Myth, Magic & Medicine:
A Look at the Sociology of Cannabis
Use Throughout World History
Contrary to popular conception, "marijuana" is not a phenomenon rooted in the 1960's.
Cannabis hemp is part of our heritage and was the backbone of our most stable and longest surviving cultures.
Recent psycho-pharmacological studies have discovered THC has its own unique receptor sites in the brain, indicating man and marijuana have a precultural relationship indeed, human culture could very well prove to be the blossom of our symbiosis with cannabis.
What's in a Name (Part 2)
The following is derived from the 1913 U.S.D.A. Agriculture Yearbook section on hemp by Lyster Dewey, p. 283-293:
The name "hemp," derived from the Old English "hanf," came into use in Middle English by 1000 C.E. and still belongs primarily to cannabis sativa. It is also used to designate the long fiber obtained from that plant: the earliest, best-known, and, until recently, the most widely used textile fiber on Earth.
It has long been regarded as the standard among long fibers. As such, its name has come to be used as a generic term for all long fibers, whereas Indian hemp or true hemp denotes cannabis hemp. Now commodity markets list names like "Manila hemp," abac¦; "sisal hemp," sisal, and henequen; "Mauritius hemp," for Furcraea fiber; "New Zealand hemp," phormium; "Sunn hemp," Crotalaria; and "India hemp," for jute. All these plants are unlike true hemp in appearance and in economic properties. Curiously, the name "hemp" is never applied to flax, which is more nearly like hemp than any other commercial fiber.
True hemp is known in different languages by the following names: cannabis, Latin; chanvre, French; canamo, Spanish; canhamo, Portuguese; canapa, Italian; canep, Albanian; konopli, Russian; konopi and penek, Polish; kemp, Belgian; hanf, German; hennup, Dutch; hamp, Swedish; hampa, Danish; kenevir, Bulgarian; ta-ma, si-ma, and tse-ma, Chinese; asa and taima, Japanese; nasha, Turkish; kanabira, Syrian; kannab, Arabic.
First Known Cannabis Users
Ancient and modern historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, philologists cite the physical evidence (artifacts, relics, textiles, cuneiform, languages, etc.) indicating that cannabis is one of humanity's oldest cultivated crops. The weaving of hemp fiber as an industry began 10,000 years ago, at approximately the same time as pottery making and prior to metal working.*
* Columbia History of the World, Harper & Row, NY, 1981.
From at least the 27th Century B.C.E. until this century, cannabis was incorporated into virtually all cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, Europe, & Africa. By the 27th Century B.C.E., the Chinese cultivated "Ma" (cannabis hemp) for fiber, medicine, and herbal use. 3,700 years later (circa 1000 C.E.), China called cannabis "Tai-Ma," or "great hemp," to differentiate it from the minor fiber plants, which were grouped under the generic fiber term "Ma." Their pictogram for true hemp is a large "man," indicating the strong relationship between man and hemp.
(Shen Nung Pharmacopoeia; Ponts'ao Ching; Han Dynasty classics; et al.)
Between 2300 B.C. & 1000 B.C.:
Nomadic tribes, probably from central Asia and Persia (Iran and Iraq), and referred to in legend as "Aryans," invaded and overran virtually the entire Mediterranean and Middle East and spread out over the Caucasus and west into Europe.
In the course of these movements and invasions the nomads introduced cannabis and its various uses north and west through Greece, Europe, the Middle East, to Egypt and Africa, and south and east "over" the Himalayas to India.
Hemp was incorporated into the cultures of the Middle East and India for its vast food, oil, fiber, medicinal, and drug uses. Not only was hemp a staple of everyday life; hemp medicines and drugs were a ritual link to the gods.*
* Generally, those who grew and/or used hemp for everyday industrial uses did not know and were not taught (by religious law/threat/taboo) that their priest/shaman/witch doctor/etc. used different extractions from different parts of the exact same plant for sacrament, medicine, unguent, and as a commune with the Gods.
Hemp and the Scythe
Cannabis was undoubtedly used by the Scythians for many reasons. For example, the ancient Scythians grew hemp and harvested it with a hand reaper that we still call a scythe. Cannabis inhalation by the Scythians in funeral rituals was recorded by the Greek Historian Herodotus (circa 450 B.C.E.) in the early 5th Century B.C.E. The nomadic Scythians introduced the custom to other races such as the Thracians.
(Emboden, W.A., Jr., Flesh of the Gods, Praeger Press, NY, 1974.)
Thread of Civilization
From at least the 27th Century B.C.E. up until this century, cannabis was incorporated into virtually all the cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, Europe, and Africa for its superior fiber, medicines, oils, food, and for its meditative, euphoric, and relaxational uses.
Hemp was one of our ancestors' most important overall industries, along with tool making, animal husbandry, and farming.
Hemp to Enforce the Law
The hemp plant has had a curious relationship with the world's legal codes throughout the ages. As noted before, it has variously been illegal to grow hemp and not to grow it at different times. But hemp has also played a direct role in law enforcement.
