- POT FOR PEACE, PEACE FOR POT
The HEMP Embassy has always actively
advocated the reintegration of the hemp plant into people's
In the 1930's Hemp was thrust aside
in the rush to embrace the emerging synthetics industry, and
in the desire to overtake the hemp industry altogether, they
threw out the baby with the bath water in a deluge of negative
publicity. The rising temperance movement was targeted with
this publicity, and after the failed experiment in alcohol prohibition,
the movement was left with the prohibition of other drugs as
a consolation prize, which just happened to allow a small group
of pharmaceutical companies to gain a monopoly on medical drug
production and pricing.
We feel that Hemp has been demonised
by industrial competitors and venal politicians for their own
advantage, depriving humanity of a very useful plant, which,
in the drug context, is far less harmful than alcohol, heroin,
amphetamines, cocaine, or even antidepressants.
Australian Hemp History
HISTORY OF POLICE RAIDS ON INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES
WORLD HEMP HISTORY
A Potted Perspective:
At the beginning of what we know about man's historical
relationship with hemp, ten thousand years ago in China, it
was used for fibre, oil, medicine, and as an entheogen (drug
used to achieve a spiritual state). Four thousand years ago
they made papyrus in Egypt. The plant was spreading. Two thousand
years ago the Egyptians found a way to make paper from hemp.
A thousand years ago hemp found its way to Europe, and was used
for rope, sails, cloth, fuel, paper, paint, food and medicine.
Five hundred years ago when Portuguese sailing ships began to
explore beyond the known shores, the demand for hemp rope and
sails grew rapidly making hemp a resource of strategic importance
to all seafaring nations. When explorers got to North America,
there was already a native strain of hemp growing there. The
circle was complete. From its beginnings in China hemp had come
to be a vital resource grown all around the world. It was as
important to trade then as oil is now.
The year 1839 saw the introduction of the screw propeller which
spelt the end of the sailing ship era and also the first Opium
War in China broke out when Britain backed the right of British
merchants to sell opium in China, which the Chinese government
had wanted to stop. It was essentially a trade war to open up
Chinese markets, but hinged on Opium.
In the New World goldrushes of the 1800s there was racial tension
between Chinese and European miners, reflected in laws passed
by governments of the day. Opium was then considered a "filthy
Chinese practice" and this is ironic considering opium
was forced on the Chinese to balance the Tea trade going the
While being an opium smoker was socially unacceptable, in the
late eighteen hundreds miracle cures, nostrums, tonics, baby
soothers and patent medicines multiplied, adroitly using the
media to market their wares. There were no regulations at the
time to control any of this. They were consumed by a gullible
public, perhaps avoiding the expense of doctors. Some people
became addicted to preparations containing opiates or cocaine.
By the time alcohol prohibition came around, the general populace
were familiar with the concept of addiction.
The Twenties had brought notions of town planning, public education
and public health. There were campaigns to increase literacy
generally and reduce mortality rates in children. This included
school health, school milk and vaccination programs.
Science though is not the only influence on world affairs.
The Christian church does not have a visible history of using
entheogens, and generally views drugs as more the Devil's work
than God's. (Wine, as used in Christian rituals, is not used
for intoxication or to achieve a spiritual state.) Many Christian
women of the Twenties campaigned for voting rights and temperance.
They saw alcohol as a destroyer of families, and helped bring
about the US prohibition era. Alcoholics and drug addicts were
seen as slaves to their drugs, and it was thought by many wishful
thinkers that prohibition laws would make those slaves free.
These other drugs were generally thought of as Un-Christian,
Un-American or Un-Australian and originating with another race.
Opium was touted as a Chinese drug, cocaine was South American,
and cannabis was Mexican or Arabic. Racism visibly entered the
Some newspapers of the Thirties exploited all these sentiments
mercilessly. So did politicians.
A cheaper fast-yellowing paper was by then being made from
bleached woodchip for newspapers, and nylon rope came onto the
market. Synthetics were seen as a sunrise industry and enthusiastically
embraced as the way of the future at the time.
All of these factors contributed to governments seeking ways
to control drug use, and not allow people to self medicate.
Pharmaceutical companies and regulations ensuring the purity
and safety of food and drugs emerged. While this move from quackery
to government and science approved medicine had its good points
it also created the medical and pharmaceutical monopolies of
States rights in the US are part of the equation. The US constitution
gave the states rights to avoid the potential tyranny of a central
government, but the Federal US government has consistently sought
ways to gain power over the states, and uses interstate commerce
provisions to deem crimes federal and take jurisdiction. The
states have not always agreed with the federal view, and frictions
The prohibition of alcohol came and went as it was deemed a
failure, but the prohibition of a number of drugs remained,
including hemp/cannabis. With alcohol prohibition the rise of
enterprise level gangs, public corruption, gang warfare, and
crime was an unexpected consequence of such good intentions.
While the continued prohibition of other drugs may have mollified
the temperance movement and allies, it also left territory for
the abusers of alcohol prohibition to move into.
America in its ascendancy promoted and encouraged the adoption
of like laws through the UN and trade agreements. It was an
attempt to achieve globally, by the same means an aim that had
failed locally. In this case legislating for conformity created
a new criminal class and attracted a non-conformist reaction.
While only a few used cannabis and police did not have computer
records this probably did not affect a huge number of lives
statistically, but in the Sixties cannabis use spread among
all classes of the younger white generation, and increased in
use each year following.
Richard Nixon saw the general increase in drug experimentation
and use as a matter of national urgency and gave us the term
"Drug War" as he and his successors sought to control
a cultural phenomenon. Cannabis was declared the front line.
One generation of beliefs declared war on another generations.
By that time computers had made it possible for every misdemeanour
of your youth to haunt your whole life.
Now there are so many drug users in prison that governments
are privatising prisons in a bid to reduce the expense. The
Drug War might look sane to some from the outside, but most
within see it as a form of fearful madness with one type of
human outlawing another and discriminating on the basis of a
small point of difference. As a self proclaimed real criminal
in Grafton jail once told me with dismay, "They lower the
tone of the place! Used to be all real crims in here!"
- I did not bother telling him I was there for cannabis.
Please try to imagine walking in the shoes of a cannabis smoker.
Help end prohibition. Seek saner solutions.
and Mileposts in Hemp History
Chinese history tells that hemp was used for fibre, oil, and
3727 BC: Cannabis
called a "superior" herb in the world's first medical
text, Shen Nung's Pen Ts'ao, in China.
The oldest complete human body ever found was wearing a hemp
blouse with a silk like quality in the Alps near the Italian
border. The body had been buried by ice for four thousand years,
and was exposed by a heat wave.
