Martyred In The Marketplace
These facts about marijuana are generally verifiable in the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, which was printed on Cannabis hemp paper for 150 years. Most high-quality schoolbooks were made from hemp paper until the 1880ís. It was legal to pay your taxes with Cannabis hemp in America from 1631 until the early 1800ís. Refusing to grow hemp in America during the 17th and 18th centuries was against the law in some places. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew it, and studied its many uses.
Cannabis hemp is the longest, most durable, and longest-lasting natural fiber on earth. From the time before Christ until the 1930ís, 90% of all shipsí sails were made from Cannabis hemp. The word Ďcanvasí is the Dutch pronunciation of Cannabis. About 80% of all heavy textiles, linens, and rugs were made from hemp until the 1820ís, when the industrial gotton gin permitted that fiber to be produced at a lower cost. Even so, hemp was still the second most widely used fiber until the 1930ís. Since hemp was outlawed in the 1930ís as a "drug", most of those fabrics have been replaced by synthetic fibers patented by DuPont and other petrochemical producers during the same time period.
Until 1937, all good paints and varnishes were made with hemp seed oil, according to testimony by Sherwin Williams Paint Company before Congress against the 1937 Hemp Tax Transfer Law. At that time, 116 million pounds of hemp seed per year were consumed for paint. After 1937, most paint was based on petrochemical oils made with patents held by DuPont.
Up to 90% of all paper in the world was made from Cannabis hemp until 1883. The Gutenberg Bible in the 15th Century, Poor Richardís Almanac in the 18th Century, and the works of Mark Twain in 19th Century were all printed on hemp linen paper. It is very likely that the Declaration of Independence is printed on hemp linen, though U.S. Government Archives will not be more specific when questioned than "linen". Rembrandt, Gainsborough, and Van Gogh painted on hemp canvas. According to U.S. Archives, hemp paper is the most durable and long-lasting, the perfect archivaic medium. Even today Canada, Britain, and Australia among others use hemp fiber paper for their money, which lasts three times as long as American money.
In 1883, the development of the woodpulp-sulfide process made it possible to produce a cheagrade of paper from evergreen trees. It had a very rapid rate of decay, but was useful for mass publication, like newspapers. The patents on the sulfuric acid process belonged to DuPont. In 1916, a process was patented to make inexpensive pulp hemp paper. Using modern technology, it could replace our present need for paper (in every category except newsprint) with a better grade of paper, and it would eliminate that percentage of the acid rain created by the sulfide process. The Department of Agriculture stated that one acre of Cannabis hemp for pulp would replace four and one half acres of evergreen trees cut for the same purpose.
When in the early 1930ís, the technology necessary to utižlize the 1916 hemp-pulp paper patent became available, the Hearst Paper Manufacturing Division stood to lose billions of dollars on its investment in timber reserves and its control of the paper market with woodpulp-sulfide paper. DuPont stood to lose billions on their acid-rain-producing, forest-stripping, woodpulp-sulfide process patents.
The major force which then led the fight to get marijuana declared a substance which should be controlled by the government was the "yellow journalism" of the Hearst newspapers. In 1931, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon appointed his nephew Harry Anslinger the first Director of the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics to lead the crusade against "the demon weed". Before Congress, his testimony was almost entirely made up of Hearst news releases which he read aloud in the emotionally-charged style which characterized the exaggeraged or contrived "news" of yellow journalism. He declared marijuana was the most powerful violence-inducing substance known to mankind, and implied that its use (and not social injustice) was responsible for the well-known violent tendencies of the Negro and Latin, among whom it was widely consumed. The culmination of the attack was the film "Reefer Madness", which time and experience have revealed to be ludicrous. On the basis of that mentality, however, marijuana was outlawed. DuPont and Hearst in a single move wiped out their major competitor in paper, textiles, and paint. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon was no doubt pleased to deposit the fruits of their good fortune into their accounts at the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh, which he happened to own.
Curiously, not only the value of petroleum products were increased by the outlawing of hemp and its products. In Kentucky hemp had been a principal crop for a century, but the useful crop was replaced by tobacco, which has no function except as a drug, no medicinal use, and has been proved and admitted by the government to be a leading cause of disease and death in America.
For over 2500 years, marijuana has been one of the most widely used drugs in traditional medicine, and from 1850 to 1937 it appeared in American pharmacopeia recommended for dozens of separate maladies. Testifying against the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, representatives of the American Medical Association (AMA) declared, "...it is all a Hearst media scare intended to control Mexicans and Negroes, and once the active ingredients are isolated, it will likely be the miracle drug of the age." However, medical research on the possible benefits of marijuana were forbidden by the U.S.Government until 1961, when Harry Anslinger retired as Director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Since that time, research has proved very productive.