For example: The most serious punishment/rehabilitation meted out in many African tribes for capital crimes was forcing the transgressor to smoke massive amounts of dagga (cannabis) non-stop for hours on end in a small, enclosed hut until he passes out literally unconscious from inhaling the fumes. The equivalent of a year or two's supply for a heavy American smoker is consumed in just an hour or so. Does it work? African users say the rate of repeat criminal offenses after dagga treatment is virtually non-existent.
European and American cultures used hemp to enforce their laws in a more terminal form of capital punishment: the hangman's noose* of hempen rope. * "Merry boys are we / As e're did sing / In a hempen string / Under the gallows tree." John Fletcher Rollo, Duke of Normandy; Act III, sc. 3; 1639. "We're bound to stop this business, or hang you to a man / For we've hemp and hand enough in town to hang the whole damn clan." From a horse thief's tombstone in Rapid City, SD, 1877: Shushan, E.R.; Grave Matters; Ballantine Books, NY, 1990. Also see Hemp for Victory, USDA film; 1942.
Cannabis Herbal Medicines
The secret art of hemp medicine was found effective as wound healer, muscle relaxant, pain reliever, fever reducer, and unparalleled aid to childbirth, not to mention hundreds of other medicinal applications. (Mikuriya, Tod H., M.D., Marijuana: Medical Papers, 1839-1972, MediComp Press, Oakland, CA 1973; Shultes, R.E., Harvard Botanical; Ency. Brittanica; Abel, Ernest, Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years; Plenum Press, 1980; Vera Rubin, Cannabis and Culture, Institute for the Study of Man; et. al.)
The division of information about this sacred herb and its industrial hemp uses were strictly maintained by the priests for thousands of years, up until the last few centuries. Those outside the priestly class who possessed drug knowledge were considered (by the priests, of course) to be witches/soothsayers/outlaws and the ilk, and were often condemned to death.
The Mystic Philosophers
Cannabis legend and consumption are fundamental aspects of many of the world's great religions. For example:
SHINTOISM (Japan)Cannabis was used for the binding together of married couples, to drive away evil spirits, and was thought to create laughter and happiness in marriage.
HINDUISM (India)The God Shiva is said "to have brought cannabis from the Himalayas for human enjoyment and enlightenment." The Sardu Priests travel throughout India and the world sharing "chillum" pipes filled with cannabis, sometimes blended with other substances. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna states, "I am the healing herb" (Ch. 9:16), while the Bhagarat-purana Fifth Canto describes hashish in explicitly sexual terms.
BUDDHISTS (Tibet, India, and China)From the 5th Century B.C.E. on ritually used cannabis; initiation rites and mystical experiences were (are) common in many Chinese Buddhist Sects. Some Tibetan Buddhists and lamas (priests) consider cannabis their most holy plant. Many Buddhist traditions, writings, and beliefs indicate that "Siddhartha" (the Buddha) himself, used and ate nothing but hemp and its seeds for six years prior to announcing (discovering) his truths and becoming the Buddha (Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path). Regarding the
ZOROASTRIANS or Magi (Persia, circa 8th to 7th Centuries B.C.E. to 3rd to 4th Centuries C.E.), it is widely believed by many Christian scholars, commentators, etc., that the three "Magi" or Wise Men who attended the birth of Christ were cult references to the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian religion was based (at least on the surface) on the entire cannabis plant, the chief religious sacrament of its priest class, and its most important medicine, (e.g., obstetrics, incense rites, anointing and christening oils), as well as lighting or fire oils in their secular world. The word "magic" is generally considered derived from the Zoroastrians"Magi."
The ESSENES (ancient Israeli sect of extreme Hebrewites approx. 200 B.C.E. to 73 C.E.) used hemp medicinally, as did the THERAPUTEA (Egypt), from whom we get the term "therapeutic." Both are believed by some scholars to be disciples of, or in a brotherhood with, the priests/magician of the Zoroastrians.
EARLY JEWS As part of their holy Friday night services in the Temple of Solomon, 60-80,000 men ritually passed around and inhaled 20,000 incense burners filled with kanabosom (cannabis), before returning home for the largest meal of the week (munchies?).
SUFIS OF ISLAM (Middle East)Moslem "mystical" priests who have taught, used, and extolled cannabis for divine revelation, insight, and oneness with Allah, for at least the last 1,000 years. Many Moslem and world scholars believe the mysticism of the Sufi Priests was actually that of the Zoroastrians who survived Moslem conquests of the 7th and 8th Centuries C.E. and subsequent conversion (change your religion and give up liquor or be beheaded).
COPTIC CHRISTIAN (Egypt/Ethiopia)Some sects believe the sacred "green herb of the field" in the Bible ("I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more." Ezekiel 34:29) and the Biblical secret incenses, sweet incenses, and anointing oils to be cannabis.
The BANTUS (Africa) had secret Dagga Cults,* societies which restricted cannabis use to the ruling men. The Pygmies, Zulus, and Hottentots all found it an indispensable medication for cramps, epilepsy, and gout, and as a religious sacrament.
