The Crazy History of Hemp
How and Why is there a stigma surrounding Hemp?
In exploring and discovering the benefits of CBD, my biggest question has been why is it I have never heard all this before? How have we all been kept in the dark about the benefits of the cannabis plant.
The short answer….American Greed. Powerful men changing laws and public opinion to shut down competition and put money in their own pockets.
Who you ask? Great Americans like William Randolph Hearst, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, DuPont Company and Harry Anslinger (Mellon’s nephew and first head of Federal Bureau of Narcotics). But first a brief history of hemp up until 1937.
The history of Hemp goes back over 10,000 years and was a huge industry worldwide until a few powerful men made it illegal. Up until the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 hemp-based products were being used for paper, fuel for cars (Ford), medicine, paint, clothing, rope and much more. Hemp was one of the worlds most widely used agricultural products.
Competing with the hemp industry was the Dupont Company. Dupont made lots of petroleum-based chemicals that were involved in the making of gasoline, processing tree-pulp paper and numerous other synthetic products. Also, they were also very close to patenting nylon.
One of DuPont’s largest backers was Andrew Mellon. Mellon was possibly the richest man in America when he was appointed Treasury Secretary by President Harding. Mellon was a rich banker who also ran Gulf Oil Corporation. Mellon as Treasury Secretary arranged for his buddies at DuPont to receive a loan to buy General Motors.
DuPont’s sulfate and the sulfite process that made trees into paper brought another ally, Mr. William Randolf Hearst. The Hearst Corporation as the largest newspaper publisher of the day and was a huge consumer of tree-plup paper, Hearst also owned millions of acres of timberland and logging companies. His newspapers, by the way were notorious for “yellow journalism”, what we might call today “fake news”.
So basically, hemp was a serious competitor for gasoline, paper and numerous other products DuPont produced including soon to be patented nylon. As for Hearst, he had lost over 800,000 acers of prime timberland to Pancho Villa’s “cannabis-smoking” troops in border skirmishes between 1916-1917. The land was reclaimed by Pancho Villa in the name of the Mexican peasants and the reclamation stood.
Needless to say, Hearst hated Mexicans along with all minorities. Hearst, who was always a fan of prohibition now wanted cannabis included in every anti-narcotic bill. It did not matter that cannabis was not a narcotic, the facts don’t matter when you have the power to use your newspaper empire to print and report your own agenda. So, in the early 1920’s the country started reading about this terrible drug called marihuana. Headlines shouted horrific stories about murderous rampages by blacks and Mexicans stoned on marihuana. Hearst’s papers we publishing completely unsubstantiated “fake” news.
In 1932 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed and Mellon’s nephew Harry Anslinger was appointed to lead it (a job in Mellon’s Treasury Department created just for him). In 1935 the hemp industry was a thriving business worldwide, at the same time the country was in the Great Depression. Congress was looking for ways to cut the budget. Anslinger, fearing his department might get emasculated decided with Mellon and their co-conspirators to create a new “monster”. And while they are at it, get rid of their competition, the hemp industry. Thus, they began the secret process of drafting a new bill called The Marihuana Tax Act.
The task of drafting a bill in secret that would get through both Congress and the Court fell upon the Treasury’s Department’s general counsel Herman Oliphant. When the billed was being debated the Hemp Industry and the Medical Industry were both caught off guard, they had no idea that hemp was to be considered “Marihuana”. Marihuana was a slang term from the yellow journalism in the papers. And the papers, was where all the information presented to Congress was obtained. Anslinger in testifying before Congress stated under oath “This drug is entirely the monster Hyde, the harmful effects of which cannot be measured”. The hearing, incidentally was not in front of the full house of Congress, only the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by DuPont ally Robert Doughton of North Carolina.
The act passed without a roll call vote. The result of the Marihuana Tax Act put the entire hemp industry completely under the control of special interests that included, petrochemical companies, timber companies, pharmaceutical companies, alcohol, tobacco companies and the politicians they supported.
So, there you have it. The hemp industry destroyed. All research into the medical benefits and all research into an alternative for fossil fuels now illegal. And a new “monster” for several Federal Government Agencies to justify their huge budget in “protecting us” from. Imagine for a moment the wars, opioid addictions and deaths and the number of minorities imprisoned all due to the greed of a few powerful men.
This blog was sourced heavily from a piece written in 1990’s by Bud Fairly. For a more complete and better written version, please see https://www.ozarkia.net/bill/pot/blunderof37.html.