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Yesterday in La Crosse

A war on marijuana, 81 years ago

Brad Williams



The state of Wisconsin was declaring war against pot in 1938. Attorney General Orland Loomis warned that the ‘marijuana evil’ was not yet a major problem in the Badger State, but Loomis wanted prompt action, to prevent the weed from becoming a ‘serious menace.’

Some local athletes apparently were paid to play football in ’38. Players from Central High School and the teachers’ college competed in what was billed as a ‘professional football game’ in La Crosse that fall.

Several Lutheran churches in the area were planning their lutefisk dinners for the fall. If you preferred meat to the Norwegian-style fish, the Buehler Brothers market was selling hamburger for 12-and-a-half cents a pound. Slightly cheaper was bologna with cereal added for 12 cents. And one newspaper ad said ‘What’s new for breakfast? Spam and eggs’…in 1938, yesterday in La Crosse.