Nimbin MardiGrass 2004

HEMP History

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8500 BC: Chinese history tells that hemp was used for fibre, oil, and as medicine.

3727 BC: Cannabis called a "superior" herb in the world's first medical text, Shen Nung's Pen Ts'ao, in China.

2000 B.C. - 1400 B.C. Cannabis mentioned in the Atharvaveda (Science of Charms) as "sacred grass". Refered to as bhang or bhanga. The legend of Shiva, Lord of Bhang

2700 BC: The oldest complete human body ever found was wearing a hemp blouse with a silk like quality. The body had been buried by ice for four thousand years, and was exposed by a heat wave.

1500 BC: 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 narcotic"

Gautama Buddha
500 BC: Gautama Buddha survives by eating hempseed.

450 BC: 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.

300 BC: Carthage and Rome struggle for political and commercial power over hemp and spice trade routes in Mediterranean.

100 BC: Paper made from hemp and mulberry is invented in China.

1 AD: Recognised birth year of Jesus Christ.

Dioscorides100 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 hemp.

390 AD: 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 has been missing.

500 AD: First botanical drawing of hemp in Constantinopolitanus. (Latinised version of Constantinople, then a centre of learning.)

600 AD: Germans, Franks, Vikings, etc. all use hemp fibre.

1000 AD 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.

1090 AD: 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 by 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 th 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 secondhad, 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.

1150 AD: 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 ealiest written narratives of the use of Cannabis as an inebriant.

Marco Polo
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 experience the rewards in store for them in the afterlife. The Assassins were an early terrorist group. These were people with serious political motivation. (see 1090 AD) Note that the drugs were a reward for acts already performed, and not, as some have misrepresented, an incitement.

First time reports of cannabis have been brought to the attention of Europe.

Age of Rigging1492 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.

1545: Hemp agriculture crosses the continent overland to Chile. Dutch achieve Golden Age through hemp commerce. Explorers find 'wilde hempe' in North America.

1564: King Phillip of Spain orders hemp grown throughout his empire, from modern-day Argentina to Oregon.

1616-1654: Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654), listed a variety of medical uses of the common european hemp (Cannabis sativa), including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiparasitic activity

1620: 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.

1630: John Winthrop and many Puritans migrate to America

1631: Hemp used as money throughout American colonies.

1636: Harvard founded by Puritans

1762: 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 crop.

1772: Samuel Taylor "Estese" Coleridge born in England. Writes beautiful poetry, but spends his life battling opium addiction. (1772-1834)

1807: 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 belived 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.

Hamme1818: 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.

1822: 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 philosophical subjects.

1839: 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.

1842: 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.

1847: Mormons settle in Utah under Brigham Young, after years of moving around since beginning in New York with Joseph Smith's vision around 1830.

1850: Tree-pulp 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 and others.
The Gold Rush brings many Chinese.Opium seen as a Chinese drug. Racism enters the equation.

Opium War1856: 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.

Alice1865: "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.

1869: 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]

1874: 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.

1882: Laws in the United States, and the world, making "temperance education" a part of the required course in public schools are enacted.
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]

1886: 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]

Queen Victoria1890:Queen 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 until 1964.

1893: 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.

1894:The 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 report.

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.

1895: Cannabinols isolated and extracted.

1900: Diesel runs his engine on peanut oil at World's Fair.

1909: Shanghai International Opium Conference was held at the insistence of USA, supported by European powers, China, Japan, Siam and Persia.

1911: An Opium Conference at the Hague drafted the first treaty which attempted to control opium and cocaine through world wide agreement.

1912: Hague International Convention on Narcotics - control production and distribution of raw and prepared opium (morphine and cocaine); required parties to Convention to ‘examine possibility of making it a penal offence to be in illegal possession of’ drugs covered by the treaty.

1915: Utah passed the first state anti-marijuana law. Mormons who had gone to Mexico in 1910 returned smoking marijuana. It was outlawed at a result of the Utah legislature enacting all Mormon religious prohibitions as criminal laws.

1917: 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.

1938 Assassin of Youth1920: 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: 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 1925.

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 of marihuana.

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 destroy hemp production. He had allies.

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.

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".

Hearst's "yellow journalism" campaign (so called because the paper developed through his and DuPont's methods aged prematurely) 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.

1925: Geneva 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.

1930: 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 tells them any new laws wont affect legitimate hemp producers.

Stranger Danger

Anslinger never tires of the "marihuana causes death, murder, and insanity" line the whole time he is in office. He has had more influence on Federal US Drug Policy than any other.

1931: 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 estimates.

1933: At 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.

1937: 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 at:

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.

In the first half of the twentieth century, one of the few sane voices that spoke out against the de-hemping of America through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, was Ralph Loziers of the National Oil Seed Institute, who testified to the unhearing 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.

1938: “New Billion-Dollar Crop” article published by Popular Mechanics. This article revealed the details of the new machine that removed the fibre from the stalk thereby drastically reducing the human labour factor.It has been suggested that this machine, the now fully developed decorticator, would have reduced the value of the vast timberlands owned by Hearst for pulping and further, reduced chemical sales by DuPont for pulp papermaking.

"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."
(opening lines...)

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 released.

Canada prohibits production of hemp under Opium And Narcotics Control Act.

1940: "Devil's Harvest" movie released.

Hemp Car1941: Henry Ford demonstrates hemp-fibre bodied car.[Similar product to fibreglass]

1942: Japanese 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.

1943: "Marihuana, Assassin of Youth, Feeding the God Moloch", by the Rev. Robert Devine published.

1955: US Hemp farming again banned.

For some time America even denied it had ever happened, until embarassing evidence came into the public domain, forcing an admission.

Grow HEMP for the WAR1961: 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.

1963: Anslinger finally steps down after 33 years of shaping and enforcing US drug policy.

1964: THC 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.

1965: Teenage Baby Boomers experiment with drugs. Pot invades white america. Flower Power and Hippies challenge cultural assunptions.

1971: 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.

1975: Colorado decriminalises on the first of July.

1976: California decriminalises on New Years day. Minnesota follows on the fourth. Ohio in November. Maine decrininalises.

1977: New York state decriminalises in July.

1978: 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 major, 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.

1981: Alaska decriminalises.

1988: United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

1991: 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.

for a very well written and reasoned overview of Dutch Drug Policy. Now why couldn't Australia be this clued up?

1996: Oregon recriminalises.

1998: Oregon decriminalises again....

2001: Nevada decriminalises.

2003: Canada 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 Alaska.

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 circumstances. (Comparison of European Drug Laws)


Today: 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)

MardiGrass 2004The 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......

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