End To hemp Prohibition

Hemp played a crucial role in the early days of America. It was used for food, clothing, rope, paper, sail cloth and as a cash crop. The founding fathers of America grew hemp extensively for all of the reasons listed above so it may come as a surprise to learn that hemp effectively banned in 1939 due to a huge public smear campaign among many other factors.

There were a large number of factors that eventually led to the prohibition and subsequent labelling as a controlled substance in 1979. There is the Corporate conspiracy theory that suggests hemp was banned by corporate special interests who saw hemp as a threat to oil and other synthetic fibres they controlled. This included a massive public smear campaign and the campaigning of the Drug Enforcement Agent Arlisson who went on to promote hemp prohibition around the world.

So lets take a look at all the pieces of the puzzle and see if we can come to a clear understanding of why hemp was banned in 1939.

The Early 1900’s

Hemp In Kentucky

Hemp In Kentucky Early 1900’s

The Machines for processing hemp improved and became state of the art in the early 1930’s and this was a significant threat to the powers that be including Hearst newspapers and their huge amount of trees.

It was also a threat to Dupont who would be set to have serious competition from hemp that would seriously reduced their turnover. This was also a worry to Duponts banker, Andrew Mellon, of Mellon bank, Pittsburgh, who would also be set to lose out.

Dupont had new patents for synthetic fibres, paper made from wood pulp along with their other plastic and textiles enterprises.

Hemp could have competed with 80% of their business in a free market but instead it was Dupont who would filled the railroads with its good for the next 70 years, causing untold pollution of the environment and the rivers.

A New Man In A New Role – Harry J. Anslinger

Harry J Anslinger

Harry J Anslinger

It may come as no surprise that Mellon Bank would appoint Harry J. Anslinger to head the new bureau of narcotics and dangerous drugs.

He would go on to make Cannabis he’s number 1 target and campaign rigorously against it until prohibition in 1937.

Following prohibition in the States, he would go on to denounce cannabis and call for it’s prohibition worldwide.

Hemp Marijuana Proaganda

Anslinger who would even go on to marry Andrew Melons daughter, testified the following before congress in 1937:

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the world”

I would like to see some evidence to back these claims up.

Marijuana users are:

“slaves to this narcotic, continuing addiction until they deteriorate mentally, become insane, turn to violent crime and murder.”

By this time Dupont was pushing its new petrochemical synthetics to its shareholders and of course hemp would again be the competition. If only there was a way to get rid of it?

Hemp Prop 2

Harry Anslinger would go on to change his tune completely 20 years later when he said marijuana pacified people and would subdue the fighting will of the American men.

William Hearst’s Smear Campaign and the birth of ‘Yellow Journalism’

Newspaper baron, William Hearst owned vast acres of woodlands and it is said that he, Dupont, Anslinger and Melon were all set to lose from cannabis utility, ease of growth and quality, so they all came together to try to get rid of it.

Hearst had invested millions in technology for processing wood into paper at the time and with stationers starting the favour Hemp stalks for their paper, Hearst’s investments were in jeopardy.

William Hearst would introduce “Yellow Journalism” as a force in America. That is, sensationalist journalism with clickbait headlines, where the factual contents of the story were an after thought, in much the same way as we see today in the age of “Fake News”.

The perfect example of this is the reporting on a car crash where a marijuana cigarette was found. The story made the front pages for weeks while alcohol related crashes were pushed to the back pages even though they were 10,000 times more common.

We see the same rubbish reporting to this day and the internet has only served to amplify it.

Another example would be another ridiculous headline from Hearst’s paper that read:

“If the hideous monster Frankenstein came face to face with the monster marijuana, he would drop dead of fright.”

Hearst had another reason to be aggrieved, he had lost 800,000 acres of trees to the Mexican poncho villa and he went on to label all Mexicans as lazy and violent due to their marijuana smoking.

Marijuana Propaganda 1930s

Studies At The Time:

It is important to note that the research and studies carried out at time did not find much issue with cannabis which definitely leads to the corporate conspiracy theory.

Change In Use, Racism and blaming the Mexicans

Cannabis had been carried regularly used by early Americans for its medicinal purposes and was freely available in pharmacy all around the country up until the early 1900’s, they rarely used it for pleasure.

Hemp Prop 4

It’s claimed that the Mexicans who crossed the border in the United States brought the use of marijuana for recreation with them. Calling it Marijuana in Anslingers bill seems to have been part of the strategy to pin this new threat to America on the Mexican immigrants who may have brought it with them.

“I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigaret can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents.” A Quote from a local Colorado newspaper of the time.

Hemp Racist Propaganda

This was especially true of ‘Black Jazz musicians’ who would use pot to get white girls to sleep with them and spew anti white ‘viciousness’ in their music. Anslinger was terribly racist in his approach saying the pot was leading to interracial marriages and orgies

Marijuana Prop

Even when Hearst and other sensationalist newspapers used the marijuana epidemic to push a serious propaganda campaign, few Americans actually considered marijuana to be a danger to America and even fewer linked marijuana and hemp as the same plant so they were blissfully unaware that their valuable crop would soon be taken away.

Anslinger kept a Gore file which stated that 50% of violent crime could be attributable to marijuana smoking immigrants. He even stated that an axe murder was committed by a Mexican who had smoked marijuana 4 days previously.

Almost everything in the Gore files has been discovered to be a lie.

The Prohibition Bureaucracy Theory

There is another theory or one that simply adds to the existing theory. With the alcohol prohibition repealed in 1933, the government agencies that were charged with enforcing the alcohol ban had nothing left to do and would be shut down. In the throws of the great depression, government spending was coming under increased scrutiny and all expenditures were being examined.

