A Canadian Family

First Nations, French Canadians & Acadians

Marijuana Plants Found On Reserve (1938) Surnames: Brisebois, Jocks

Index: Newspaper Clippings & Other Extracts Related To Kahnawà:kenewspapers in a stack b


Note: As always, the information below is transcribed from a period newspaper – in this case from the late 1930s. Thomas Deer left an interesting note below –

“This incident described in this article was incited by faulty information. The plants were actually a variety of hemp indigenous to North America, which has no intoxicating properties. This variety of hemp still grows wild around Kahnawake.”




Caughnawaga Police at Work Eradicating Dangerous Weed



Was to Have Been Finished Now, But Much Remains – Dope  Is Most Feared of All Narcotics

Some 3,500 pounds of marijuana plants are being picked and burned every day under police supervision at Caughnawaga, according to information obtained during the past week form reservation officers. The leaves and seeds of the marijuana plant contain a drug police fear more than any other narcotic.

The eradication, which has been going on for three weeks, is being carried out under orders of the Department of Indian Affairs. Estimates as to when the reservation will be completely cleared of the plant range from a few days to many weeks. A survey yesterday showed many patches of marijuana, even in sections supposed to have been cleaned out, and it appeared unlikely that at the present rate of progress the job would be finished before the snow flies.

Marijuana, because it is so easy to grow and prepare, and because of its terrible effects when smoked is considered by police to be a greater menace than opium, cocaine or any other narcotic. In Caughnawaga, as in many sections of Montreal and throughout Canada as well as in the United States, it grows wild, resembling any other weed. On users, the weed has not only the usual ill effects of drugs, but often brings on insanity.

Chief J.K. Jocks, Indian police officer of the reservation, said as far as he could learn no one on the reserve was using the drug. Several people knew of its properties, however, from visits to United States cities where it is widely used.

According to Chief Jocks, three men working under his direction are clearing the reservation at the rate of five carloads a day. Each cartload means about 700 pounds of the weed, said the chief. Other information set the estimate of the amount cleared lower than this. An informant who has watched the work for some time said the wagon was making three trips a day, and estimated its peak capacity as much lower than 700 pounds.

The weed is taken to a pit on the outskirts of the reserve and burned under supervision, according to Chief Jocks, but a visit to the pit yesterday showed a smoking pile about two feet high and four feet in diameter without a guard anywhere in the vicinity.


The clean-up was supposed to have been finished yesterday. Chief Jocks and Francois Brisebois, Indian agent, said last week that there would be none left on the reserve by yesterday afternoon. Yesterday, however, Chief Jocks said the pulling of the weed had been suspended because of the wet weather. A quarter of a mile away from where the Chief made the statement, however, two men were loading the cart with the weed. They hurried it behind a house on the approach of a reporter and photographer.

The weed is being pulled upon private property and on vacant lots. The growth affects a wide area, although not in every lot.

Marijuana has been growing in Caughnawaga as long as residents can remember. It was not until this summer, however, that people on the reserve got to know what it was. It is general knowledge, now, that the weed is “dope”.

Chief Jocks yesterday said he had been called to a nearby farm to investigate a report some horses had died without an obvious reason. He believed it likely they had eaten the weed.


Source: The Montreal Gazette, September 29, 1938



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Index: Newspaper Clippings & Other Extracts Related To Kahnawà:ke

Core Index: First Peoples Genealogy & History


May 15, 2013 - Posted by | . | , , ,


  1. […] the cannabis industry was big back then too. A September 29, 1938 issue of the Montreal Gazette reported that Canadian police under the direction of Indian Affairs had been pulling up and burning […]


    Pingback by This Indigenous Community Might Be the Best Place to Sell Weed In Canada – Thinking Port | August 3, 2017 | Reply

  2. This incident described in this article was incited by faulty information. The plants were actually an variety of hemp indigenous to North America, which has no intoxicating properties. This variety of hemp still grows wild around Kahnawake.


    Comment by Thomas Deer | September 12, 2018 | Reply

    • Thank you, Thomas. I’ll add your clarification to the article.


      Comment by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault | September 12, 2018 | Reply

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