MARIJUANA HISTORICAL FACTS
For 3000 Years prior to 1842, marijuana and hashish extracts were the most widely-used medicines in the world. Prior to 1842, marijuana and hashish extracts were the most widely used medicines in the world.
Benjamin Franklin started one of America's first paper mills with cannabis, allowing a colonial press free from English control.
The U.S. Government distributed 400,000 pounds of cannabis seeds to American farmers in 1942 to aid the war effort.
Archaeologists agree that cannabis was among the first crops purposely cultivated by human beings at least over 6,000 years ago, and perhaps more than 12,000 years ago.
Hemp has been grown for at least the last 12,000 years for fiber (textiles and paper) and food. It has been effectively prohibited in the United States since the 1950s.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.
Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag from hemp.
The first report of marijuana as medicine was 2727 B.C. in China.
In the U.S.A. hemp was used as medicine began in 1840 with the introduction of stronger varieties of marijuana and was used for almost 100 years. Some 360,000 acres of marijuana was grown annually during World War II, the seed crop grown by the 4H kids in Kentucky.
Abraham Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, came from the richest hemp-growing family in Kentucky.
The Volstead Act of 1920, which raised the price of alcohol in the United States, positioned marijuana as an attractive alternative and led to an increase in use of the drug. "Tea pads," where a person could purchase marijuana for 25 cents or less, began appearing in cities across the United States, particularly as part of the black "hepster" jazz culture.
By 1930 it was reported that there were at least 500 of these "tea pads" in New York City alone. During the Great Depression as unemployment increased, resentment and fear of the Mexican immigrants became connected to marijuana use. Numerous research studies linked marijuana use by lower class communities with crime and violence. In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which criminalized the drug. From 1951 to 1956 stricter sentencing laws set mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses. In the 1950s the beatniks appropriated the use of marijuana from the black hepsters and the drug moved into middle-class white America in the 1960s.
Refusing to grow Hemp in America during the 17th and 18th Centuries was against the law! You could be jailed in Virginia for refusing to grow hemp from 1763 to 1769.
Jefferson smuggled hemp seeds from China to France then to America.
The War of 1812 was fought over hemp. Napoleon wanted to cut off Moscow's export to England.
The first crop grown in many states was hemp. 1850 was a peak year for Kentucky producing 40,000 tons. Hemp was the largest cash crop until the 20th Century; State Archives.
Oldest known records of hemp farming go back 5000 years in China, although hemp industrialization probably goes back to ancient Egypt.
Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Van Gogh as well as most early canvas paintings were principally painted on hemp linen.
In 1916, the U.S. Government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees need to be cut down. Government studies report that 1 acre of hemp equals 4.1 acres of trees. Plans were in the works to implement such programs; Department of Agriculture
Quality paints and varnishes were made from hemp seed oil until 1937. 58,000 tons of hemp seeds were used in America for paint products in 1935.; Sherman Williams Paint Co. testimony before Congress against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act.
*Henry Ford's first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp. On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, 'grown from the soil,' had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel; Popular Mechanics, 1941.
Hemp called 'Billion Dollar Crop.' It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars; Popular Mechanics, Feb., 1938.
Mechanical Engineering Magazine (Feb. 1938) published an article entitled 'The Most Profitable and Desirable Crop that Can be Grown.' It stated that if hemp was cultivated using 20th Century technology, it would be the single largest agricultural crop in the U.S. and the rest of the world. In the 1930s, innovations in farm machinery would have caused an industrial revolution when applied to hemp. This single resource could have created millions of new jobs generating thousands of quality products. Hemp, if not made illegal, would have brought America out of the Great Depression.
Benjamin Franklin started one of America's first paper mills with cannabis. This allowed America to have a free colonial press without having to beg or justify the need for paper and books from England.
Cannabis extract medicines were produced by Eli Lilly, Parke-Davis, Tildens, Brothers Smith (Smith Brothers), Squibb and many other American and European companies and apothecaries. During all that time there was not one reported death from cannabis extract medicines, and virtually no abuse or mental disorders reported, except for first-time or novice users occasionally becoming disoriented or overly introverted.
In early 1942, Japan cut off our supplies of vital hemp and course fibers. Marijuana, which had been outlawed in the United States as the "Assassin of Youth" just five years earlier, was suddenly safe enough for our government to ask the kids in the Kentucky 4-H clubs to grow the nation's 1943 seed supply. Each youth was urged to grow at least half an acre, but preferably two acres of hemp for seed.