*Their "Dagga" cults believed Holy Cannabis was brought to earth by the Gods, in particular from the "Two Dog Star" system that we call Sirius A and B. "Dagga" literally means "cannabis." Interestingly, the surviving IndoEuropean word for the plant can also be read as "canna," "reed" and "bi," "two," as well as 'canna,' as in canine; and 'bis,' meaning two (bi) ß "Two Dogs."
The RASTAFARIANS (Jamaica and elsewhere) are a contemporary religious sect that uses "ganja" as its sacred sacrament to communicate with God (Jah).
United States government-funded studies at St. Louis Medical University in 1989 and th eU.S. government's National Institute of Mental Health in 1990 moved cannabis research into a new realm by confirming that the human brain has receptor sites for THC and its natural cannabis cousins to which no other compounds known thus far will bind.
In order for a chemical to affect the brain it must bind to a receptor site capable of receiving it.
(Omni, August 1989; Washington Post, Aug 9, 1990)
Although morphine fits the receptor sites of beta-endorphin roughly, and amphetamines correspond loosely to dopamine, these drugs as well as tricyclics and other mood altering drugs present grave danger to the subtle balance of the nerves' vital fluids. Omni and the Washington Post cited no physical dangers in natural cannabis.
One reason cannabis is so safe to use is that it does not affect any of the involuntary muscles of breathing and life support. Rather, it affects its own specific receptor cites for motion (movement strategy) and memory (mental strategies).
On the molecular level, THC fits into receptor sites in the upper brain that seem to be uniquely designed to accommodate THC. This points to an ancient symbiosis between the plant and people.
Perhaps these neuronal pathways are the product of a pre-cultural relationship between humans and cannabis. Carl Sagan proposes evidence using the Bushmen of Africa to show hemp to have been the first plant cultivated by humanity dating to when he was a hunter-gatherer. Some scientist assume that these receptor sites did not evolve for the purpose of getting high: "There must be some kind of neuronal pathway in the brain that developed, whether there were cannabis plants or not," speculated mystified St. Louis University pharmacology professor Allyn Howlett in 1989.
But, maybe not. In his book Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise, Dr. Ronald K. Siegel, psycho-pharmacologist at UCLA indicates the motivation to achieve altered states of consciousness or moods is a fourth drive akin to hunger, thirst, and sex. And humans aren't the only ones to get high. Siegel recorded numerous observations of animal intentionally getting intoxicated during his experiments.
Cannabis hemp is part of our cultural, spiritual, and physiological heritage, and was the backbone of our most stable and long surviving cultures. So, if you want to know the long term effects of marijuana use look in the mirror!
Cloaked in Secrecy
The dawn of religious beliefs for all races and peoples Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Persian, Babylonian, Greek, Doric, Germanic and other European tribes, and even those of Africa and North, South, and Central American derived from accidental discoveries.
There were near-death experiences, deprivations starvation, fasting, breath control, thirst, fever and uncontrolled revelry due to accidental fermentation or extraction of wine, beer, psilocybe and Amanita mushrooms, cannabis wine (bhang), and other psychoactives which, when consumed, induced inexplicable, elevated experiences (compared to normal brutish experience). Chemicals in these sacred plants and herbs gave our ancestors unexpected, unprepared for, unbelievable visions and journeys into the far corners of incredible consciousness and, sometimes into feelings of universal brotherhood.
Understanding these drug-induced experiences and medications eventually became the most wondrous, desirable, and necessary spiritual knowledge for each tribe. Healing! From which extraction? At what dose?
Holding this mystical tribal knowledge for future generations was a priceless task. To know which plants induced which experiences at what level and mixture meant power for the bearer of such wisdom!
Thus, this "sacred store" of knowledge was jealously guarded by the herbal doctor/priest, and cryptically encoded in oral and written traditions and myths. Plants with psychoactive powers were embued with human or animal attributes, for example, the Amanita Muscaria mushroom ring was represented by faeries.
To keep their political power, the priests, witch doctors, and medicine men deliberately withheld these traditions from the "common" tribal members (and all other tribes). This also prevented the dangerous "sin" of accidental ingestion, concoction, or experimentation by the children of the tribe; nor could captured tribal members give up this sacred knowledge to their enemies.
These "old-time" drug and out-of-body religions and rituals, dating back to pre-history, were called "Oriental Mystery Religions" by the Romans from the Caesars' time on.
Hemp was a major industry in biblical times. As in other cultures throughout the Middle East, the Hebrew tradition of mysticism (e.g., Cabala) was aware of, and entwined with, regional sects using natural intoxicants in their rituals. As usual, they hid this knowledge behind rituals, symbols and secret codes to protect natural sacraments like "sacred mushrooms" and mind-elevating herbs, including cannabis.
Allegro, J.M.; Sacred Mushroom & the Cross, Doubleday Co., 1970.
What Does the Bible Say?
Finding the encoded references to cannabis and other drugs is made more difficult by the lack of botanical names, discrepancy in translations, use of different "books" by different denominations, commentaries added to original texts, and periodic priestly purges of material considered inappropriate.
