and other coarse materials. Known since the 5th century B.C. for its medicinal properties, Indian hemp also has a sinister reputation for its mind-killing properties when improperly used.
When swallowed or smoked, Indian hemp at first produces sensations like those of opium, but gradually leads to general ill-health and insanity. Hashish, an Oriental preparation made from the plant, is widely used in the East as an exhilarant and intoxicant which in time brings insanity to the smoker.