The oldest "stash": Nearly two pounds
of still-green plant material found in a 2,700-year-old grave
in the Gobi Desert was identified in 2008 as the world's oldest
marijuana stash, according to a paper in the Journal of Experimental
Botany. A barrage of tests proves the marijuana possessed potent
psychoactive properties and casts doubt on the theory that the
ancients only grew the plant for hemp in order to make clothing,
rope and other objects. The body is assumed to be that of a
shaman, and in the absence of smoking implements, that the cannabis
was ingested or thrown on a fire and inhaled as practiced by
the later Scythians,
2000 B.C. - 1400
B.C. Cannabis mentioned in the Atharvaveda (Science
of Charms) as "sacred grass". Referred to as bhang
or bhanga. The legend of Shiva, Lord of Bhang
Ebers Papyrus (named after George Ebers) is an ancient Egyptian
medical text (era 1,550 BC). It's the oldest known (complete)
surviving medical text book still in existence, and mentions
medical marihuana (known then as Sum-Sum-et).
Cannabis-using Scythians sweep through Europe and Asia, settle
down everywhere, and invent the scythe.
700 B.C. - 600 B.C.
The Zoroastrian Zend-Avesta, an ancient Persian religious text
of several hundred volumes, and said to have been written by
Zarathustra (Zoroaster), refers to bhang as Zoroaster's "good
500 BC: Gautama
Buddha survives by eating hempseed.
Hemp was being cultivated in the middle east for the same purposes
as China. Herodotus records Scythians and Thracians as consuming
cannabis and making fine linens of hemp. Cannabis was thought
to be an Indo-European word specifically of Scythian Origin.
The Scythians are considered largely responsible for the spread
of cannabis into Europe.
Herodotus, an early Greek ethnographer, in the 5th Century
BC wrote of the Scythians and their use of cannabis.
Carthage and Rome struggle for political and commercial power
over hemp and spice trade routes in Mediterranean.
Paper made from hemp and mulberry is invented in China.
Recognised birth year of Jesus Christ.
AD: Roman surgeon Dioscorides names the plant
cannabis sativa and describes various medicinal uses.
Pliny tells of industrial uses and writes a manual on farming
A 14 year old girl dies in childbirth near Jerusalem. In 1993
researchers find residue of the drug with the skeleton of the
girl.The researchers said the marijuana probably was used by
a mid-wife trying to speed the birth, as well as ease the pain.
"Until now," the researchers wrote in a letter to
the journal Nature, "physical evidence of cannabis (marijuana)
use in the ancient Middle East has not yet been obtained."
The seven researchers -- from Hebrew University,
the Israel Antiquities Authority and the National Police Headquarters
forensic division -- said references to marijuana as a medicine
are seen as far back as 1,600 B.C. in Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek
and Roman writings. But physical evidence that the hemp weed,
cannabis sativa, was used for that purpose had been missing.
First botanical drawing of hemp in Constantinopolitanus. (Latinised
version of Constantinople, then a centre of learning.)
Germans, Franks, Vikings, etc. all use hemp fibre.
approx: Hemp was
first introduced into Europe, and by the sixteenth century it
was known to be the most widely cultivated crop in the world
producing rope, sails, cloth, fuel, paper, paint, food and medicine.
The English word 'hempe' first listed in a dictionary.
The Assassin movement, called the "new propaganda"
by its members, was inaugurated by al-Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah (died
in 1124), probably a Persian from Tus, who claimed descent from
the Himyarite kings of South Arabia. The motives were evidently
personal ambition and desire for vengeance on the part of the
heresiarch." (heresiarch: leader of heretical group) "As
a young man in al-Rayy, al-Hassan received instruction in the
Batinite system, and after spending a year and a half in Egypt
returned to his native land as a Fatimid missionary. Here in
1090 he gained possession of the strong mountain fortress Alamut,
north-west of Qazwin. Strategically situated on an extension
of the Alburz chain, 10200 feet above sea level, and on the
difficult but shortest road between the shores of the Caspian
and the Persian highlands, this "eagle's nest," as
the name probably means, gave ibn-al-Sabbah and his successors
a central stronghold of primary importance. Its possession was
the first historical fact in the life of the new order.
From Alamut the grand master with his disciples
made surprise raids in various directions which netted other
fortresses. In pursuit of their ends they made free and treacherous
use of the dagger, reducing assassination to an art. Their secret
organization, based on Ismailite antecedents, developed an agnosticism
which aimed to emancipate the initiate from the trammels of
doctrine, enlightened him as to the superfluity of prophets
and encouraged him to believe nothing and dare all. Below the
grand master stood the grand priors, each in charge of a particular
district. After these came the ordinary propagandists. The lowest
degree of the order comprised the "fida'is", who stood
ready to execute whatever orders the grand master issued. A
graphic, though late and secondhand, description of the method
by which the master of Alamut is said to have hypnotized his
"self-sacrificing ones" with the use of hashish has
come down to us from Marco Polo, who passed in that neighborhood
in 1271 or 1272. After describing in glowing terms the magnificent
garden surrounding the elegant pavilions and palaces built by
the grand master at Alamut, Polo proceeds:
"Now no man was allowed to enter the Garden
save those whom he intended to be his Ashishin. There was a
fortress at the entrance to the Garden, strong enough to resist
all the world, and there was no other way to get in. He kept
at his Court a number of the youths of the country, from twelve
to twenty years of age, such as had a taste for soldiering..
Then he would introduce them into his Garden, some four, or
six, or ten at a time, having first made them drink a certain
potion which cast them into a deep sleep, and then causing them
to be lifted and carried in. So when they awoke they found themselves
in the Garden.
"When therefore they awoke, and found themselves
in a place so charming, they deemed that it was Paradise in
very truth. And the ladies and damsels dallied with them to
their hearts' content. .."
"So when the Old Man would have any prince
slain, he would say to such a youth: 'Go thou and slay So and
So; and when thou returnest my Angels shall bear thee into Paradise.
And shouldst thou die, natheless even so will I send my Angels
to carry thee back into Paradise.'"
(from 'The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian',
translated by Henry Yule, London, 1875.)
The Assassination in 1092 of the illustrious vizir
of the Saljug sultanate, Nizam-al-Mulk, by a fida'i disguised
as a Sufi, was the first of a series of mysterious murders which
plunged the Muslim world into terror. When in the same year
the Saljug Sultan Malikshah bestirred himself and sent a disciplinary
force against the fortress, its garrison made a night sortie
and repelled the besieging army. Other attempts by caliphs and
sultans proved equally futile until finally the Mongolian Hulagu,
who destroyed the caliphate, seized the fortress in 1256 together
with its subsidary castles in Persia. Since the Assassin books
and records were destroyed, our information about this strange
and spectacular order is derived mainly from hostile sources.
As early as the last years of the eleventh century
the Assassins had succeeded in setting firm foot in Syria and
winning as convert the Saljug prince of Aleppo, Ridwan ibn-Tutush
(died in 1113). By 1140 they had captured the hill fortress
of Masyad and many others in northern Syria, including al-Kahf,
al-Qadmus and al-'Ullayqah. Even Shayzar (modern Sayjar) on
the Orontes was temporarily occupied by the Assassins, whom
Usamah calls Isma'ilites. One of their most famous masters in
Syria was Rachid-al-Din Sinan (died in 1192), who resided at
Masyad and bore the title 'shakkh al-jabal', translated by the
Crusades' chroniclers as "the old man of the mountain".
