Hemp was criminalized when the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was enforced. This act made marijuana (a new drug at the time) illegal in the United States. The question still remains:
Why did Hemp get dragged down with marijuana?
Hemp cannot get you high. It is an industrial crop. Marijuana and Hemp are not the same thing! Unfortunately, the common answer to this question is: “They look too much alike.” Sorry..we just can’t buy that.
The conspiracy theory of why Hemp was criminalized with marijuana goes a little something like this……
Prior to the 1800s, it was very common to see Hemp products as mainly paper and textiles. After the invention of the cotton gin, Hemp became a forgotten fiber because cotton was much easier and cheaper to produce for textiles. In the early 1900s, George Schlichten introduced the Hemp Decorticator. This invention was going to revolutionize the Hemp industry, making it much easier to process. Soon after, negative propaganda skyrocketed about the cannabis plant. W.R Hearst fabricated stories in his newspapers about this new drug called “marihuana,” which was causing blacks and Mexicans to rape and kill white women. Prior to his articles, marijuana was never used as slang for cannabis—Hearst intentionally did this to demonize this plant with a new name. This led to a propaganda movie in 1936 called “Reefer Madness,” portraying cannabis as the most dangerous drug in the world.
So, why such an extreme effort to criminalize the cannabis plant? Not only did W.R Hearst own the largest newspaper company at the time, but he also owned many acres of forests to create his papers. He wasn’t the only one trying to protect his interests. In the 1920s, DuPont invested heavily in synthetic fibers and also saw Hemp as a threat. Not to mention, DuPont produced chemicals to process timber into paper.
Things got even worse in the early 1930s after Harry J. Anslinger was appointed the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which is known today as the DEA. Anslinger targeted minorities and supported Hearst’s outrageous stories about cannabis. After nearly a decade of negative stories about cannabis and minorities, Anslinger proposed the Marijuana Tax Act to congress and was passed on August 2, 1937. This eventually banned its production, sale, & use. Industrial Hemp was dragged down with it. Even though Hemp is not marijuana and there is a clear distinction between the two. The government says Hemp is kept illegal because it’s too similar to marijuana. These claims are hard to believe and that is why they must be questioned.
To this day, we have millions of people fighting for cannabis legalization. It has been a tough battle ever since 1937. It is believed by many that big oil, pharmaceutical, cotton, & paper corporations still lobby to keep the plant illegal. No matter what you believe, Hemp was made illegal due to business interests, or just some unfortunate circumstances.
We have proven that Hemp is a viable agricultural crop that should not be classified as a drug. We have reached a point in this world where we need more sustainable resources to create our products we use every day. Yes, Hemp does threaten the profits of many corporations, but the current ways of doing business is threatening our world!
Let’s fight for liberation so our world can see Hemp’s true potential as a sustainable resource for thousands of products!