However, we find that the use of cannabis is never forbidden or even discouraged in the Bible. Some passages directly refer to the goodness of using herbs like cannabis - and even go on to predict prohibition.
"And the Earth brought forth grass and herb-yielding seed after its kind and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed after its kind and: and God saw that it was good." Genesis: Chapter 1: Verse 12 (King James Version of the Bible, unless noted).
"God makes the Earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent man should not neglect." Sirach: 38:4 (Catholic Bible).
"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; That which cometh out of the mouth defileth a man." Jesus quoted: Matt. 15:11.
"In later times, some shall . . . speak lies in hypocrisy . . . commanding to abstain from that which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and now the truth." Paul: 1 Tim. 4:1
Historians, early artworks, Bibles, manuscripts, Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic Gospels, letters from early church fathers, etc., indicate that for the first 300- 400 years A.D., many early Christian sects were gentle and loving. They were usually open, tolerant and unstructured: a poor man's or slave's religion.
Rome considered Christianity to be simply another bothersome Oriental Mystery Cult, like those of Mithra or Isis, then the most popular in the Empire.
The Holy Roman Empire
Faced with a crumbling empire, political corruption, and a series of ruinous wars with barbarians, the old Roman Empire hovered on the brink of disaster. The religious contortions undertaken by the ruling body in Rome to maintain its earthly power led the political leaders to crack down on healthy diversity in the field of individual cults and religions.
To save itself politically, the formerly pantheistic (meaning tolerant of different worships) government of the empire changed its policy.
Starting in 249 C.E., various emperors launched a string of bloody persecutions, which included the troublesome Christians. By 306 C.E., it was clear that this was not working. Emperor Constantine called off the executions and began to patronize the Christian clergy, which promptly adopted a dogma lifted from "Mithraism," among other religions: "Royal Blood by Birth," the "Divine Right to Rule other humans."
The ambitious Constantine saw that while underground, the church had developed into an intolerant, tightly-knit hierarchy; a well organized network second in influence only to his own. By combining church and state, each was able to double its power and seek out the crimes/sins of all its political rivals and enemies with the full support/blessing of the other.
Columbia History of the World, Harper & Row, NY, 1981.
Constantine soon converted to Christianity and declared one mandatory, monistic, state-empowered religion: the Roman Catholic Church (R.C.Ch.); literally, the Roman Universal Church ("catholic" is Latin for "universal"). This was now the absolute and official religion of the empire. In one sweep, all secret societies were outlawed which might have threatened his (and Rome's) mandate to rule the known world, as they had for the previous 400 consecutive years.
After running from the Roman Empire's police for almost 300 years, Christian Orthodox priests had become their bosses. Starting in the 4th, 5th, and 6th Centuries C.E., pagan religions and all the different Christian sects, belief systems, knowledge, gospels, etc., such as the Essenes, Gnostics, and Merovingians (Franks), were either incorporated into or edited out of official doctrine and hierarchy.
Finally, in a series of councils, all contrary dogmas (e.g., that the Earth was round, and the sun and stars were more than five to 17 miles away) were summarily outlawed and driven underground during the Dark Ages, 400- 1000+ C.E.
By the early Middle Ages, at the beginning of the 11th Century C.E., virtually all powers were placed in the hands of the Church and Pope; first, by Germanic conquerors, and later by powerful Spanish and French Kings and powerful Italian merchants and nobles (the Borgias, Medicis, and other megalomaniacs) probably to protect their trade secrets, alliances, and sources of wealth.
All European people were forced to adhere to the "Holy" Roman Empire policy: Zero tolerance by a fundamentalist church/police-state with blind faith in one, unquestioned version of how to worship God and the Pope's infallibility.
Political rulers aided and abetted the Church in this fraud, as their power now rested only on their new Christian dogma, the patriarchal "Divine right" to rule.
They enacted laws with fantastically vicious punishments for even the slightest infraction or heresy.* Heretics were mercilessly sought out by fanatical, sadistic inquisitors using perverted forms of torture to extract confessions and as punishment.
* Webster's dictionary defines "Her-e-sy (her‘e se)" as 1: a religious belief that is opposed to church dogma. 2: any opinion (in philosophy, politics, etc.) opposed to official or established views or doctrines. 3: the holding of any such belief or opinion.
This system kept most of the Western world's inhabitants in a state of constant terror, not only for their own physical safety and freedom, but also for their eternal spirit, with "Hell" lurking mere inches below the surface for those excommunicated by the church.
The Politics of Paper
Reference to cannabis and other spiritual drug use is often hidden in art during periods of repression. Stylized hemp leaves surround the angels' heads, and their halos resemble the cap of the amanita muscaria mushroom in The Third Day of Creation, entrance hall of San Marco painted in Venice, Italy. (Sixth to Seventh Century C.E.)
The masses of people, "the commons," were kept in check through a dual system of fear and enforced ignorance. All learning except the most rudimentary was controlled and strictly regulated by the priests.
The commons (about 95% of the people) were forbidden to learn to read or write not even an alphabet and often were punished or put to death for doing so.