It was Rashid's henchmen who struck awe and terror into the
hearts of the Crusaders. After the capture of Masyad in 1260
by the Mongols, the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1272 dealt the
Syrian Assassins the final blow. Since then the Assassins have
been sparsely scattered through northern Syria, Persia, 'Uman,
Zanzibar, and especially India, where they number about 150000
and go by the name of Thojas or Mowlas. They all acknowledge
as titular head the Aga Khan of Bombay, who claims descent through
the last grand master of Alamut from Isma'il, the seventh imam,
receives over a tenth of the revenues of his followers, even
in Syria, and spends most of his time as a sportsman between
Paris and London.
Credit for entry above: THE ASSASSINS
by Philip K. Hitti
From _The Book of Grass: An Anthology on Indian Hemp_, edited
by George Andrews and Simon Vinkenoog.
Moslems use hemp to start Europe's first paper mill. Most paper
is made from hemp for the next 700 years.
1155 AD - 1221 AD:
Persian legend of the Sufi master Sheik Haidar's of Khorasan's
personal discovery of Cannabis and it's subsequent spread to
Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt and Syria. Another of the earliest written
narratives of the use of Cannabis as an inebriant.
1271 AD: The eating
of Hemp was so well known that Marco Polo described its consumption
in the secret order of Hashishins, who used the narcotic to
fool initiates into thinking they had experienced the afterlife.
The Assassins were an early terrorist group. These were people
with serious political motivation. (see 1090 AD) Note that the
drugs were given to stupefy, so that initiates would awaken
in a fake paradise, and believe the master had transported them
there through a potion. The cannabis was not a reward or incitement,
just a means of rendering initiates unconscious.
First time reports of cannabis have been brought
to the attention of Europe.
1419: Henry the Navigator of Portugal born. Up
till now ships had hugged the coastline, but under Henry ships
began exploration beyond the shores. On the basis of old texts
read by Henry, the Madeira Islands were rediscovered in 1420
and claimed by Portugal. In 1427 the Azores were discovered.
It was the beginning of the Age of Discovery
of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration, was
a period in human history starting in the 15th Century and continuing
into the 17th Century, during which Europeans explored the world
by ocean searching for trading partners and particular trade
goods. The most desired trading goods were gold, silver and
spices. Western Europeans used new sailing ship technologies,
new maps, and advances in astronomy to seek a viable trade route
to Asia for valuable spices which would be uncontested by Mediterranean
powers. In terms of shipping advances, the most important developments
were the creation of the carrack and caravel designs in Portugal.
These vessels evolved from medieval European designs from the
North Sea and both the Christian and Islamic Mediterranean.
They were the first ships that could leave the relatively placid
and calm Mediterranean, Baltic or North Sea and sail safely
on the open Atlantic." Wikipedia
AD: Hempen sails, caulking and rigging ignite
age of discovery and help Columbus and his ships reach America.
Many puritans follow over the next few centuries.
Hemp agriculture crosses the continent overland to Chile. Dutch
achieve Golden Age through hemp commerce. Explorers find 'wilde
hempe' in North America.
King Phillip of Spain orders hemp grown throughout his empire,
from modern-day Argentina to Oregon.
of Sail was the period in which international trade and
naval warfare were dominated by sailing ships, lasting from
the 16th to the mid 19th century. This is a significant period
during which square-rigged sailing ships carried European settlers
to many parts of the world in one of the most expansive human
migrations in recorded history. Like most periodic eras the
definition is inexact and close enough to serve as a general
description. The age of sail runs roughly from the Battle of
Lepanto in 1571, the last significant engagement in which oar-propelled
galleys played a major role, to the Battle of Hampton Roads
in 1862, in which the steam-powered CSS Virginia destroyed the
sailing ships USS Cumberland and USS Congress, finally culminating
with the advance of steam power, rendering sail power in warfare
Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654), listed a variety of medical
uses of the common european hemp (Cannabis sativa), including
anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti parasitic activity
Mayflower carried the Pilgrim Fathers to New Plymouth. America
beckons to many religious groups looking for a new start for
their followers to escape persecution or worldliness.
John Winthrop and many Puritans migrate to America
used as money throughout American colonies.
founded by Puritans
In the U.S. the state of Virginia rewarded farmers with bounties
for hemp culture and manufacture, and imposed penalties upon
those who did not produce it. George Washington grew hemp for
fibre and recreational use, and Thomas Jefferson acquired the
first American patent for his hemp break, a device used to separate
the hemp stalk into usable hurds and fiber with greater speed
than the retting of past. Without hemp America could not have
successfully waged the revolution, and for the next one hundred
and fifty years hemp enjoyed the position as America's top cash
Taylor "Estese" Coleridge born in England. Writes
beautiful poetry, but spends his life battling opium addiction.
Czar Alexander of Russia was forced to sign the treaty of Tilser,
which cut off all legal Russian trade with Great Britain, its
allies, or any other neutral nation ship acting as agents for
Great Britain. Napoleon hoped to stop Russian hemp from reaching
England, thereby destroying Britains navy by forcing it to cannibalise
sails, ropes and rigging from other ships; Napoleon believed
that Britain, starved of hemp, would be forced to end its blockade
of France and the continent. As a result of Napoleons actions,
hemp, which normally sold at twenty five pounds per tonne, reached
a price of one hundred and eighteen pounds per tonne in 1808.
The first paddlewheel steamships began to ply between the British
ports of Liverpool and Glasgow. It is the first sign of changing
times in the shipping business. Shipping will slowly change
to powered craft over the following century.
The old (left) coat of arms for the Belgian town of Hamme was
granted on January 31, 1818 and confirmed on May 13, 1913. The
arms show on the right half a branch of a hemp plant and on
the left half a branch of a flax plant (with blue flower). Both
were important crops in the early 19th century. Hemp was used
for ropes, flax for linen.
Thomas De Quincy published "Confessions of an English Opium
Eater", which became his masterpiece. In addition, he wrote
numerous essays on political, social, critical, historical and
The first Opium War between Great Britain and China. Early in
the 19th cent., British merchants began smuggling opium into
China in order to balance their purchases of tea for export
to Britain. In 1839, China enforced its prohibitions on the
importation of opium by destroying at Guangzhou (Canton) a large
quantity of opium confiscated from British merchants. Great
Britain, which had been looking to end China's restrictions
on foreign trade, responded by sending gunboats to attack several
Chinese coastal cities. China, unable to withstand modern arms,
was defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing (1842)
and the British Supplementary Treaty of the Bogue (1843). These
provided that the ports of Guangzhou, Jinmen, Fuzhou, Ningbo,
and Shanghai should be open to British trade and residence;
in addition Hong Kong was ceded to the British. Within a few
years other Western powers signed similar treaties with China
and received commercial and residential privileges, and the
Western domination of China's treaty ports began.
William B. O’Shaughnessy (1809–1889/90),
an Irish medical doctor stationed
in Calcutta, India, published in 1839 a comprehensive study
on Indian hemp. Thanks
mainly to his "On the Preparations of the Indian Hemp or
Gunjah", Cannabis indica now
also became recognised within European-school medicine. O’Shaugnessy
hemp compounds in his investigations, partly with great success,
against the following
indications: rheumatism, rabies, cholera, tetanus, convulsions
and delirium tremens.