Marijuana is an excellent mild analgesic, relaxant, and tranquilizer. It is the best substance yet isolated for relief of intraocular eye pressure due to glaucoma. It is an excellent bronchial dilator. Unlike Valium, Librium, Melleril, Thorazine, Prozac, Elavil, and other such synthetic drugs, it has no toxic side effects, and it creates no physiological dependence. Unlike each of those manufactured attempts to create a safe mood lifter, its prolonged use produces no harmful withdrawal symptoms, other than a period of nervousness, irritability, and loss of appetite which lasts up to a week. Unlike each and all of those unnatural molecules, the purest THC (tetra-hydro-cannibinol, the active ingredient) can be grown free in the flowerbeds of most homes in America, and consumed raw in salads, smoked, or easily and safely extracted as a drinkable tincture in any kitchen. If it were žegal, it would replace a large percentage of the use of those other very profitable substances, a market in the billions of dollars. Such were the findings of the U.S. Costa Rican Studies, 1982, according to a copy of the original Costa Rican Report which was sent to offices of NORML in 1983. The final report on the studies, the version accepted by NIH and the Reagan administration after rewriting it themselves, was a vague document offering only generalities and inconclusive summaries.
In 1976, Eli Lilly Co. and other leading drug manufacturers lobbied the Federal Government to outlaw or severely restrict all independent positive research into the medical potential of marijuana. In return, they promised to undertake the study and development of synthetic THC and other similar molecules, on the expectation of producing the same medical benefits without the "abusable" high associated with the real thing. Eli Lilly came out with Nabulone, a synthetic second cousin, which did not produce the "high" -- nor any of the other effects of the natural product. It was never marketed in the US, and after ten years of research, the drug companies have been unsuccessful in producing a synthetic which works as well as the free-growing weed. Since they have the only research franchise the government is going to issue, perhaps they never will find a synthetic that works as well, no matter how long they have to study the problem. Until they admit they have exhausted every possible avenue of research, of course, they do not have to resort to considering the merits of the real natural substance, and they do not have to face the financial loss of their "windfall" monopoly.
Hemp is not only valuable as medicine, and as a fiber and oil source, but also as an excellent source of food. According to a 1975 study by Cohen & Stillman of UCLA, hempseed is second only to soybeans as a complete vegetable protein source. Australia survived two prolonged famines in the 19th Century by living on hempseed. It is the highest in certain enzymes and amino acids of any grain, and is much less expensive to produce than soybeans. Using hempseed as a byproduct of hemp fiber production, domestic animals and livestock could be fed for less than feeds now in common use.
According to the U.S.Department of Agriculture, hemp is one of the best renitrogenation rotation crops, and is a crop which will grow well in many regions where no other crop can profitably survive. There are several Third World countries today which could solve both their food problem and their dependence on petro-based fiber products by growing hemp.
How does the US Government react to that news? By a systematic program of misinformation, suppression of positive evidence, and deliberate omission of the truth in presenting the subject to the American people, students, legislators, and the world. They might not want people to know about the beneficial aspects of marijuana, but they do want people to know about the law-enforcement problem, and its attendant effect on the morality of their children. If the powerful in a position to profit can persuade the legislators to make smoking marijuana a felony, then they may assert that marijuana is making felons of our children, which is reason for keeping it illegal.
In the Third World, US foreign aid, government loans, and military aid are directly tied to the willingness of governments to impose restrictive control of marijuana over their own people. When American-imposed raids on their private lives cause those people to voice their objections, the CIA is sent in to identify rebellious anti-government drug traffickers. The first time a dissenter points out that the only ones who profit by the action are the American capitalists, he is declared a leftist, and the military advisors are called in. When somebody voices his objection loudly enough, he is called a terrorist, and America sends in the Security Fleet.
The nations which submit to the "anti-drug" activity find their fields sprayed with paraquat, which the American government knows to be highly toxic to people and animals. According to an article in Science Digest in 1983, paraquat is one of the most dangerous toxins in the world, and a hideously painful way to die. Its use in Mexico, Central America, and South America today is as heinous a crime as any government could do to its own people. In fact, the president of Chevron (the manufacturer) made a public statement begging the US Government to stop using paraquat in this way,as it could kill innocent people. In 1983 the Federal Center for Disease Control (FCDC) said that as many as 9000 Americans may have been poisoned and had their lives shortened by the use of paraquat by DEA in foreign countries in 1976 to 1978. The spraying was done without informing the host countries of the potential hazard, and without asking those host countriesí permission. In 1978, as a result of action by FCDC and by NORML to bring the problem to the attention of Congress and President Jimmy Carter, a law was passed stopping the DEA from spraying with paraquat. In 1981, the Reagan administration authorized the spraying to begin again, and in 1983, the Supreme Court upheld Reaganís right to do so. The dangerous product is still in use.
Regardless what may be said about the desirability of marijuana as a recreational drug, it is clear that the benefits of the many products of the hemp plant far outweigh whatever harmful effects have been documented in the many decades of study of this plant. Unfortunately, it is precisely because of the ability of hemp products to perform successfully against several powerful competing industries that it is kept illegal, and likely will be for the proximate future. Criminalization of hemp is a great American tragedy, with global and historic consequences.
James Nathan Post