Marijuana was America's number one analgesic for 60 years before the rediscovery of aspirin around 1900. From 1842 to 1900 cannabis made up half of all medicine sold, with virtually no fear of its high.
The 1839 report on the uses of cannabis by Dr. W.B. O'Shaugnessy, one of the most respected members of the Royal Academy of Sciences, was just as important to mid-19th Century Western medicine as the discoveries of antibiotics (like penicillin and Terramycin) were to mid-20th Century medicine.
From more than 1,000 years before the time of Christ until 1883 A.D., cannabis hemp - indeed, marijuana - was our planet's largest agricultural crop and most important industry, involving thousands of products and enterprises; producing the overall majority of Earth's fiber, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense and medicines. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food oil and protein for humans and animals.
Until 1883, from 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with cannabis hemp fiber including that for books, Bibles, maps, paper money, stocks and bonds, newspapers, etc. The Gutenberg Bible (in the 15th Century); Pantagruel and the Herb pantagruelion, Rabelais (16th Century); King James Bible (17th Century); the works of Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas; Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" (19th Century); and just about everything else was printed on hemp paper.
The first draft of the Declaration of Independence (June 28, 1776) was written on Dutch (hemp) paper, as was the second draft completed on July 2, 1776. This was the document actually agreed to on that day and announced and released on July 4, 1776. On July 19, 1776, Congress ordered the Declaration be copied and engrossed on parchment (a prepared animal skin) and this was the document actually signed by the delegates on August 2, 1776. Hemp paper lasted 50 to 100 times longer than most preparations of papyrus, and was a hundred times easier and cheaper to make.
The DEA's own conservative administrative law judge, Francis Young, after taking medical testimony for 15 days and reviewing hundreds of DEA/NIDA documents positioned against the evidence introduced by marijuana reform activists, concluded in September 1988 that "marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."
The parachute used by George Herbert Walker Bush when his bomber was shot down over the Pacific in 1944 was 100% legal American "Marihuana." George W. Bush was not born until 1946. Therefore, legal "Marihuana" has saved the lives of two US Presidents.
During the three years that the United States was officially involved in World War II, nearly one million acres of "Marihuana" were legally grown throughout the country. For the next forty years, every Federal Administration denied the existence of the film, "Hemp For Victory." Finally, in 1989, independent researchers discovered two copies of the film in the Library of Congress. Yet to this day, the US Federal government refuses to admit that Cannabis Sativa has any uses, whether as medicine or as a resource.
In September of 1937, hemp became illegal. The most useful crop known became a drug and our planet has been suffering ever since.
The current laws against the cultivation of Hemp can be attributed to three men, Henry J. Anslinger, Lammont DuPont, and William Randolph Hearst, who made growing hemp illegal. Anslinger was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, DuPont and Hearst were the owners of the largest chemical company and newspaper, respectively. Hearst began printing outlandish stories with headlines such as "Marijuana goads user to blood lust" and "Hotel clerk identifies Marijuana smoker as gunman". He also took advantage of the country's prejudice against blacks and immigrants by printing that marijuana-crazed negroes were raping white women and by painting pictures of lazy, pot-smoking Mexicans. DuPont's banker Andrew Mellon who happened to be Secretary of the Treasury under Herbert Hoover, also had a nephew-in-law, Henry Anslinger, who had the Marijuana Tax Law of 1937 passed allowing munitions maker DuPont to supply synthetic fibers for the domestic economy without competition.
These men succeeded in a conspiracy which ultimately added to the destruction of the environment, by them producing plastic and paper where hemp could have been more beneficial. In 1991 DuPont was still the largest producer of man-made fibers, while no citizen has legally harvested a single acre of textile grade hemp in over 50 years. The standard fiber of world history, America's traditional crop, hemp, could provide our textiles, paper and be the premier source for cellulose. The war industries DuPont, Allied Chemical, Monsanto, and others are protected from competition by the marijuana laws and they make war on the natural cycle and the common farmer.
Congress banned hemp because it was said to be the most violence-causing drug known. Anslinger, head of the Drug Commission for 31 years, promoted the idea that marihuana made users act extremely violent. In the 1950s, under the Communist threat of McCarthyism, Anslinger now said the exact opposite. Marijuana will pacify you so much that soldiers would not want to fight.
Until the 1820s in America (and until the 20th Century in most of the rest of the world), 80% of all textiles and fabrics used for clothing, tents, bed sheets, and linens, rugs, drapes, quilts, towels, diapers, etc.--and even the US flag, "Old Glory," were principally made from fibers of cannabis hemp.
