Martinez Gonzales apparently wasn't trying to hide his operation. This 1922 story from the Montrose Press via the Telluride Daily Journal says Gonzales was growing "Indian hemp or maraguana" out in his regular garden.
It also says that cops thought Gonzales was using his own supply, "and that explains his peculiar actions." But here's the best part (at least to us in a sativa-induced haze): They never say what those "peculiar actions" are. That's left up to the reader to imagine.
We figure the cops made this statement to insinuate something about the guy that wasn't true.
Hoping that when locals thought of him, it went something like this: "I always thought he was a bit strange by the way he parted his old-timey mustache while strolling about the town!"
Or, whatever it is that people did back during the 1920s in Montrose.
Maybe, just maybe, it was common knowledge that he usually did strange (at the time) things like laughing uncontrollably at others jokes, eating entire spreads of food in one sitting, getting really into the local band and philosophizing over funny-smelling cigarettes. More likely, his "oddness" translated to being Hispanic (even in richly Hispanic southwest Colorado) or simply growing the plant in his garden despite negative public opinion and persecution for doing so at that time. The clearly not Hispanic author talks about "Indian hemp" and how it is used in "Old Mexico" (a term we still need to bring back, btw) by the "natives."
The report writes that marijuana makes the user have "strange delusions and makes him act in a crazy manner," as if he was quoting an old medical journal on the subject instead of from any actual exposure or experience with cannabis or cannabis users. To eliminate any doubt about the dangers, he closes with: "It is stated that users of this drug smoke the powdered leaves and that it has an awful effect upon them."
Yeah buddy. Real awful.
Gonzales, meanwhile, was held for his mental sanity and cops chopped down all the plants before threatened to stamp out any more that popped up around town.
More from our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive: "1905: Mad scientist doctor will kill you with hash" and "1901: Stoner fisherman tells a whopper of a tale."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.