The New York City Marijuana Massacre

Key Points

  • Until the early 1950s, cannabis grew wild in New York City – primarily in Brooklyn
  • 10 ft tall plants were a common sight in Williamsburg and other east New York neighborhoods
  • New York Police did little to curb free-growing marijuana in the city, despite it being a banned substance since 1927
  • The city’s sanitation department established a rogue “White Wing Squad,” with the sole aim of eradicating cannabis from the streets
  • The White Wing Squad destroyed an estimated 20 tons of marijuana in the summer of 1951
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