More Pot Prop

If Anslinger wanted to make a name for himself he would need to go after more than just Cocaine and Heroin, which were used by too few people sporadically to attack on their own, so Anslinger was more than happy to give them a new enemy and prohibition target in marijuana.

The Marijuana Tax Act Of 1937

In 1937, Anslinger brought his case for prohibition to Congress and he got it passed. Based purely on lies and misinformation, Anslinger made some outrageous claims before Congress, fuelled by all the media propaganda that had gone before.

Of course, the press ran with this exaggerated version of events and Anslinger’s main body of evidence would be the a report written by Eugene Stanley entitled: “Marijuana as a developer of Criminals”.

Marijunana Tax

The report failed to mention a thorough report into marijuana smoking in Panama in 1930 which led to the conclusion that marijuana smoking was not a serious threat and should face no criminal charges although it was habit forming in the same way as “Sugar or Coffee”.

Anslinger had contacted 30 scientists for their opinion on the dangers of marijuana and only 1 agreed with him and that is the one whose opinion was given before congress and the effects of marijuana were claimed to be the following.

The particulars of the tax bill

The tax bill did not make Hemp illegal in 1937 but it places a lot of restrictions on it’s use, effectively prohibiting it.

The particulars of the Act are as follows:

  • All handlers of cannabis have to be registered and pay a special occupational tax.
  • Written forms have to be filled out , submitted and filed for every transaction.
  • $1 dollar has to be paid every time hemp is delivered to a authorised recipient.
  • Opposition from the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association at the time, saw throw the lies and hysteria caused by the smear campaign of the early 30’s and they voiced their opposition vehemently in congress.

Dr William Woodward seems to be correct in his thinking when he challenged the Treasury in all aspects of their case:

“We are told that the use of marijuana causes crime.  But as yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show the number of persons addicted to marijuana.  An informal inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no information to this point.  You have been told that school children are great users of marijuana cigarettes.  No one has been summoned from the Children’s Bureau to show the nature and extent of the habit among children.  Inquiry into the Office of Education, and they certainly should know something of the prevalence of the habit among school children of this country, if there is a prevalent habit, indicates that they had not occasion to investigate it and know nothing of it.”

Woodward went on to claim that all these problems were in the minds of the bureau of narcotics and that the threats were greatly over exaggerated.

Woodward blasted the bureau for keeping the bill a secret right up until it was about to be introduced.

He stated: “During the past 2 years, I have visited the Bureau of Narcotics probably 10 or more times.  Unfortunately, I had no knowledge that such a bill as this was proposed until after it had been introduced… We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for 2 years without any intimation even to the profession, that it was being prepared.”

An Exemption For The Birdseed Industry

The birdseed industry arrived late to the party, startled that marijuana was the same thing as hemp. The birdseed industry used over a million pounds of hemp seed per anum and they wanted the seeds to be excluded.

Congress asked their representative if the hemp seeds had the same effect on the birds as it does on humans and he said he “didn’t think so but it brought back the feathers to a bird.”

This led to hempseeds being excluded from the bill as long as they were sterilized before use, ensuring they could be used to plant new hemp plants.

The Marijuana Tax Act Is Passed

The hearings themselves took place in late April of 1937 and they didn’t promote a complete ban of hemp but to merely prohibit it:

Clinton M. Hester presented the case to the house committee, stating:

Marijuana is “being used extensively by high school children in cigarettes.. and its effect is deadly”.

“The leading newspapers of the United States have recognized the seriousness of this problem and many of them have advocated Federal legislation to control the traffic in marihuana.”

At the hearing itself, many of the congressman did not know the connection between marijuana and hemp and Hester claimed that the bill, would not impinge on the industrial hemp industry.

“The plant also has many industrial uses . . . The production and sale of hemp and its products for industrial purposes will not be adversely affected by this bill”

Congressman Robinson of Kentucky voiced his concern about how it might affect the industry hemp markets at the hearing when he said:

“The plant also has many industrial uses . . . The production and sale of hemp and its products for industrial purposes will not be adversely affected by this bill”

The reply he got would turn out to be not totally true:

“This bill defines marihuana so that every legitimate use of hemp is protected.”

War On Dope

The Decline Of Industrial hemp

The Marihuana tax act was passed in late 1937 and the hemp industry was effectively crippled. Investors didn’t want to risk their money, their was social stigma and with federal agents clamping down on the industry, it rapidly declined into obscurity although commercial hemp farming did continue to an extent.

Hemp For Victory

Prohibition ended momentarily in 1942 with World War 2 after America had been engaged in the battle following the attacks on pearl harbour.

As The government didn’t want to rely on imported fibres following the start of the war, they quickly learned how important hemp would be to the Allied cause and came together with a “Hemp For Victory” campaign that would encourage farmers to grow hemp. This shows they still saw the difference between hemp and marijuana.

American Farmers would go on to grow over 1 million acres of hemp for the American war efforts.

The Farm Bill Of 2018

Trump Signs Farm Bill

The Farm Bill was passed in 2018 by President Trump and it brought a huge victory with it for the hemp industry which is booming all over the world again all of a sudden.

The farm bill stated that any Cannabis plant containing under .3% THC would not be legal under federal law.

The CBD and medicinal markets for Hemp have become big business since the bill passed. Hemp is a naturally growing plant that is carbon neutral and all of the plant can be used with no wastage for a huge variety of purposes.

The future of the hemp market is extremely bright especially as the world turns towards sustainable energy and environmentally friendly building materials, Hemp’s name is sure to crop up again and again.