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INDUSTRIAL HEMP | history | harvesting | a thousand and one uses | links

To demonstrate the ridiculous way Industrial hemp was outlawed in 1937, here is a quote from Charles Whitebread, Professor of law, USC law school:

“Now, in doing this one at the FBI Academy, I didn't tell them this story, but I am going to tell you this story. You want to know how brief the hearings were on the national marijuana prohibition?

When we asked at the Library of Congress for a copy of the hearings, to the shock of the Library of Congress, none could be found. We went "What?" It took them four months to finally honor our request because -- are you ready for this? -- the hearings were so brief that the volume had slid down inside the side shelf of the bookcase and was so thin it had slid right down to the bottom inside the bookshelf. That's how brief they were. Are you ready for this? They had to break the bookshelf open because it had slid down inside. “

You can find the entire article with the full research of how the US government went on to prohibit industrial hemp by following this link:

The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States


Another piece of information worth mentioning:

(Extract from the film "Emperor of Hemp")

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cover
The Emperor Wears
No Clothes
by Jack Herer

Jack published "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" in 1985, part scientific document, part journalistic expose and part holy crusade, it has sold more than 600,000 copies and is now in its 11th edition.

Rich in scholarly detail, the "Emperor Wears No Clothes" was the first populist book to explore the forgotten history and economic potential of hemp. It also took a caustic, sarcastic and often irreverent look at the bizarre circumstances surrounding marijuana prohibition.

Only in the 20th century did the ancient hemp plant become a frightening new drug. The mexican slang word "Marijuana" was unknown to most americans until newspaper headlines first introduced its name in the 1920s.

Horror stories appeared regularly in the sensationalistic newspapers of William Randolph Hearst and were works of pure fiction but even respectable papers made contributions.

Although this story would be relegated to the tabloids today, it was fit to print in the distinguished New York Time on july 5, 1927.

"A mexican woman and her four children are driven insane by marijuana," the Times reported. It went on to say that... neighbors... "rushed to the house to find the entire family... insane!!"

In its most controversial report, "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" investigated the origin of marijuana prohibition, specifically, a single federal law, the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Although alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment, marijuana prohibition was brought about by a law. The driving force behind this law was Harry J. Anslinger, America's first drug Czar. Anslinger was the government's expert witness during 1937 congressional hearings on the proposed Marijuana Tax Act. As proof of marijuana's malevolence, Anslinger introduced into evidence flaming Hearst newspaper headlines that trumpeted the "violence, insanity and death" allegedly caused by marijuana.

John P. Morgan, M.D.
City University of N.Y. Medical School
In 1937 when the marijuana tax act was established, there were no data of any sort, much less scientific, about whether this compound was harmful or not, there was just evidence that it was being used by people who we distrusted and feared.

R. Keith Stroup
Founder & Executive Director, NORML

When you go back and read the record in congress, it's amazing, the lack of information. There were literally questions by members of congress saying: what is this marijuana? Is it a narcotic, or what is it? And there would be a sentence, someone would stand up and say oh, it's the most dangerous new drug coming down the pike.


Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D.
Historian
In terms of what congress knew in 1937.... the only history that they were given was all these cock and bull stories about how it made people crazy and they went out and killed people under the influence of marijuana.


Kevin Zeese
President, Common Sense for Drug Policy
The tax act was built on lies, and I think it's outrageous that we have legislation that exists today that was based on lies.

Despite opposition by the american medical association, congress passed the law unanimously after debating for a grand total of 90 seconds. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it on august 3, 1937. Theoretically, the new law did not actually prohibit marijuana and hemp - only a constitutional amendment could do that. But by imposing prohibitive taxes and mountains of red tape, it made cultivation, processing, sales and use virtually impossible. Technically, farmers could legally grow a hemp plant like this one, but only if they could somehow grow it without the leaves and flowers... this law is still in effect today.

The full reasons behind marijuana prohibition are still being debated. Some experts think racism played a part.

John P. Morgan, M.D.
City University of N.Y. Medical School
When poor people, avant-garde, immigrants take the drugs, we're afraid that they are going to rise up, smite steal and take the white woman, so we outlaw the drugs because of our fears over that.

Others think Harry anslinger was motivated by ambition and power.

Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D.
Historian
A great deal of the reason that marijuana was prohibited was because of self-aggrandisement at the federal level, especially with Harry Anslinger wanting to be the J. Edgar Hoover of his own agency.

Jack sees darker motives. His book alleges a high-level conspiracy revolving around Anslinger, treasury secretary Andrew Mellon, the Dupont Chemical Company, and hemp.

Before the civil war, hemp was the nation's second-largest cash crop behind cotton. But while cotton could be processed by machine, slaves were the only cost-effective way to separate the tough fiber of hemp from the pulpy core that was used to make paper. When slavery ended after the war, the hemp industry went into decline. The death knell was sounded in the late 1800s when papermakers converted to tree-based pulp.

Michael R. Aldrich, Ph.D.
Historian
It meant you could chop down a forest a lot cheaper than you could pay laborers to manufacture hemp fiber for paper.

Jack hangs his conspiracy angle on events that happened simultaneously with marijuana prohibition. Coincidence number one: the decorticator, a mechanical processing machine invented by a german immigrant, was about to bring hemp into the modern industrial age. Popular Mechanics Magazine recognized the potential bonanza for American farmers and entrepreneurs in a machine that could process hemp quickly and cheaply for the first time in history.

Coincidences number two and three: the dupont compagny was coming out with both a sulphuric-acid method for making tree-based paper, and a new invention called plastic. Jack's book points out that a hemp resurgence in the thirties would certainly have been a serious threat to Dupont's petro-chemical strategies.

And Finally there's millionaire financier Andrew Mellon, in 1937, Mellon was Anslinger's boss, Harry's wife's uncle, and Dupont's banker. Coincidences number four, five and six.

Extract from the film
"Emperor of Hemp"
Copyright 1999, Double J. Films
Used with permission



"The marketplace, not myopic rules, should determine hemp's future in America."
--New York Times Editorial Board, April 11, 1998

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