With hashish he had found a well-suited medicine to give his
patients relief, and in the
case of cramps, even total disappearance of symptoms. For concluding
wrote: ‘The presented cases are a summary of my experience
with cannabis indica, and
I believe that this medicine is an anticonvulsivum of great
value’ (O’Shaughnessy, 1839).
In England Thomas Petit Smith,
an engineer, built a screw steamship that proved a complete
success. The vessel was a hundred and twenty five feet long,
twenty-two foot beam, and thirteen feet deep, and named .the
Archimedes. He took this vessel to Bristol in 1842, where marine
engineer Isambard K. Brunel, (see 1840) at once recognised its
advantages, changed the "Great Britain"'s plans, and
introduced a screw propeller in place of the paddlewheels.
The Great Western Company in Britain employ the chief marine
architect and engineer of that time, Isambard K. Brunel. The
Great Western Company asked him to devise a vessel that would
eclipse any craft afloat, and he advised the building of a three
thousand ton iron ship. His plans resulted in the Great
Britain. Brunel's original designs were for a side-wheeler,
but were changed to a screw propeller while the hull was being
built. Thereafter the use of a screw propeller grew more and
more common, and the design evolved into the even more efficient
propellers of today. The Great Britain still carried masts and
sails in case of engine problems. The glory days of sail may
have been numbered, but shipping still needed rope and the public
were slow to trust and accept these new metal hulled vessels
and their engines. Sailships remained viable into the 1920s.
Baudelaire, 19th century French poet, translator, and literary
and art critic, received his inheritance in April 1842 and rapidly
proceeded to dissipate it on the lifestyle of a dandified man
of letters, spending freely on clothes, books, paintings, expensive
food and wines, and, not least, hashish and opium, which he
first experimented with in his Paris apartment at the Hôtel
Pimodan (now the Hôtel Lauzun) on the Île Saint-Louis
between 1843 and 1845.
Mormons settle in Utah under Brigham Young, after years of moving
around since beginning in New York with Joseph Smith's vision
papermaking becomes more cost-effective than hemp through the
rise of assembly line manufacturing methods.
Hemp continues to be used for rope, birdseed, and other products.
Constant efforts to improve hemp and hemp products by producers
The Gold Rush brings many Chinese. Opium seen as a Chinese drug.
Racism enters the equation.
The second Opium War broke out following an
allegedly illegal Chinese search of a British-registered ship,
the Arrow, in Guangzhou. British and French troops took Guangzhou
and Tianjin and compelled the Chinese to accept the treaties
of Tianjin (1858), to which France, Russia, and the United States
were also party. China agreed to open 11 more ports, permit
foreign legations in Beijing, sanction Christian missionary
activity, and legalize the import of opium. China's subsequent
attempt to block the entry of diplomats into Beijing as well
as Britain's determination to enforce the new treaty terms led
to a renewal of the war in 1859. This time the British and French
occupied Beijing and burned the imperial summer palace (Yuan
ming yuan). The Beijing conventions of 1860, by which China
was forced to reaffirm the terms of the Treaty of Tianjin and
make additional concessions, concluded the hostilities.
Opium in anglo-saxon countries was sometimes referred
to as "a filthy Chinese practice". This seems highly
hypocritical when it was the west that forced Opium upon them
to maintain Tea supplies.
"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
was published in 1865, by Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an
English writer and brilliant mathematician, under the pen-name
he had first used some nine years earlier - Lewis Carroll.
"Through the Looking Glass" followed.Although he spent
so much of his life in the academic environment, Dodgson's real
passions were always artistic. He loved the theatre and the
company of 'theatricals'. He loved artists and their work. He
courted the bohemian life in a way that sometimes compromised
the required dignity of his position as an Oxford don. Earlier,
in 1861 he had become a deacon of the Anglican church, but,
despite his religious background, and in direct defiance of
the laws of his college, he refused to become a priest. Through
the image of the caterpillar with a hookah he will forever be
associated with cannabis.
The Prohibition Party is formed. Gerrit Smith, twice Abolitionist
candidate for President, an associate of John Brown, and a crusading
prohibitionist, declares: "Our involuntary slaves are set
free, but our millions of voluntary slaves still clang their
chains. The lot of the literal slave, of him whom others have
enslaved, is indeed a hard one; nevertheless, it is a paradise
compared with the lot of him who has enslaved himself to alcohol."
[Quoted in Sinclar, op. cit. pp. 83-84]
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union is founded in Cleveland.
In 1883, Frances Willard a leader of the W.C.T.U. forms the
World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
Laws in the United States, and the world, making "temperance
education" a part of the required course in public schools
The Personal Liberty League of the United States is founded
to oppose the increasing momentum of movements for compulsory
abstinence from alcohol. [Catlin, op. cit. p. 114]
Congress makes temperance education mandatory in the District
of Columbia, and in territorial, military, and naval schools.
By 1900, all the states have similar laws. [Crafts et. al.,
op. cit. p. 72]
Victoria"s personal physician, J.R. Reynolds described
it in 1890 as "One of the most valuable medicines we possess."
In another Lancet article published in 1890, he described the
use of cannabis indica for treating insomnia in the senile,
alcoholic delerium, neuralgia, migraine, spastic paralysis,
and convulsions. He allegedly prescribed tincture of cannabis
to Queen Victoria.herself for the treatment of menstrual cramps.
Cannabis tincture and an extract made from resin were available
from Peter Squire of Oxford St in 1864, and wholesale through
the Society of Apothecaries by 1871. Chemists extracted stuff
they called cannabene, cannabin tannin, cannabinnene etc but
had no idea which, if any, was the "active ingredient"
until cannabinol was isolated in 1895. THC was not isolated
German inventor Rudolph Diesel published a paper entitled "The
Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine," which
described an engine in which air is compressed by a piston to
a very high pressure, causing a high temperature. Fuel is then
injected and ignited by the compression temperature. Intended
fuel is vegetable and seed oils. Vision of a "people's
engine" Petrochemical industry does not encourage this
view, and see's alternative use of seed oils instead of gasoline
as threat to future sales.
Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (1894) to the British government,
comprising some seven volumes and 3,281 pages, is by far the
most complete and systematic study of marijuana undertaken to
date. Because of the rarity and, perhaps, the formidable size
of this document, the wealth of information contained in it
has not found its way into contemporary writings on this subject.
This is indeed unfortunate, as many of the issues concerning
marijuana being argued in the United States today were dealt
with in the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report.
"Viewing the subject generally, it may be
added that the moderate use of these drugs is the rule, and
that the excessive use is comparatively exceptional. The moderate
use practically produces no ill effects. In all but the most
exceptional cases, the injury from habitual moderate use is
not appreciable. The excessive use may certainly be accepted
as very injurious, though it must be admitted that in many excessive
consumers the injury is not clearly marked. The injury done
by the excessive use is, however, confined almost exclusively
to the consumer himself; the effect on society is rarely appreciable.
