OregonScape: Summer 2017

Issue 118:2

On September 17, 1931, the Oregonian reported that the Oregon State Police had arrested Paul Welter and Jose Flores for growing marijuana — also known as “Indian hemp” or “Mexican weed” — just west of Goble, Oregon. The plants were described as being “as tall as corn” and covered approximately 1.5 acres. Since no one on the police force had ever seen it growing, a sample plant was taken to a botanist in Portland before arrests were made.

Besides being immediately remanded to the Columbia County jail in St. Helens, it is not clear through newspaper reports what punishment, if any, was handed down to Flores and Welter. The majority of the marijuana, estimated to weigh approximately two tons, was burned. If harvested, Welter and Flores would have been able to sell their crop for $2 per pound, and it would have then “retailed in Portland to addicts” for $2.50 for a tobacco tin full, or $0.25 for a single cigarette. Corporal Vincent Bakotich, center in photo, was one of the two officers who discovered the illegal crop after receiving a tip.

— Matthew Cowan, OHS Moving Images and Photography Archivist