Compiling a list of primary and secondary references mentioning Moses Baca or Samuel R. Caldwell that were not included in my book, largely because they contain misinformation or outright lies.

Additionally, since the United Press and Associated Press covered the trial and sent it over the wire, virtually any newspaper around the country could contain an article about their conviction on or after October 8, 1937. Typically newspapers shortened AP & UP stories to fit in a page, so additional details are possible with the discovery of a more complete article.

Please feel free to contribute:

FEDERAL COURT SENTENCES ARE GIVEN BY SYMES, Still Operator Gets Sentence; Marijuana Offenders Convicted of Selling Smokes, Denver, Oct 14. AP, from The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colorado, October 14, 1937, p.13.

LOCAL “RELIEFER” HELD FOR SELLING MARIHUANA, Police Call U.S. Agents, Mexican-Born Alien Admits Narcotic Work – Has Been making, Selling Loco Weed Cigarets for Year, Says Confession, from the Janesville Daily Gazette, Janesville Wisconsin, Feb 9, 1938 pp. 1 & 3. (A Caldwell references that does not pull its information from the October 8th Denver Post newspaper article, instead it references the Feb. 1 issue of the Federal Bureau of Investigation law enforcement bulletin, which Janesville police had on hand).

MARIHUANA, Our Newest Narcotic Menace, Division Of Narcotic Enforcement, State of California, by Paul E. Madden, Chief, 1939/40, pp 1-4?(page 4 reads zero “0″), Baca page 4. (This article is one of the few that does not mention Caldwell)

REEFER MADNESS, The History of Marijuana in America, by Larry Sloman, from Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1979, first edition, Baca-Caldwell pp.103-104.

COLORADO REEFER RACISM And The Advent of National Marijuana Prohibition, by Gregory Daurer, from NORML Colorado Press, 1992, Baca-Caldwell p. 3.

REEFER MADNESS, Part 5, by Eric Schlosser, from The Atlantic Monthly, Aug. 1994, pp. 45-49, 52, 54-56, 58-60, 62-63, Baca-Caldwell p. 45.

HEMP IN HISTORY, In Memory of Samuel Caldwell, by the Bambalacha Rambler, from Pikes Peak Hemp Coalition newspaper, Fall 1994, Baca-Caldwell p. 5.

COLORADO REEFER RACISM And The Advent of National Marijuana Prohibition, by Gregory Daurer, from the Pikes Peak Hemp Coalition newspaper, October 1996, pp. 1, 3, 6, 12, Baca-Caldwell p. 1.

PEDDLER OF POT FIRST TO BE SENTENCED IN U.S.-IN 1937, by Mike McPhee, from Denver Post newspaper, Oct. 7, 1997, Baca-Caldwell p. 3B. see also CORRECTION from the Denver Post, Nov 18, 1997, p.2B,# 3. The correction attributed the information and photograph to Julian Alexander but did not mention the article is a butchered version of Julian’s original.

A CALL FOR AN END TO CANNABIS PROHIBITION, by Patrick L. Lilly, from The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Oct. 10, 1997, p. 6.

BALLOT INITIATIVE SEEKS TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA, by Greg Avery, from the Daily Times-Call, Nov.  2, 1997, pp. D1 & D2, Baca-Caldwell p. D1.

MENACE IN THE WEST, Colorado and the American Experience with Drugs 1873-1963, by Henry O. Whiteside, from the Colorado Historical Society, 1997, first edition, Baca-Caldwell p. 85.

HIGHLIGHTS, An Illustrated History of Cannabis, by Carol Sherman & Andrew Smith With Eric Tanner, Ten Speed Press, first edition 1999, Caldwell p. 70.

CANADA SLOW TO FACE REEFER MADNESS, by Mark Bourrie, from National Post (Canada), Jan. 11, 2003, p. B3, Baca-Caldwell p. B3.