It has been the most striking feature in this inquiry to find
how little the effects of hemp drugs have obtruded themselves
on observation. The large number of witnesses of all classes
who professed never to have seen these effects, the vague statements
made by many who professed to have observed them, the very few
witnesses who could so recall a case as to give any definite
account of it, and the manner in which a large proportion of
these cases broke down on the first attempt to examine them,
are facts which combine to show most clearly how little injury
society has hitherto sustained from hemp drugs " : From
The English approach was that if people were doing
something you didn't want them to, that wasn't covered by the
commandments, you taxed it and made it expensive. Putting them
in jail would only cost the government to no benefit.
Cannabinols isolated and extracted.
runs his engine on peanut oil at World's Fair.
says Coca-Cola used to contain an estimated nine milligrams
of cocaine per glass, but in 1903 it was removed, in an atmosphere
of rising public concern over drug laced beverages and patent
medicines. Coca-Cola still contains coca flavouring. After 1904,
instead of using fresh leaves, Coca-Cola started using "spent"
leaves—the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process
with cocaine trace levels left over at a molecular level. To
this day, Coca-Cola uses as an ingredient a cocaine-free coca
leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company plant in Maywood,
The rise of "patent medicines", "tonics",
"baby soothers", "colic cures" and "cure-alls"
mercilessly marketed to a gullible public and often containing
addictive ingredients leads to attempts to control and regulate
medical compounds. Public awareness and fear of "addiction"
grows. Self medication is to be frowned upon and medication
control given to pharmaceutical companies and medical doctors.
1906: First US Foods and Drugs Act passed.
Shanghai International Opium Conference was held at
the insistence of USA, supported by European powers, China,
Japan, Siam and Persia.
The Foster Anti-narcotic Bill of 1910, the first of a series
of draft statutes that led to the Harrison Act, included cannabis.
Only the vigorous lobbying of the wholesale drug industry prevented
its appearance in the final legislation.
An Opium Conference at the Hague drafted the first treaty which
attempted to control opium and cocaine through world wide agreement.
In that year, Henry Finger, a California druggist newly appointed
as a delegate to the Hague conference wanted the US delegation
to propose cannabis control because of California’s problem
with a “large influx of Hindoos….demanding cannabis
indica” but was told that Italy already had a proposal.(
Hague International Convention
on Narcotics - to control the production and distribution of
raw and prepared opium (morphine and cocaine); it required parties
to Convention to ‘examine the possibility of making it
a penal offence to be in illegal possession of’ drugs
covered by the treaty.'
Utah passed the first state anti-marijuana law. Mormons who
had gone to Mexico in 1910 returned smoking marijuana. It was
later outlawed in that state as a result of the Utah legislature
enacting all Mormon religious prohibitions as criminal laws.
Thus Utah first state to enact laws against use of marijuana.
George W. Schlicten patented the Hemp Decorticator;
a farm-machine that mechanically separates the fibre in the
Hemp stalk. Heralds serious threat to wood pulping industry.
In England the Dangerous Drugs Act came into
force. Of interest here is that while the Americans also outlawed
the use of heroin for medical purposes, the English upheld this
usage and even found the provision of opiates, in this case
heroin, to addicts to be acceptable medical practice.
The Hague treaty of 1912 was 'as leaky as a sieve'
because it allowed the states to determine for themselves when
and how they would fulfil their obligations with regard to opium,
which of course kept the use of opium legal until that time.
The chemical derivatives did, however, fall under this commitment:
that their use was illegal, making these substances more than
opium, the object of the battle. To make this battle more effective
the League of Nations held two conferences which led to two
Geneva Conventions: one of 11 February and one on 19 February
Also around this time,William Randolph
Hearst, media mogul, billionaire and model for Orson
Welles' "Citizen Kane", campaigns against new drug
"marijuana". Most didn't realise Hemp was the same
thing. His aggressive efforts to demonize cannabis were so effective,
they continue to colour popular opinion today.
Hearst owned a good deal of timber acreage; one
might say that he had the monopoly on this market. He also had
paper-mill holdings, and a national network of newspapers and
magazines to spread wildly inaccurate and sensational stories
of the evils of cannabis or "marihuana". Other tabloids
jumped on the bandwagon, printing similar stories about crazed
mexicans and negros committing hienous crimes under the influence
The sheer number of newspapers, tabloids, magazines and film
reels that Hearst controlled enabled him to quickly and effectively
inundate American media with his propaganda. Hearst preyed on
existing prejudices by associating cannabis with Mexican workers
who he said threatened to steal American jobs and also African-Americans.
With no strong voice to the contrary, Hearst was persuasive
in his appeal to prejudice.
Hearst was not alone in his efforts to demonise hemp.
The new techniques would also make hemp a more
viable option for fabric and plastics. DuPont
chemicals, which at this time specialized in the chemical manufacturing
of synthetic fibre and plastics, and chemicals used in the process
of pulping paper might have seen hemp products as competition.
It was said Hearst and Lammont DuPont
had a multi-million dollar deal in the works for a joint
papermaking venture. These two moguls, together with DuPont's
banker, Andrew Mellon, combined and co-ordinated
their efforts to demonise "marijuana".
"yellow journalism" campaign (so called because
the paper developed through his and DuPont's methods aged
and yellowed rapidly) and the 1930 appointment of
Mellon's nephew-in-law, Harry J. Anslinger, to
Commissioner of the newly created Federal Bureau of Narcotics
put them in control of US Federal drugs policy. Anslinger
was a committed prohibitionist.
Race and Culture War View
Pot activist Jack Herer’s book The Emperor Wears
No Clothes is the prime source for the hemp-conspiracy
theory. It alleges that in the mid-1930s, “when
the new mechanical hemp fiber stripping machines to conserve
hemp’s high-cellulose pulp finally became state
of the art, available and affordable,” Hearst, with
enormous holdings in timber acreage and investments in
paper manufacturing, “stood to lose billions of
dollars and perhaps go bankrupt.” Meanwhile, DuPont
in 1937 had just patented nylon and “a new sulfate/sulfite
process for making paper from wood pulp” —
so “if hemp had not been made illegal, 80 percent
of DuPont’s business would never have materialized.”
Herer, a somewhat cantankerous former marijuana-pipe
salesman, deserves a lot of credit for his cannabis activism.
He was a dedicated grass-roots agitator for pot legalization
during the late 1980s, perhaps the most herb-hostile time
in recent history. Despite a substantial stroke in 2001,
he soldiers on; he’s currently campaigning to get
a cannabis-legalization initiative on the ballot in Santa
Barbara, California. The Emperor — an omnivorous
conglomeration of newspaper clippings and historical documents
about hemp and marijuana, held together by Herer’s
cannabis evangelism and fiery screeds against prohibition
— has been a bible for many pot activists. Unearthing
a 1916 Department of Agriculture bulletin about hemp paper
and a World War II short film that exhorted American farmers
to grow “Hemp for Victory,” Herer more than
anyone else revived the idea that the cannabis plant was
useful for purposes besides getting high. Unfortunately,
he’s completely wrong on this particular issue.
The evidence for a “hemp conspiracy” just
doesn’t stand up. It is far more likely that marijuana
was outlawed because of racism and cultural warfare.