The pot plant is an ALIEN plant. There is physical evidence that cannabis is not like any other plant on this planet. One could conclude that it was brought here for the benefit of humanity. Hemp is the ONLY plant where the males appear one way and the females appear very different, physically! No one ever speaks of males and females in regard to the plant kingdom because plants do not show their sexes; except for cannabis. To determine what sex a certain, normal, Earthly plant is: You have to look internally, at its DNA. A male blade of grass (physically) looks exactly like a female blade of grass. The hemp plant has an intense sexuality. Growers know to kill the males before they fertilize the females. Yes, folks...the most potent pot comes from 'horny females.'
"God makes the Earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent man should not neglect. "Sirach: 38:4 (Catholic Bible).
Abraham Lincoln was an avowed enemy of prohibition. His wife was prescribed cannabis for her nerves after his assassination. Virtually every president from the mid-19th Century up until prohibition routinely used cannabis medicines
It was LEGAL TO PAY TAXES WITH HEMP in America from 1631 until the early 1800s
Between 1850 and 1937 marijuana was widely used throughout United States as a medicinal drug and could easily be purchased in pharmacies and general stores. Recreational use was limited in the US until after the Mexican Revolution of 1910, when an influx of Mexican immigrants introduced the habit.
In 1619 the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp. Hemp was allowed to be exchanged as legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland.
The US Drug Enforcement Agency classifies all C. sativa varieties as "marijuana." While it is theoretically possible to get permission from the government to grow hemp, DEA would require that the field be secured by fence, razor wire, dogs, guards, and lights, making it cost-prohibitive.
The US State Department must certify each year that a foreign nation is cooperating in the war on drugs. The European Union subsidizes its farmers to grow industrial hemp. Those nations are not on this list, because the State Department can tell the difference between hemp and marijuana.
Hemp was grown commercially (with increasing governmental interference) in the United States until the 1950s. It was doomed by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which placed an extremely high tax on marijuana and made it effectively impossible to grow industrial hemp. While Congress expressly expected the continued production of industrial hemp, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics lumped industrial hemp with marijuana, as it's successor the US Drug Enforcement Administration, does to this day.
Over 30 industrialized democracies do distinguish hemp from marijuana. International treaties regarding marijuana make an exception for industrial hemp.
Who smokes marijuana? According to recent statistics provided by the federal government, nearly 77 million Americans admit having smoked marijuana. Of these, twenty million Americans smoked marijuana during the past year. Former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and others -- admit they have smoked marijuana.
Hemp was already in the new world when the first European colonist arrived, thought to have been introduced from China by explorers, migrating birds from across the Bering Strait, or possibly drifting shipwrecks.
It is reported that the colonist were not eager to grow hemp, however the European motherland wanted hemp, and cultivation was deemed mandatory. The Puritans at Jamestown grew hemp, as part of their contract with the Virginia Company. Jean Talon at the order of France Quebec colony minister, confiscated all thread the colonist possessed and forced them to buy it back from him with hemp. Talon supplied the seeds to farmers, which had to be reimbursed after hemp crops were harvested. Mandatory cultivation of hemp continued throughout the New World, the General Court in 1637 at Hartford Connecticut, and the Massachusetts courts in 1639 ordered all families to plant one teaspoon of hemp seed. "that we might in time have supply of linen cloth among ourselves." Several colonies passed legal tender laws, hemp was so valued it was used to pay taxes.
Until 1776 many colonies passed laws to encourage farmers to produce hemp, Virginia designed laws to compel farmers, fining those who did not comply. Lobbyist were hired to promote, and education the public about the importance of hemp. Books were published that wanted to establish hemp as America’s trademark product.
Colonies under the crown, were banned from spinning and weaving hemp, this fostered dependence to England, which was demanding raw materials from the colonies as a way to increase its labor forces. The exported fibers, were then bought back as finished products from England. As the market was flooded with hemp, immigrant weavers from Ireland arrived in Massachusetts, setting up shop and passing their skills to the peasantry. What may have seem a small movement, grew into self-sufficiency from the British Crown, to the extent of a boycott of English fabric products. These were some of the conditions which lead into the War of Independence from the British. The American paper industry was born of hemp, linen, and cotton rags which provided writing materials throughout the war, essential for communication.