The people were also forbidden to learn Latin, the language of the Bible. This effectively enabled the few priests who could read to interpret the scriptures any way they pleased for about 1,200 years, until the reformation in Europe, circa 1600.
To prohibit knowledge, people were literally kept in the dark, without a piece of paper to write on. The monasteries preserved and guarded hemp's secrets. They saw that it held two threats to this policy of absolute control: paper making and lamp oil.
Something had to be done.
Cannabis Medicines Forbidden
While embracing wine as a Sacrament, and tolerating beer and hard liquor, the Inquisition outlawed cannabis ingestion in Spain in the 12th Century, and France in the 13th. Many other natural remedies were simultaneously banned. Anyone using hemp to communicate, heal, etc. was labeled "witch."
Saint Joan of Arc, for example, was accused in 1430-31 of using a variety of herbal "witch" drugs, including cannabis, to hear voices.
Church Sanctioned Legal Medicines
Virtually the only legal medical cures allowed to people of Western Europe by the Roman Catholic Church Fathers at this time were:
1. (a) Wearing a bird mask for plague (see picture). (b) Setting fractured bones or cleaning burns.
2. Bleeding pints and even quarts of blood from all flu, pneumonia, or fever patients (victims) was the most used treatment in Europe and America by doctors until the beginning of the 1900's. It does not work! And did not work for thousands of years no matter how much blood they took.
3. Praying to specific Saints for a miraculous cure, e.g., St. Anthony for ergotism (poisoning), St. Odilla for blindness, St. Benedict for poison sufferers, St. Vitus for comedians and epileptics.
4. Alcohol was legal for a variety of problems. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII singled out cannabis healers and other herbalists, proclaiming hemp an unholy sacrament of the second and third types of satanic mass. This persecution lasted for more than 150 years.
Satanic knowledge and masses, according to the Medieval Church, came in three types:
To Summon or Worship Satan; To Have Witch's Knowledge (e.g., herbalists of chemists) of making, using, or giving others any unguent or preparation including cannabis as medicine or as a spiritual sacrament;
The Mass of the Travesty, which can be likened to "the Simpsons", "In Living Color", rap music, Mel Brooks, "Second City-TV", "Monty Python", or "Saturday Night Live" (Father Guido Sarducci-type group) doing irreverent, farcical, or satirical take-offs on the dogmas, doctrines, indulgences, and rituals of the R.C.Ch. mass and/or its absolute beliefs.
Because medieval priest bureaucrats thought they were sometimes laughed at, ridiculed, and scorned by those under its influence often by the most learned monks, clerics, and leading citizens ingesting cannabis was proclaimed heretical and Satanic.
Despite this centuries-long attack by the most powerful political and religious force in Western civilization, hemp cultivation continued in Northern Europe, Africa, and Asia. While the church persecuted cannabis users in Europe, the Spanish conquistadors were busy planting hemp everywhere around the world to provide sails, rope, oakum, clothes, etc.
Yet, Hemp Endured.
The then sadistic Ottoman Empire conquered Egypt and, in the 16th Century C.E., tried to outlaw cannabis because Egyptian hemp growers along the Nile were leading tax revolts. The Turk complained that cannabis use caused Egyptians to laugh and be disrespectful to their Sultan and his representatives. In 1868, Egypt became the first modern(?) country to outlaw cannabis ingestion, followed in 1910 by white South Africa to punish and stop the blacks practicing their ancient Dagga cult and religions.
In Europe, hemp was widely used both industrially and medicinally, from the Black Sea (Crimean) to the British Isles, especially in Eastern Europe. The papal ban on cannabis medicines in the Holy Roman Empire in 1484 was quite unenforceable north of the Alps, and to this day the Romanians, Czechs, Hungarians, and Russians dominate the world cannabis agronomy.
In Ireland, already world famous for its cannabis linen, the Irish woman who wanted to know whom she would eventually marry was advised to seek revelation through cannabis.
Eventually, the hemp trades once again became so important to the empire builders who followed (in the Age of Discover/Reason, the 14th to 18th Centuries) that they were central to the intrigues and maneuverings of all the World's great powers.
The Age of Enlightenment
The 18th Century ushered in a new era of human thought and civilization; "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!" declared the colonists in America. "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" replied their French cousins. The concepts of modern constitutional government, which guaranteed human rights and separation of church and state, were unified into a policy designed to protect citizens from intolerant and arbitrary laws.
In his landmark essay, On Liberty, Ogden Livingston Mills, whose philosophy shaped our democracy, wrote that "Human liberty comprises, first, the inward domain of consciousness in the most comprehensive sense: liberty of thought and feeling, Scientific, moral or theological, Liberty of tastes and pursuits."
Mills asserted that this freedom of thought or of "mind" is the basis for all freedoms. Gentleman farmer Thomas Jefferson's immortal words, "I have sworn upon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man," are engraved into the marble of his Memorial in Washington D.C.