Twentieth-century cannabis prohibition first reared its
head in countries where white minorities ruled black majorities:
South Africa, where it’s known as dagga, banned
it in 1911, and Jamaica, then a British colony, outlawed
ganja in 1913. They were followed by Canada, Britain and
New Zealand, which added cannabis to their lists of illegal
narcotics in the 1920s. Canada’s pot law was enacted
in 1923, several years before there were any reports of
people actually smoking it there. It was largely the brainchild
of Emily F. Murphy, a feminist but racist judge who wrote
anti-Asian, anti-marijuana rants under the pseudonym “Janey
Canuck.” All of this happened before Hearst, DuPont,
and Anslinger appeared, so they did not cause prohibition,
even if they may have exploited it.
In the United States, marijuana prohibition began partly
as a throw-in on laws restricting opiates and cocaine
to prescription-only use, and partly in Southern and Western
states and cities where blacks and Mexican immigrants
were smoking it. Missouri outlawed opium and hashish dens
in 1889, but did not actually prohibit cannabis until
1935. Massachusetts began restricting cannabis in its
1911 pharmacy law, and three other New England states
followed in the next seven years.
The hemp-conspiracy theory blames that law on Hearst
and DuPont’s plot to suppress hemp paper and cloth.
The theory is that the invention of a hemp processor known
as the “decorticator” made it easier, faster
and much more cost-effective to extract hemp fiber from
the stalks. In February 1938, Popular Mechanics hailed
hemp as the “New Billion Dollar Crop.” In
response, Hearst and DuPont, scared by the prospect of
hemp’s resurrection as a competitor for their products,
schemed to eliminate the plant.
However, The Emperor makes only three specific claims
to support that theory. One is the anti-marijuana propagandizing
of the Hearst newspapers. Second, it claims that Anslinger’s
anti-pot crusade was on behalf of Pittsburgh banker Andrew
Mellon, who supposedly was DuPont’s “chief
financial backer,” lending the company the funds
it needed to purchase General Motors in the 1920s. And
finally, The Emperor argues that DuPont anticipated the
Marihuana Tax Act in its 1937 annual report, which worried
that the company’s future was “clouded with
uncertainties” — specifically about “the
extent to which the revenue-raising power of government
may be converted into an instrument for forcing acceptance
of sudden new ideas of industrial and social reorganization.”
None of these claims stand up.
Claim 1: Hearst the propagandist
According to W.A. Swanberg’s extensive biography Citizen
Hearst, the Hearst chain was actually the nation’s largest
purchaser of newsprint — and when the price rose from $40
a ton to over $50 in the late 1930s, he fell so deep in debt to
Canadian paper producers and banks that he had to sell his prized
art collection to avert foreclosure. “It therefore seems
that it would have been in Hearst’s interest to promote
cheap hemp paper substitutes, had that been a viable alternative,”
Dale Gieringer wrote in his article, calling the hemp-conspiracy
theory “fanciful” and a “myth.”
In any case, the Hearst papers never needed hidden self-interest
to trumpet fiendish menaces. The expression “yellow journalism”
comes from Hearst’s campaign for a war against Spain in
1898. And from the 1930s on, his papers were finding RED SUBVERSIVES
and PINKO FELLOW-TRAVELERS under every bed. In 1935, a University
of Chicago professor accused of being a Communist by the Hearst-owned
Herald-Examiner told the Nation that the reporter covering him
had admitted, “We do just what the Old Man orders. One week
he orders a campaign against rats. The next week he orders a campaign
against dope peddlers. Pretty soon he’s going to campaign
against college professors. It’s all the bunk, but orders
Claim 2: The Anslinger-DuPont Connection
There was an Anslinger-Mellon connection. Anslinger was appointed
to head the Bureau of Narcotics by Andrew Mellon, his wife’s
uncle, who was treasury secretary in the Herbert Hoover administration.
However, it’s unlikely that DuPont needed to borrow money
to buy GM in the 1920s, as the company had done very well as the
leading manufacturer of explosives for the Allied forces during
World War I.
Historians find no evidence of a DuPont-Mellon connection either.
“General Motors was historically associated with the Morgan
group during that period,” Mark Mizruchi, a professor of
sociology and business administration at the University of Michigan,
told me in an email interview in 2003. Sociologist G. William
Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz, author
of Who Rules America?, concurred, saying it was safe to state
there was no connection. And in the 440-page tome considered the
definitive account of American banking and corporate finance during
the Depression era, Mizruchi added, Japanese historian Tian Kang
Go does not mention “even the smallest financial connection
between DuPont and Mellon.”
Claim 3: Dubious DuPont claims
The argument that DuPont’s 1937 complaint about federal
taxes had anything to do with hemp is an extremely dubious
stretch. If the company had been talking about the government
eliminating a competitor by levying a prohibitive tax,
it wouldn’t have been worrying about the uncertainty
of foreseeing new federal imposts. It would have been
celebrating its newly cleared path. Given the context
of the times, it’s almost certain that this statement
was merely typical 1930s corporate-class whining about
the New Deal’s social programs and business regulations
— akin to current corporate-class complaints about
government “social engineering.”
Prohibition’s racist history
The belief that marijuana prohibition came about because of the
secret machinations of an economic cabal ignores the pattern of
every drug-law crusade in American history. From the 19th-century
campaigns against opium and alcohol to the crack panic of the
1980s, they have all been fueled by racism and cultural war, conflated
with fear of crime and occasionally abetted by well-intentioned
reform impulses. (The financial self-interest of the prison-industrial
complex has been a more recent development.) The first drug-prohibition
laws in the United States were opium bans aimed at Chinese immigrants.
San Francisco outlawed opium in 1875, and the state of California
followed six years later. In 1886, an Oregon judge ruled that
the state’s opium prohibition was constitutional even if
it proceeded “more from a desire to vex and annoy the ‘Heathen
Chinee’… than to protect the people from the evil
habit,” notes Doris Marie Provine in Unequal Under Law:
Race in the War on Drugs. In How the Other Half Lives, journalist
Jacob Riis wrote of opium-addicted white prostitutes seduced by
the “cruel cunning” of Chinese men.
For the rest of the article this is sourced from:
See also the history section of EnglischeFassungGlobalesRegulierungsmodell.pdf
for the happened by "pure chance" point of view.
Canada adds cannabis to a list of prohibited drugs.
Convention adds cannabis to Hague Convention narcotic list
at the urging of the South African colonial government.
A permanent Central Opium Board to supervise international trade
in controlled drugs is set up.
In 1925, South Africa asked the Advisory Committee
on the Traffic in Opium and Dangerous Drugs to consider the
inclusion of “marijuana”. The secretariat distributed
a questionnaire seeking information about the production, use,
and trafficking of this drug. Despite this, the 1925 Convention
did not yet include marijuana on the list of narcotics. The
Egyptian delegate then introduced a special motion to include
it, which was passed.
Signatories were to make it illegal to export Indian Hemp to
any country where its use was prohibited. Where sale was permitted,
sales were to be monitored by the use of certificates.