In 1777, Edward Antil wrote in his introduction of Observations on the Raising and Dressing of Hemp, "hemp is one of the most profitable productions the earth furnishes in northern climates; as it employs a great number of poor people in a very advantageous manner, if its manufacture is carried on properly: It ... becomes worthy of the serious attention...of every trading man, who truly loves his country."
In preparation of war, mandatory cultivation laws were passed, and colonist increased their production of hemp, for paper and clothes. Colonist were convinced to take up arms, as they read pamphlets published on hemp paper. Thomas Paine in 1776 encouraged colonist to fight for freedom with Common Sense he writes "in almost every article of defense we abound. Hemp flourishes even to rankness, so that we need not want cordage."
The founding fathers of this nation George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both promoters of hemp, as noted in their farm diaries spoke of their experiences as hemp farmers. Throughout Washington’s farm diary he spoke about the quality of seeds, always taking care to sow seeds in best areas on his farm. He documented the importance’s of cultivating seeds at the proper time taking care to pull the male plants from the females. In 1790’s Washington began cultivating "Indian hemp" which he said produced the best quality of plant, and noted its superior quality to common hemp mostly grown during that time. Both Washington and Jefferson disliked tobacco, and on occasion they would exchange gifts of a smoking mixtures, Washington reportedly enjoyed smoking hemp flowers, however there is no hard evidence.
Jefferson, was also a promoter of hemp, and during his tenure as Governor of Virginia he kept reserves of hemp, and in May of 1781 used hemp as currency when money from the government was in short supply.
Jefferson believed hemp to be a superior crop to tobacco, which he said exhausted the soil, used to much manure, provided no nourishment for cattle. Hemp on the other hand "was of the first necessity to commerce and marine, in other words to the wealth and protection of the country." Around 1815 Jefferson received the first US patent for his hemp breaking machine, which reportedly did the work of ten men.
Kentucky was a large supplier of hemp, primarily because the soil would not sustain a grain crop. In 1792 its legislature levied a tax of twenty dollars per ton on imported hemp, this worked to Kentucky’s advantage and by 1850 domestic hemp crops increased and the amount of imported hemp dramatically decreased.
1998: One in three Americans, approximately 90 million citizens, have now tried it at least once, and some 10-20% (25 to 50 million Americans) still choose to buy and smoke it regularly, despite urine tests and tougher laws.
Richard Nixon ordered the FBI to illegally monitor John Lennon 24-hours a day for six solid months in 1971 because Lennon had given a concert in Michigan to free a student (John Sinclair) from five years in jail for possession of two joints.
Approximately 50% of all drug enforcement money, federal and state, during the last 60 years has been directed toward marijuana!
Some 70-80% of all persons now in federal and state prisons in America wouldn't have been there as criminals until just 60 or so years ago. In other words we, in our (Anslinger and Hearst inspired) ignorance and prejudice, have placed approximately 800,000 of the 1.2 million people in American prisons (as of August 4, 1998) for crimes that were, at worst, minor habits, up until the Harrison Act, 1914 (whereby the U.S. Supreme Court in 1924 first ruled that drug addicts weren't sick, they were instead vile criminals).
Eighty percent of these government "War on Drugs" victims were not dealing. They have been incarcerated for simple possession. And this does not include the quarter of a million more in county jails.
Remember, just 30 years ago, in 1978, before the "War on Drugs," there were only 300,000 persons in American prisons for all crimes combined.
1890s, some of the most popular American marriage guides recommend cannabis as an aphrodisiac of extraordinary powers no one ever suggested a prohibition law against cannabis. And while there was talk of an alcohol prohibition law, a number of women's temperance organizations even suggested "hasheesh" as a substitute for "demon" alcohol, which they said led to wife beating.
World Fairs and International Expositions from the 1860s through the early 1900s often featured a popular Turkish Hashish Smoking exposition and concession. Hashish smoking was entirely new for Americans; its effects came on much faster. However, smoking hashish was only about one-third as strong or long lasting as orally ingesting the cannabis extract medicines that even American children were regularly prescribed.
Cannabis Sativa is the proper name for both marijuana and hemp. From 1619 until outlawed as "Marihuana" in 1937, Cannabis Sativa was the US' largest legal industry.
On October 2, 1937, the US Federal government passed the Marihuana Tax Act, which put a prohibitive tax on production of the "drug menace." To grow Cannabis Sativa legally, a citizen of the United States would need to purchase a Special Tax Stamp. To obtain the tax stamp, citizens were required to possess Cannabis Sativa when trying to buy the stamp. However, because of the rules of the Marihuana Tax Act, anyone who possessed marijuana without the stamp was then arrested as a drug dealer. The Federal government refused to release these Special Tax Stamps, thus ensuring that anyone who grew this ancient crop would be deemed a criminal. This was the beginning of marijuana prohibition.
