On October 2, 1937, the US Federal government passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which put a prohibitive tax on production of the "drug menace." To grow Cannabis Sativa legally, a citizen of the United States would need to purchase a Special Tax Stamp. To obtain the tax stamp, citizens were required to possess Cannabis Sativa when trying to buy the stamp. However, because of the rules of the Marijuana Tax Act, anyone who possessed marijuana without the stamp was then arrested as a drug dealer. The Federal government refused to release these Special Tax Stamps, thus ensuring that anyone who grew this ancient crop would be deemed a criminal. This was the beginning of marijuana prohibition.
On October 2, 1937 the day that the Marijuana Tax Act was passed, federal agents arrested Mr. Samuel Caldwell, age 58, in Denver, CO, for selling two marijuana cigarettes.
Samuel Caldwell became the first American convicted under the new federal law. He was sentenced to 4 years in Leavenworth Penitentiary, and died a year after being released.
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