In what was likely North America’s first cannabis raid, Los Angeles police descended upon two High Street “dream gardens” in September 1914. Police reported that the “weed is much used in the local Mexican colony” and began finding it “in out-of-the-way nooks and corners” where it would sell for up to $1 per ounce.
The “stuff of which a million dreams might be made” was seized from two backyards… Mrs. Marie Ybona said her “stalks served only ornamental purposes”, but at her neighbour’s home a few doors down, police found “a quantity of the leaves dried, apparently for commercial purposes.”
Inspector Roy Jones, of the State Board of Pharmacy, pointed out that cannabis wasn’t all bad. “Cannabis Indica is an extract and is the base of most corn medicines…. While the drug may be bad for the head, it is good for the feet.”
Wagonload of Dreams Seized
Officers Raid Indian Hemp Gardens of City
Los Angeles Daily Times, September 10, 1914
New Toxic Fumes, That Give Smokers Pleasant Sensations and Hallucinations but Sometimes Lead to Murder, Are Wasted on Unsympathetic Air of Police Storeroom
Stuff of which a million dreams might be made was confiscated yesterday by Inspector Roy Jones of the State Board of Pharmacy. A wagonload 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. Surrounding it are sinister legends of murder, suicide and disaster. The toxic effect of the plant’s use sometimes induces mental exhilaration but at other times incites 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 1/2 San Fernando street by Juan Soto is credited by the police to addiction to “marahuana”.
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 back yard of the home of the aunt of Joe Rivers, the pugilist. She is Mrs. Marie Ybona, No. 735 New High street. She said the stalks served only ornamental purposes.
At No. 718 New High street the officers not only cut down two dozen stalks but found a quantity of the leaves dried, apparently for commercial purposes. Retailers of the marahuana obtain as high as $1 an ounce, according to Mr. Jones.
“One cigarette of the stuff generally puts one in a dreamy state of beatitude” says Inspector Jones, “but sometimes it also induces hallucinations. 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 to that grown in India, but they are both known as Indian hemp and the drug obtained from them has almost the same properties.”