Cannabis Time Capsule, 1948: Sheriff saves county from "marijuana binge"

We aren't exactly sure who the clandestine growers in this September 2, 1948 story about marijuana growing in a Routt County canyon were, but hippies and mountain towns go together like organic hummus on vegan bread. Like peanut butter and jelly sourced from local farms. Like marijuana and, well, hippies.

The story, written in pure-gold 1940s news slang, tells the tale of the "watchfullness [sic] of Sheriff William Macfarlane." If not for him, you see, the entire county could have "gone on a marijuana binge."

At some point earlier in the summer, sheriff's deputies somehow came upon a patch of ganja growing in a gulch hidden between potato plants. They decided to keep an eye on it to see if they couldn't bust the culprits.

But hippies, or at least their forefathers, are crafty, and in late August, the cops realized patches of the marijuana were missing. That's when the cops decided to tear up the plot of plants and put a stop to the "fun" with a "grand sweep of their own."

Just like today: Law enforcement always ruins the fun.

In total, the haul was estimated to weigh about 250 pounds after drying. The price on that in 1948? "$5,000 worth of bad dreams and trouble for the users."

Never mind the sensationalist, old-time scolding from the reporter. Think about that price for a second.

That's right: In the late 1940s, you could have bought $20 pounds of outdoor herb in northern Colorado. That's about $193 in today's dollars, or about as much as the average cost in Colorado for an ounce of retail marijuana.

Only the hippies of their day would be (basically) giving away marijuana for pennies on the dollar.

More from our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule: "1931: That $5,000 garden wasn't filled with veggies...." and "1904: Psychedelic hashish visions on the back of your eyes."

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.