The late Robert Kendell commented
by the Egyptian delegation that [cannabis] was as dangerous
as opium, and should therefore be subject to the same
international controls, was supported by several other
countries. No formal evidence was produced and conference
delegates had not been briefed about cannabis.’
Robert Kendell, "Cannabis condemned:
the proscription of Indian hemp Addiction", 2003,
pages 98, 143–151
1929: The term
“cannabis indica” was replaced by “cannabis
sativa”in the Hague narcotic list. This was a consequence
of a British firm seeking to export “cannabis africanis”
to Canada. Advice was sought, and the advice was to use the
all-inclusive term “cannabis sativa”.
The (Federal) Bureau of Narcotics
(FBN) was established in July that year when President Herbert
Hoover appointed that same Harry J. Anslinger
its first Commissioner of Narcotics, a position he held under
four U.S. presidents, spanning more than three decades.In meetings
with hemp industry representatives he tells them that any new
laws wont affect legitimate hemp producers.
In America each state has it's own drug laws,
under State's Rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. The
American Federal Government has sought to gain control in this
area by relying on the Commerce and Trade provisions of the
Constitution to justify national drug laws, and to try to make
them binding on the individual states, otherwise federal authorities
could only intervene when illegal activities crossed state lines.
When the first set of uniform drug laws were presented
to the forty something states, only five or so took them up
within the year. Individual states were not that worried about
it that there was any great hurry. That's when the "demon
weed, marihuana" stories hit the headlines, scaring the
voters, and thus making uniform drug laws a high priority for
any state politician that wanted votes.
Anslinger never tires of the "marihuana
causes death, murder, and insanity" line the whole thirty
three years he is in office. He has had more influence on Federal
US Drug Policy than any other.
Convention on the Limitation Period in the International Sale
of Goods (New York) - signatories to give estimates of legitimate
controlled drug needs. Embargoes against signatories exceeding
5:32 P.M. on December 5, 1933, Utah became the required 36th
state to ratify the 21st Amendment, thus officially ending National
Prohibition. Alcohol controls were gone, but those on
other drugs remained in place.
group made"Tell Your Children" as
an educational film, directed by Louis Gasnier, but the footage
was soon bought by "exploitation" film maker Dwain
Esper, some extra salacious footage inserted, and it was re-released
as "Reefer Madness" in 1938. It was
not a success until rediscovered by NORML in the Seventies.
Marijuana Tax Act - $1.00 on every hemp transaction regardless
of size, and a mountain of paperwork to be filled in, passed
on Anslinger's brief advice. Crippling blow to reviving hemp
industry. Sterilised seed for birdfeed exempted from definition
of Marihuana, because this was only irreplaceable use of hemp
that was acknowledged. Nothing else adds condition to a bird,
or helps them sing, like hempseed. Read the Marijuana Tax Act
Dupont files patent for nylon.
Sunrise industries proclaim product advantages,
gain preferential treatment as "the next big thing",
and try to gain commercial advantage over competitors. The petrochemical,
drug, and woodpulp paper industries all competed with Hemp products.
Congress was lobbied by William C. Woodward, of
the American Medical Association, and Ralph Lozier of the National
Oil Seeds Institute, representing the interests of lubricant
and paint manufacturers. Woodward testified that the plant was
perfectly legal and harmless, and said, tellingly:
"We cannot understand yet, Mr Chairman,
why this bill should have been prepared in secret for two years
without any initiative, even to the profession, that it was
being prepared... No medical man would identify this bill with
a medicine untill he read it through, because marihuana is not
a drug, simply a name given to cannabis..."
He later wrote to the committee, warning that:
"The obvious purpose and effect of
this bill is to impose so many restrictions on the medicinal
use as to prevent such use altogether... It may serve to deprive
the public of the benefits of a drug that on further research
may prove to be of substantial value"
Ralph Loziers of the National Oil Seed Institute
testified to the members of the Tax Act committee that "hemp
seed... is used in all the Oriental nations and also in a part
of Russia as food. It is grown in their fields and used as oatmeal.
Millions of people every day are using hemp in the orient as
food. They have been doing that for many generations, especially
in periods of famine....". As Loziers noted, it
wasn’t just the possibilities of an important food industry
which would be squashed by the Marijuana Tax Act, but also the
paint and varnish industry would be greatly affected as hemp
seed oil was a valuable drying agent and in the two years prior
to the installation of the Tax Act 179 million pounds of hemp
seed had been imported into the US for this purpose alone. Anslinger
said his few words, the same ones, and the Bill was passed.
“New Billion-Dollar Crop” article published by Popular
Mechanics. This article revealed the details of the new machine,
a decorticator, that removed the fibre from the stalk thereby
drastically reducing the human labour factor.
"Assassin of Youth" by H. J. Anslinger
& Cortney Riley Cooper published. It is a scaremongering
diatribe based on an earlier pamphlet by Anslinger.
"Its first effect is sudden, violent, uncontrollable
laughter; then come dangerous hallucinations -space expands
- time slows down, almost stands still....fixed ideas come next,
conjuring up monstrous extravagances...leading finally to acts
of shocking violence, ending often in incurable insanity."
Movie called "Marijuana - Assassin Of Youth"
made with Luana Walters, Arthur Gardner, Fay McKenzie, Michael
Owen, Dorothy Short, Dorothy Vaughan, Earl Dwire, Fern Emmett,
Henry Roquemore, Hudson Fausset, Eddie Johnson, Gay Sheridan,
Directed by Elmer Clifton, Writing credits: Charles A. Browne,
Elmer Clifton (story), Leo J. McCarthy
Hilarious exploitation scare film showing good girls turning
into fiends after smoking wacky weed. Some versions had the
moonlight nude scenes cut. A.K.A. "Assassin of Youth."
(More propaganda quotes)
"Reefer Madness" movie re- release.
Canada prohibits production of hemp under Opium
And Narcotics Control Act.
Harvest" movie released.
Henry Ford demonstrates hemp-fibre bodied car.[Similar product
take the Phillipines, cutting off America's supply of imported
Manilla Hemp products. "Hemp for Victory"
Campaign to encourage farmers to cultivate hemp. Exemption from
active duty one of the incentives.
"Marihuana, Assassin of Youth, Feeding the God Moloch",
by the Rev. Robert Devine published.
US Hemp farming again banned. The wartime need for rope has
For some time America even denied wartime hemp had been officially
grown, until embarassing evidence came into the public domain
in the nineteen nineties, forcing an admission.
United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs
adopted at America's urging. Because of international resistance,
the penal measures eventually adopted are moderate and devised
to avoid conflict with the different legal systems of the Parties.Other
countries are increasingly required to adopt Federal U.S. style
drug laws. Marihuana is still classed as a narcotic.
Anslinger finally steps down after 33 years of shaping and enforcing
US drug policy.
isolated in vitro. The extremely delicate and costly equipment
needed to manufacture it has left THC solely in the hands of
professional laboratories under regulated, contract to a limited
number of bona-fide drug researchers.
Teenage Baby Boomers experiment with drugs. Pot invades white
america. Flower Power and Hippies challenge cultural assunptions.