THE FIRST POT POW, from NORML’s web site. This NORML article was created by simply copying the first half of a Canadian story entitled, “CANADA SLOW TO FACE REEFER MADNESS, by Mark Bourrie, from National Post (Canada), Jan. 11, 2003, p. B3, Baca-Caldwell p. B3. NORML has refused to make any changes to correct the misinformation contained within this article, although technically it wasn’t written by them. However, passing along the most accurate information possible is very important for political organisations like NORML, especially since a lot of activists copy and past NORML web pages onto their own web site, thus perpetuating the misinformation internationally.

REEFER MADNESS, Sex Drugs & Cheep Labor in the American Black Market, by Eric Schlosser, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004, first edition, Caldwell p. 20.

POT CONSIDERED ‘MURDER WEED’ IN 1937,by James B. Meadow, from Rocky Mountain News, Nov. 5, 2005, pp. 4A & 10A, Baca-Caldwell pp. 4A & 10A. Article appeared a couple days after Initiative 100 passed in the 2005 election.

SLANT: THE FIRST STONED, MARIJUANA WAS WRONG FROM THE BEGINNING, by Chris Goldstein, from Citypaper, Philadelphia, Oct. 11th, 2007, p. 5.

U.S. PENITENTIARY LEAVENWORTH, by Kenneth M. LaMaster, from Arcadia Publishing, first edition, 2008, Caldwell p. 43.

CANNABIS CRUSADERS, NORML Lawyers Descend On Aspen, by Andrew Travers, from Aspen News, pp. 1 & 3, June 8, 2008, Caldwell p. 1.

BUSTED, COMING SOON! The 20-Millionth Marijuana Arrest-10/10/08, from High Times magazine,Nov. 2008, p. 108. One of many NORML adds published in High Times during 2008.,r:6,s:196&biw=908&bih=589

MILESTONES IN THE HISTORY OF MARIJUANA, from The Ukiah Daily Journal, by Ukiah Daily Journal Staff, Ukiah Ca., Oct. 22, 2009, p 8A.

HIS NAME WAS SAMUEL R. CALDWELL,  from the THC EXPOSE MAGAZINE, written by Rob Hill (EDITOR-IN-CHIEF), illustrations by Danny O’Leary, Spring 2010, pp. 80-83.–I was contacted by Rob Hill on March 15, 2010 regarding a job writing an article on Samuel Caldwell for his THC Expose Magazine in Los Angeles, California. Unfortunately, Rob never contacted me again, choosing instead to use my research in the writing of his own story. The really shocking part was that he took credit for my work, without giving me any attribution whatsoever. However after seeing how he butchered my research and inserted all sorts of misinformation, further clouding marijuana history, I feel fortunate not to be associated in print with Rob Hill and the THC Expose Magazine.
GANGLAND: The Rise of the Mexican Drug Cartels from El Paso to Vancouver, by Jerry Laugton, 2011. Another author inaccurately telling the Baca-Caldwell story.
 ’YERBA Y MOTA’ NOW MEDICAL MARIJUANA, from La Voz Bilingue, Colorado’s #1 Hispanic-Owned Bilingual Publication, by Ernest Gurule, July 5, 2011, p 1. Surprisingly this publication wrongfully gave Caldwell, the white guy, credit for being the first federal marijuana POW.
SMOKE SIGNALS, A Social History of Marijuana, by Martin A. Lee, 2013. On page 55 of this book the author mentions the Baca-Caldwell case and gets everything wrong.
MARIJUANA PROHIBITION, Began Here With Long Lines and High Hopes, from Huffpost Politics, by Matt Ferner, Jan 23, 2014.
WEED the PEOPLE: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America, by Bruce Barcott, 2015. Another author who did not do his research.
CANNABIS: A History, by Martin Booth, 2015. On page 190 you will find the typical misinformation on the Baca-Caldwell case.
MARIHUANA TAX ACT OF 1937 RISES FRON THE DEAD, from the Boulder Weekly, by Laura Kriho, October 31, 2013. Article urging people to vote no on proposition AA  by Nov 5, 2013 (proposed %25 tax on recreational marijuana). Historically speaking, among other things this story states, “”Marihuana” was a perfect target: It  was used primarily by minorities who were feared by the public”….. A “very effective scare campaign to convince the public that “Mexicans and Negroes” were smoking a new drug called “marihuana” that was causing them to rape and murder white people.” Laura’s story goes on to state “Samuel Caldwell became Anslinger’s poster boy as the first prosecution under the new Marihuana Tax Act.”, but fails to mention he was used as a token white guy calling attention away from the actual first federal marihuana conviction of a Mexican American named Moses Baca.

