Cannabis Time Capsule, 2014 1935: Pot Hater Claims Kids Are Consuming … – Westword (blog)


For this extra-scary edition of Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule, we bring you a story that is strangely similar to one we’re living right now: the fear that kids are sneaking pot edibles and getting intoxicated right under our noses!

Then, like now, the story was largely the product of a prohibitionist’s imagination. Namely, Denver’s Alva A. Swain, owner of the Eagle Valley Enterprise and author of this March 22, 1935 column.

See also: “Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Doctor’s Orders in Denver

Alva A. Swain.

Swain was a newspaperman (a title one could still actually hold back in the 1920s), and a prominent one at that. According to his biography in an old Colorado history book, Swain was a lunger who came out to Denver in an effort to save his own life. Once here, he became entrenched in society and eventually owned numerous papers around the state from which he could wield his influence. He was also apparently on a “secret advisory board” for every Colorado governor from 1900 until at least the 1920s, when the biography was penned.

He was also a raving teetotaler who hated booze and any other intoxicating substance, judging by his 1935 rant against the Colorado Liquor Control Board. It seems Swain was still sore from prohibition being recalled in 1932. Fun fact: Colorado was the first state to say to hell with prohibition. We were also the first to implement it, so it kind of balances out, I guess. (We were also among the first states to start the prohibition of cannabis and the first to end it by legalizing limited amounts in 2012, but you all know that by now.)

Back to our story: Swain was clearly very upset about what he saw as the moral breakdown of Denver …read more