Is it marijuana or alfalfa?

Peter Hlookoff had an unusual strategy to avoid being convicted for possession of marijuana — he always carried a container of alfalfa with him.

His reasoning was that alfalfa and marijuana smell similar (so he claimed). So if the police ever arrested him for possession of marijuana he could claim that it was actually alfalfa they had smelled (or seen him smoking).

This strategy was put to the test in Dec 1967 when the police raided his apartment and arrested him for smoking pot. During the subsequent court case his defense led to the magistrate arranging for a court employee to smoke marijuana so that its smell could be compared to alfalfa.

Victoria Times Colonist - May 10, 1968

Unfortunately the courtroom experiment was cancelled before it took place, and the magistrate ended up finding Hlookoff guilty. He didn't buy Hlookoff's follow-up argument that if, perhaps, it had been marijuana he was smoking then someone must have (without his knowledge) put marijuana in his alfalfa container.

The Vancouver Province - July 3, 1968

Hlookoff's roommate, Marcel Horne (a professional firebreather whose stage name was 'El Diablo'), later wrote an autobiography in which he revealed that, yeah, they were absolutely smoking pot when the police raided their apartment:

It was now December 12, 1967, Peter Hlookoff, who was now co-editor of the Georgia Straight, and I were up in my room around one o'clock in the morning. I was lying under a sun lamp to get a tan and was high on grass. Peter sat in the middle of the floor with a roach in one hand and enough dope for three cigarettes in a plastic tube on the floor beside him.

We were rapping away very stoned, when we heard someone coming up the stairs. The next thing we knew two cops in uniform walked into the room. Peter tried to drop the roach but the cop saw him. I was too stoned to think properly so I just lay there watching the nightmare. The cops put us up against the wall and frisked us. "Who does the marijuana belong to?" We both answered, "What marijuana?"

image source: Annals of the Firebreather (1973), by Marcel Horne

     Posted By: Alex - Wed Mar 27, 2024
     Category: Drugs | Smoking and Tobacco | Law | 1960s

If you were wondering why an underground newspaper in Vancouver is called The Georgia Straight, here’s what I found in Wikipedia:
“The proposed paper was christened the Georgia Straight over beer at the Cecil Hotel. The name aims to play on the fact that the weather forecasts will offer free publicity: they're always issuing gale warnings for the Georgia Strait.”
Posted by ges on 03/27/24 at 03:23 PM
Thanks, ges. I did wonder about that. Good sleuthing!
Posted by Alex on 03/27/24 at 09:53 PM

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