When Brooklyn Was a Marijuana Town
Category: Culture | Posted on Wed, March, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
In the summer of 1951, the Department of Sanitation uprooted and destroyed more than 17,000 pounds of marijuana growing in Brooklyn lots. At the time, the entire city was a "marijuana jungle," Ben Gocker wrote on the Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklynology blog in January, with plants as tall as Christmas trees sprouting from the borough's "marijuana plantations," amounting to millions of dollars worth of the drug. Brooklyn had the city's second largest haul, just slightly behind Queens.
The plants tended to grow in "anonymous vacant lots": on Avenue X; near the 3 train's present-day New Lots terminus (at the corner of Livonia and Warwick); and at 82 Butler Street in Cobble Hill, where more than 100 pounds of pot were discovered in 1953. Plants grew on the banks of the Newtown Creek in "lush impudence," according to a historic Brooklyn Eagle article quoted by the Carroll Gardens Patch. Confiscated crops were taken to Woodside, where they were incinerated.
Patch also dug up a 1951 New Yorker article, in which a reporter travels with the chief sanitation inspector on a sweep of Brooklyn:
“We can’t hope to wipe it out entirely,” Gleason told the magazine’s reporter. “A lot of it is planted, but the weed grows freely here, and most of the marijuana in the city is probably in the back yards of people who don’t know what it is, and therefore don’t report it. Each plant bears clusters of seeds that are blown away by the wind and sprout elsewhere.”
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