Abraham Lincoln was an avowed enemy of prohibition. His wife was prescribed cannabis for her nerves after his assassination. Virtually every president from the mid-19th Century up until prohibition routinely used cannabis medicines (See chapter 12: 19th Century use).
Close acquaintances of John F. Kennedy, such as entertainers Morey Amsterdam and Eddie Gordon* say the president used cannabis regularly to control his back pain (before and during his term) and actually planned on legalizing "marijuana" during his second term a plan cut short by his assassination in 1963. "How Heads of State Got High," High Times, April, 1980 (see appendix in paper version of this book).
* As reported directly to this author by Eddie Gordon, renowned harmonica virtuoso, member of the Harmonicats, and the number-one harmonicist in the world, who smoked with Kennedy and performed numerous times for him.
More recently, former president Gerald Ford's son Jack and Jimmy Carter's son Chip admit to having smoked pot in the White House. George Bush's vice president Dan Quayle* had a reputation for smoking grass and using drugs in college. Ronald and even former first lady Nancy "Just Say No" Reagan are reported to have smoked pot in the California Governor's mansion.
* "Smoke Screen: Inmate Sues Justice Department Over Quayle-Pot Coverup," Dallas Observer, August 23, 1990. Kelley, Kitty, Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography, Doubleday Co., NY, 1991.
Economics: The Very Model
of a Modern Inquisition
For cannabis-related knowledge, or hundreds of other "sins"Owning a devil's tool (dinner fork), reading a sorcerer's book or speaking in tongues (foreign language), having a different faith, having a witch's habit (taking a bath or falling into a river), etc.From 10% to as many as 50% of the people in Western Europe were tortured or put to death without trial during the medieval Roman Catholic Church's 500-year Inquisition (12th to 17th Centuries).
While most suffered, some profited handsomely. The Pope could declare anything "heresy," and use it as an excuse to legally rob, torture, and kill his enemies or anyone else accused. For more than 300 years, inquisitors divided up the property forfeited to them by suspected witches and heretics. Whoever denounced you got 1/3 of your property, 1/3 went to the government, and 1/3 went to the Papal hierarchy.
"Beware the scribes which devour widow's houses." Jesus, quoted: Luke 20:46
This perverted prosecution-for-profit model, used almost exactly the same way today by state and federal drug warriors, and just as self-righteously, was given to us at the insistence of president Ronald Reagan in 1984 and was written for Congress by then Congressman Dan Lungren, former California Attorney General. In actuality, once the government seizes a property, more than 90% are never returned by the courts. Everyone from informant, to the police and the prosecutor now share in the bounty of forfeited goods.
In fact, while British common law is the basis for our modern legal system, forfeiture law relies on the medieval concept of the cursed object"deodand" (from the Latin "deo", god, and "dand", give; meaning that any object causing human death was forfeited to the crown)Is the basis for American laws of seizure and confiscation of property rather than against persons.
Why? Simple. People have guaranteed legal rights; property does not! Thomas Jefferson wrote and acted on behalf of hemp many times, smuggling rare seeds into America, redesigning the hemp brake, keeping his farm and garden journals in which, on March 16, 1791, he wrote: "The culture [of tobacco] is pernicious. This plant greatly exhausts the soil. Of course, it requires much manure, therefore other productions are deprived of manure, yielding no nourishment for cattle, there is no return for the manure expended. "It is impolitic. The fact well established in the system of agriculture is that the best hemp and the best tobacco grow on the same kind of soil. The former article is of first necessity to the commerce and marine, in other words to the wealth and protection of the country. The latter, never useful and sometimes pernicious, derives its estimation from caprice, and its value from the taxes to which it was formerly exposed. The preference to be given will result from a comparison of them: Hemp employs in its rudest state more labor than tobacco, but being a material for manufactures of various sorts, becomes afterwards the means of support to numbers of people, hence it is to be preferred in a populous country. "America imports hemp and will continue to do so, and also sundry articles made of hemp, such as cordage, sail cloth, drilling linen and stockings"
THE HEMP WAR OF 1812
NAPOLEON INVADES RUSSIA
This is a piece of history that you may have been a little bit hazy about when they taught it in school: You might well have asked, "What the heck were we fighting about, anyway?"
Here we present the events that led up to the Battle of New Orleans, which, due to slow communications, was actually fought on January 8, 1815, two weeks after the war had officially ended on December 24, 1814, by the signing of a peace treaty in Belgium.
1700's AND EARLY 1800's
Cannabis hemp is, as it has been for thousands of years, the biggest business and most important industry on the planet. Its fiber (see chapter 2, "Uses") moves virtually all the world's shipping. The entire world's economy uses and depends upon thousands of different products from the marijuana plant.
Russia, because of its cheap slave/serf labor1, produces 80% of the western world's cannabis hemp and finished hemp products, and is, by far, the world's best-quality manufacturer of cannabis hemp for sails, rope, rigging, and nets.
Cannabis is Russia's number-one trading commodity ahead of its furs, timber and iron. 1.