United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
The major novelty in these two conventions was the attention
to providing facilities for medical treatment, care and rehabilitation
of addicts. Moreover, as Western social attitudes towards drug
use became more relaxed in the 1960s and 1970s, the search for
more effective non-penal methods of treating and rehabilitating
drug users resulted in a more elastic interpretation of international
obligations by some states.
However, this did not result in a fundamental change. On the
contrary, under the influence of the United States, law enforcement
co-operation became a priority for the UN. When, by the mid-1980s,
the problem of money laundering grew, so did the growth of the
global consciousness of the dangers of the illicit traffic and
the need for greater international co-operation.This lead to
the 1988 Convention.
Colorado decriminalises on the first of July.
decriminalises on New Years day. Minnesota follows on the fourth.
Ohio in November. Maine decrininalises.
New York state decriminalises in July.
By now California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Oregon
-- have in effect decriminalized minor marijuana offences. Some
recriminalise after a year or so leaving nine states
In Holland a new policy option is introduced,
that of toleration. This implies that activities that in themselves
are punishable by law are nevertheless allowed to continue,
if the policy makers decide that this option causes less harm.
This will be decided on a local level, in a meeting of the mayor,
chief of the police and the public prosecutor. So called "house
dealers" had been dealing cannabis in youth centres in
the years before, but now the decision can be made to allow
them to do their job. Furthermore, coffee shops emerge, shops
that do sell coffee, tea and soft drinks (in some cases alcoholic
drinks also), but whose ultimate reason for existence is the
sale of cannabis products. These too are generally left alone,
unless they violate the regulations that have been established
by the local authorities. The status of these regulations is
a curious one: they are binding on a local level, but do not
have the force of law. The result is that regional differences
in policy crop up and continue to exist till today.
United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
Alaska recriminalises, but court challenge stymies change.
Dutch policy towards the coffee shops is formalised,
along the lines that were developed in Amsterdam. Coffee shops
are not allowed to advertise their trade, sell hard drugs, be
the cause of nuisance, sell to youngsters under 18 (in some
municipalities this age is 16) or sell wholesale. What "advertising"
means precisely differs from one municipality to the next. In
1994 the criteria are standardised even more: the age limit
becomes 18, advertising is better circumscribed. The maximum
amount of cannabis that can be sold per customer is set at 30
grams - and dropped to 5 grams in 1996. Local differences still
exist in the number of coffee shops allowed and in the sale
of alcohol on the premises.
history of Dutch drug policy for a very well written and
reasoned overview of Dutch Drug Policy. Now why couldn't Australia
be this clued up?
Oregon decriminalises again....
passes medical marijuana bill, forced to supply patients by
courts. Due to unworkability of existing marihuana laws cannabis
decriminalised to end legal deadlock. New US Federal Drug Czar
appalled, makes veiled threats, but will not attend Canadian
enquiry to argue against it.
UK and Switzerland move to decriminalise.
After an appeals court found an initiative to
decriminalise cannabis valid, Alaska voters will have a chance
to vote for decriminalization on the 2004 ballot. But it may
be a moot point, given last month's appeals court ruling that
there is no law against marijuana possession in the home in
US Supreme Court refuses to deny doctors the right to suggest
cannabis. Declines the case on basis of free speech. Feds wanted
ruling denying right to even suggest it. Nine states are decriminalised,
and thirty five states have passed legislation recognizing marijuana's
medicinal value. But federal law bans the use of pot under any
Britain amended its drug laws in 2004 to downgrade
cannabis from a Class B drug to a Class C "soft" drug.
On Tuesday, June 7, 2005, the US Supreme Court dealt a blow
to the medical marijuana movement, ruling that the federal government
can still ban possession of the drug in states that have eliminated
sanctions for its use in treating symptoms of illness.
By a vote of 6 to 3, the court ruled that Congress's constitutional
authority to regulate the interstate market in drugs, licit
or illicit, extends to small, homegrown quantities of doctor-recommended
marijuana consumed under California's Compassionate Use Act,
which was adopted by an overwhelming majority of voters in 1996.
The ruling does not overturn laws in California and 10 other
states, mostly in the West, that permit medical use of marijuana.
In 2003, Maryland reduced the maximum fine for medical users
of less than an ounce of the drug to $100.
But the ruling does mean that those who try to use marijuana
as a medical treatment risk legal action by the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration or other federal agencies and that the state
laws provide no defense.
(Comparison of European Drug Laws)
July 29th: Marc Emery, Greg Williams, Michelle
Rainey, and other Cannabis Culture activists arrested in Canada
pending extradition to US for cross border seed sales.
British officials reject an appeal to reclassify cannabis as
a Class B prohibited substance. Their rejection was in accordance
with the recommendations of the British Advisory Council on
the Misuses of Drugs (ACMD) which determined that marijuana's
relative health risks do not warrant increasing penalties for
those who use it.
"The harmfulness of cannabis to the individual remains
substantially less than the harmfulness caused by substances
currently controlled under the [law] as Class B," such
as amphetamines, the ACMD concluded. The agency further added
that cannabis presented only a "very small risk" to
users' mental health, including the onset of schizophrenia.
The Federal American government is still trying to stop the
world from smoking pot, even for medical purposes as authorised
by some of its own state legislatures.
Australia is party to these treaties and has similar
laws, though some Australian states have altered or are thinking
of altering them. Some Euopean nations are changing their laws.
Some U.S. states have long refused to conform to their federal
model too. Essentially, this is also a consequence of the United
States Federal Government's continuing desire to gain greater
power than that granted to it under the American Constitution,
both over it's own states, and the rest of the world.
"The reasons the pro-marijuana lobby
wants marijuana legal have little to do with getting high, and
a great deal to do with fighting oil giants like Saddam Hussein,
Exxon and Iran. The pro-marijuana groups claim that hemp is
such a versatile raw material that its products not only compete
with petroleum, but with coal, natural gas, nuclear energy,
pharmaceutical, timber and textile companies. It is estimated
that methane and methanol production alone from hemp grown as
bio-mass could replace 90% of the world's energy needs. If they're
right, this is not good news for oil interests, and could account
for the continuation of marijuana prohibition." Hugh Downs,
(US) ABC Radio Network journalist.
There is that, but I have tried the legal
drugs, and some illegal ones, and the one I find least harmful
is Cannabis. I'd prefer to see it legal. The furore around it
is out of all proportion. The humble plant has aroused some
obscure, but powerful fear in conservative forces. None of them
can say clearly why or how marihuana is evil, but take it as
a tenet of some common faith without question.
What is this automatic alarm, and how do we
turn it off? (Editor)
An excellent historical
perspective on HEMP Part-1
by Jasmin Malik Chua
Nimbin MardiGrass Law Reform Rally
will be held on the First Sunday
in May every year to encourage Australia to
change its laws, and for all to have a good time.
Remenber, it is easier to argue with the wise,
than it is to argue with the ignorant. Stay cool.
If you feel you have information that should be
included in this history, or that something is incorrect, feel
free to send that information and inclusion will be considered.......
Thank you for pot smoking and may the
force be busy elsewhere attending real crimes......