MARIJUAN IN COLORADO HAS LONG HISTORY AND AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE, from the Denver Post, by John Ingold, Dec. 31, 2013. I had previously worked with  the Denver Post for several years straightening out all of their 1937 ’reefer madness’ stories, but they have reverted back to the same old misinformation regarding Caldwell and Baca. I have attempted to contact the Denver Post’s new marijuana editor, a Ricardo Baca, regarding the fact that his kin, Moses Baca, was actually the first person to be federally convicted for marijuana, but evidently he prefers to give the white guy Caldwell all the credit. Ashamed of his own?

MARIJUANA PROHIBITION BEGAN WITH AN ARREST IN DENVER, ENDS HERE WITH LONG LINES AND HIGH HOPES, from the Huffington Post, by Matt Ferner, Jan 6th, 2014. Another ignorant reporter inaccurately reporting the first marijuana convictions.


3 comments until now

  1. Gary M. Sharp

    I want to say thank you. I read what you worked to learn. Now my brain has an additional wrinkle itself.

  2. While browsing the internet for information on the first marijuana convictions I came across a web page by Antique Andy containing information on Moses Baca under the title; “MEDICAL CANNABIS AND THE PROBLEM WITH STATISTICS”. In part it states: “Does anyone know what he died of? What exactly is Massive toxemia? I don’t know and neither it seems does anyone else.” I was wondering if this lack of information is why you did not discus what happened to Baca and Caldwell, after there federal convictions, in your U.S. District Court book?


    In all honesty I probably should have concluded my coverage of there convictions by stating what happened to both men after there release, but unfortunately I did not. At the time I was primarily interested in counteracting all the misinformation surrounding their convictions. Surprisingly, historians have lied about virtually every detail regarding Baca and Caldwell, including how they died.

    MOSES BACA — Contrary to what Andrew Garret (AKA Antique Andy) has said about Moses Baca and cancer research statistics, none of it is true. While conducting my own research I actually approached a Doctor at a local university library and asked him to read Baca’s cause of death box from his certificate and explain what it says [183]. When I handed him Baca’s death certificate he immediately said, “Overwhelming Toxemia, Bilateral Focal Abscess, Pulmonary Tuberculosis”. The doctor than went on to say that Baca died of a Pulmonary TB abscess that popped creating toxemia (Blood poisoning). I provided the death certificate information to Andy last year in hopes he would correct his web page, but he chooses instead to provide researchers with misinformation and out right lies.

    Samuel R. Caldwell — The fabricated cause of death for Caldwell came from NORML’s Annual Lawyers Convention held in Aspen,Co. on June 8, 2008. Evidently, while Kieth Stroup and Allen St. Pierre were being interviewed by a local reporter it was stated that, among other things, “Samuel Caldwell died of stomach cancer in Leavenworth prison before he could complete the term”. In reality Caldwell died 6 month after his release from Leavenworth Penitentiary of “Primary Carcinoma of the Liver” [188] from his excessive drinking.

    Ironically, it was Allen St. Pierre that I first tipped off to all the historical inaccuracies surrounding the first federal marijuana convictions. Allen was the one who suggested I publish a criminal case study book on the convictions to straighten out marijuana history. After publishing and distributing my U. S. District Court book I told Allen, who stated the “‘‘bell has largely been rung’ on Caldwell being the first federal prisoner and NORML’s removing some copy from the organization’s webpage is not likely going to score that with history.” I still find it hard to believe that Allen was the one who suggested I publish a book and than refused to acknowledge my findings. I suspect that both Allen and NORML have embraced Caldwell as the first conviction in a vain attempt to save face.

    Uncle Mike

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