1740 TO 1807
Great Britain buys 90% or more of its marine hemp from Russia; Britain's navy and world sea trade runs on Russian hemp; each British ship must replace 50 to 100 tons of hemp every year or two. There is no substitute; flax sails, for example, unlike hemp sails, would start rotting in three months or less from salt air and spray!
1793 TO 1799
ON The British nobility is hostile toward the new French government primarily because the British are afraid that the 1789-93 French Revolution of commoners could spread, and/or result in a French invasion of England and the loss of its Empire and, of course, its nobility's heads.
1803 TO 1814
Britain's navy blockades Napoleon's France, including Napoleon's allies on the Continent. Britain accomplishes the blockade of France by closing its (France's) English Channel and Atlantic (Bay of Biscay) ports with its navy; also, Britain controls absolute access to and from the Mediterranean and Atlantic, by virtue of its control of the straits of Gibraltar.
1798 TO 1812
The fledgling United States is officially "neutral" in the war between France and Britain. The United States even begins to solve its own foreign problems by sending its navy and marines (1801-1805) to the Mediterranean to stop Tripoli pirates and ransomers from collecting tribute from American Yankee traders operating in the area. "Millions for Defense not a penny for Tribute" was America's rallying cry, and the incident came to be memorialized in the second line of the Marine Corps' hymn: "To the shores of Tripoli."
Napoleon, needing money to press war with Great Britain and pursue control of the European continent, bargain-sells the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million, or roughly two-and-a-half cents per acre.
This area is about one-third of what is now the 48 contiguous states.
The Louisiana Purchase gives rise to some Americans' mostly Westerners' dreams of "Manifest Destiny." That is, the United States should extend to the utmost borders of North America: From the top of Canada to the bottom of Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
1803 TO 1807
Britain continues to trade and buy 90% of its hemp directly from Russia.
Napoleon and Czar Alexander of Russia sign the Treaty of Tilset, which cuts off all legal Russian trade with Great Britain, its allies, or any other neutral nation ship acting as agents for Great Britain in Russia.
The treaty also sets up a buffer zone, the Warsaw Duchy (approximately Central Eastern Poland) between Napoleon's allies and Russia.
Napoleon's strategy and his most important goal with the treaty is to stop Russian hemp from reaching England, thereby destroying Britain's navy by forcing it to cannibalize sails, ropes, and rigging from other ships; and Napoleon believes that eventually, with no Russian hemp for its huge navy, Britain will be forced to end its blockade of France and the Continent.
1807 TO 1809
The United States is considered a neutral country by Napoleon, as long as its ships do not trade with or for Great Britain, and the United States considers itself to be neutral in the war between France and Great Britain.
However, Congress passes the 1806 Non-Importation Pact: British articles which are produced in the U.S., but which could also be produced elsewhere, are prohibited. Congress also passes the 1807 Embargo Act, to wit: American ships could not bring or carry products to or from Europe.
These laws hurt America more than Europe; however, many Yankee traders ignored the law anyway.
1807 TO 1814
After the Treaty of Tilset cuts off their Russian trade, Britain claims that there are no neutral countries or shipping lanes.
Hence, any ship that trades with Napoleon's "Continental System" of allies are the enemy and are subject to blockade.
On this pretext, Britain confiscates American ships and cargo and sends sailors back to the United States at American ship owners' expense.
Britain "impresses" some American sailors into service in the British Navy. However, England claims that they only "impress" those sailors who are British subject and whose American shipping companies refused to pay for the sailors' return fares.
1807 TO 1810
Secretly, however, Britain offers the captured American traders a "deal" (actually a blackmail proposition) when they "overhaul"Board and confiscate an American ship and bring it into an English port.
The deal: Either lose your ship and cargo's forever, or go to Russia and secretly buy hemp for Britain, who will pay American traders with gold in advance, and more gold when the hemp is delivered back.
At the same time, the Americans will be allowed to keep and trade their own goods (rum, sugar, spices, cotton, coffee, tobacco) to the Czar for hemp ß a double profit for the Americans.
1808 TO 1810
Our shrewd Yankee traders, faced with the choice of either running British blockades and risking having their ships, cargo, and crews confiscated or acting as secret (illegal) licensees for Britain, with safety and profits guaranteed, mostly choose the latter.
John Quincy Adams (later to become president), who was American Consul at St. Petersburg, in 1809 noted:
"As many as 600 clipper ships, flying the American flag, in a two week period, were in Kronstadt" (the Port of St. Petersburg, once called Leningrad in the former USSR) loading principally cannabis hemp for England (illegally) and America, where quality hemp is also in great demand.
(Bennis, John Q. Adam and the American Foreign Policy, New York, NY, Alfred A. Knopf, 1949.)
The United States passes the 1809 Non-Intercourse Act which resumes legal trade with Europe, except for Britain and France. It is soon replaced with the Macon Bill resuming all legal trade.
1808 TO 1810
Napoleon insists that Czar Alexander stop all trade with the independent United States traders as they are being coerced into being illegal traders for Great Britain's hemp.
Napoleon wants the Czar to allow him to place/station French agents and troops in Kronstadt to make sure the Czar and his port authorities live up to the treaty.