The day the Marihuana Tax Act was passed, federal agents arrested Samuel Caldwell, 58, in Denver, CO, for selling two marihuana cigarettes. Samuel Caldwell became the first American convicted under the new federal law. He was sentenced to four years in Levenworth Penitentiary, and died a year after being released.
Despite the rampant propaganda of the 1930s against "Marihuana," where newspapers and Federal agencies condemned Cannabis Sativa as "the world's most dangerous narcotic," the US Federal government began issuing the Special Tax Stamps during World War II. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, with imports of coarse fibers cut off by the Japanese, the US Department of Agriculture enacted a plan to ensure a steady supply of the world's strongest natural fiber by legally allowing Americans to grow Cannabis Sativa.
The word `marijuana' is a Mexican slang term which became popular in the late 1930's in America, during a series of media and government programs which we now refer to as the `Reefer Madness Movement.' It refers specifically to the medicine part of cannabis, which Mexican soldiers used to smoke.
Today in the U.S., hemp (meaning the roots, stalk, and stems of the cannabis plant) is legal to possess. No one can arrest you for wearing a hemp shirt, or using hemp paper. Marijuana (The flowers, buds, or leaves of the cannabis plant) is not legal to possess, and there are stiff fines
and possible jail terms for having any marijuana in your possession. The seeds are legal to possess and eat, but only if they are sterilized (will not grow to maturity.)
"Cannabis remains by far the most commonly used drug in the world. An estimated 162 million people used cannabis in 2004, equivalent to some 4 per cent of the global population age 15-64. In relative terms, cannabis use is most prevalent in Oceania, followed by North America and Africa. While Asia has the lowest prevalence expressed as part of the population, in absolute terms it is the region that is home to some 52 million cannabis users, more than a third of the estimated total. The next largest markets, in absolute terms, are Africa and North America." Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, "World Drug Report 2006, Volume 1: Analysis" (United Nations: Vienna, Austria, 2006), p. 23
Commissioned by President Nixon in 1972, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse concluded that "Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it. This judgment is based on prevalent use patterns, on behavior exhibited by the vast majority of users and on our interpretations of existing medical and scientific data. This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable." Source: Shafer, Raymond P., et al, Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding, Ch. V, (Washington DC: National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972).
The United Kingdom officially downgraded the classification of cannabis from Class B to Class C effective Jan. 29, 2004. The London Guardian reported that "Under the switch, cannabis will be ranked alongside bodybuilding steroids and some anti-depressants. Possession of cannabis will no longer be an arrestable offence in most cases, although police will retain the power to arrest users in certain aggravated situations - such as when the drug is smoked outside schools. The home secretary, David Blunkett, has said the change in the law is necessary to enable police to spend more time tackling class A drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine which cause the most harm and trigger far more crime." Source: Tempest, Matthew, "MPs Vote To Downgrade Cannabis," The Guardian (London, England), Oct. 29, 2003.
Greek historian Herodotus records how tribesmen living near Mongolia throw hemp seeds onto a hot stone. "As it burns, it smokes like incense and the smell of it makes them drunk, just as wine does," he writes of what sounds suspiciously like a pre-Christian Bonnaroo. "As more fruit is thrown on, they get more and more intoxicated until they jump up and start singing and dancing."
Queen Victoria of England was prescribed cannabis for menstrual cramps by her personal physician Sir Russell Reynolds. He wrote in the first issue of The Lancet in 1890 that ‘when pure and administered carefully, cannabis is one of the most useful medicines we possess.’
"State laws should make the public use of marijuana a criminal offense punishable by a $100 fine. Under federal law, marijuana smoked in public would merely be subject to seizure."
Richard Nixon's National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding" - March 1972
Speculations on the Origin of Human Intelligence: "In defense of the Pygmies, perhaps I should note that a friend of mine who has spent time with them says that for such activities as the patient stalking and hunting of mammals and fish they prepare themselves through marijuana intoxication, which helps to make the long waits, boring to anyone further evolved than a Komodo dragon, at least moderately tolerable. Ganja is, he says, their only cultivated crop. It would be wryly interesting if in human history the cultivation of marijuana led generally to the invention of agriculture, and thereby to civilization. "Carl Sagan - The Dragons of Eden 1977