1808 TO 1810.
The Czar says "Nyet!" despite his treaty with France, and turns a "blind eye" to the illegal American traders, probably because he needs the popular, profitable trade goods the Americans are bringing him and his nobles as well as the hard gold he is getting from the Americans' (illegal) purchases of hemp for Great Britain.
Napoleon's allies invade the Duchy of Warsaw.
Napoleon orders the Czar to stop all trade with the American traders! The Czar responds by withdrawing Russia from that part of the Treaty of Tilset that would require him to stop selling goods to neutral American ships.
1810 TO 1812.
Napoleon, infuriated with the Czar for allowing Britain's life blood of navy hemp to reach England, builds up his army and invades Russia, planning to punish the Czar and ultimately stop hemp from reaching the British Navy.
1811 TO 1812.
England, again an ally and full trading partner of Russia, is still stopping American ships from trading with the rest of the Continent.
Britain also blockades all U.S. traders from Russia at the Baltic Sea and insists that American traders have to now secretly buy other strategic goods for them (mostly from Mediterranean ports), specifically from Napoleon and his allies on the Continent who by this time are happy to sell anything to raise capital.
The United States, cut off from 80% of its Russian hemp supply, debates war in Congress.3
Ironically, it is representatives of the western states who argue for war under the excuse of "impressed" American sailors. However, the representatives of the maritime states, fearful of loss of trade, argue against war, even though it's their shipping, crews, and states that are allegedly afflicted.
Not one senator from a maritime state votes for war with Great Britain, whereas virtually all western senators vote for war, hoping to take Canada from Britain and fulfill their dream of "Manifest Destiny," in the mistaken belief that Great Britain is too busy with the European wars against Napoleon to protect Canada.
It's interesting to note that Kentucky, a big supporter of the war which disrupted the overseas hemp trade, was actively building up its own domestic hemp industry.
At this time, 1812, American ships could pick up hemp from Russia and return with it three times faster than shippers could get hemp from Kentucky to the East coast over land (at least, until the Erie Canal was completed in 1825; shortening travel time dramatically by as much as 90%).
The western states win in Congress, and on June 18, 1812, the United States is at war with Britain.
America enters the war on the side of Napoleon, who marches on Moscow in June of 1812.
Napoleon is soon defeated in Russia by the harsh winter, the Russian scorched-earth policy, 2,000 miles of snowy and muddy supply lines and by Napoleon not stopping for the winter and regrouping before marching on Moscow, as was the original battle plan.
Of the 450,000 to 600,000 men Napoleon start with, only 180,000 ever make it back.
1812 TO 1814
Britain, after initial success in war with the United States (including the burning of Washington in retaliation for the earlier American burning of Toronto, then the colonial Canadian capitol), finds its finances and military stretched thin with blockades, war in Spain with France, and a tough new America on the seas.
Britain agrees to peace, and signs a treaty with the United States in December, 1814. The actual terms of the treaty give little to either side.
In effect, Britain agrees it will never again interfere with American shipping.
And the United States agrees to give up all claims to Canada forever (which we did, with the exception of "54-40 or Fight").
1813 TO 1814
Britain defeats Napoleon in Spain and banishes him to Elba, but he escapes for 100 days.
Britain defeats Napoleon at Waterloo (June 18) and banishes him to St. Helena Island off Antarctica where, in 1821, he dies and his hairs and private parts are sold to the public for souvenirs.
Tragically for Britain, more than two weeks after the December 24, 1814, signing of the Ghent peace treaty between the United States and Britain, Andrew Jackson defeats a huge British attack force at New Orleans (January 8, 1815) while news of the treaty slowly makes its way across the Atlantic.
20TH CENTURY American, British, French, Canadian, and Russian schools each teach children their own, completely different versions of history with virtually no mention of hemp in this war (nor, in the American versions, at any other time in history).
1. Russia under the Czars' and Russian Orthodox Church's domination continued to have virtual slave/serf/peasant labor for making hemp until 1917. 2. One of America's leading foreign trade deficits, until this century, was to Russia for hemp.
3. Crosby, Alfred, Jr., America, Russia, Hemp & Napoleon, Ohio State University Press, 1965. This situation only began to improve after the 1898 (Spanish-American War) conquest and acquisition of the Philippines with its (cheap) "coolie" labor and manila-hemp (abaca).
4. Adams, John Q., microfilms, Mass. Historical Society, Boston, MA.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wish to apologize to history buffs for all the nuances I have left out from the outline of the 1812 Wars (for example, the involvement of the Rothschild's, the Illuminati, stock market manipulations, etc., but I did not want to write "War and Peace". It's been done. My intention is that our children are taught a true, comprehensive history in our schools, not watered-down nonsense that hides the real facts and makes the War of 1812 totally unintelligible and seemingly without rhyme or reason when taught in school by teachers who don't have the foggiest reason why it was fought. But it's no wonder. Our American school teachers themselves often haven't the foggiest understanding of why this war was really fought. If they do know or have recently learned they are generally much too intimidated to teach it.
Cannabis Drug Use in 19th Century America