By Rand Clifford
crossposted at Thomas Paine’s Corner
Imagine…YOU are the legend, William Randolph Hearst. You unleash an old Mexican slang term—an alien, scary and macabre-sounding word, then hype it relentlessly in your national chain of newspapers…creating a monster to threaten civilization with plagues of rape and murder, mass insanity and boundless violence! Domestic terrorism…you must kill competition, protect pretty profits standing in your vast acreage of Mexican timber, pulp the trees into paper with the new environmentally-obscene sulfuric acid process patented by DuPont. His tentacles diddle the very heart of American politics….
Your campaign of sensational disinformation—featuring hysteria spiced with racism—works so amazingly well that generations later, history’s King of crops remains exiled from the most influential nation on Earth. One might say you “ran the table” with your invasion of “marijuana” and “Reefer Madness”. You certainly made out like a bandit from the prohibition of cannabis hemp…wealthy industrialists still make out like bandits from the prohibition. You and DuPont blindsided The People, but did you ever really imagine the majority of Americans over seventy years later, when hearing the term “hemp”, thinking typically and simply of rope, and dope?
Let’s all sing…
La cucaracha, la cucaracha
Ya no puede caminar
Porque no tiene, porque le falta
Marihuana que fumar.
The cockroach, the cockroach
Can’t walk anymore
Because it lacks, because it doesn’t have,
Marijuana to smoke.
Yes, The King, cannabis hemp, regal for many thousands of years and without peers, fell under siege just before the Roaring Twenties for threatening profits of rich and ravenous American industrialists with little in their hearts besides timber and petroleum profits. Exile came in 1937, when new machinery promised to free The King’s vast potential from the fetters of manual labor.
Fast-forward to the 1970’s, and what is known as “Reefer Madness II”. High school texts were universally cleansed of the word “hemp”. And at the Smithsonian Museum, Jack Herer, author of that touchstone of hemp truth The Emperor Wears No Clothes, asked a curator why “hemp” had been removed from all of the exhibits. The curator replied, “Children do not need to know about hemp anymore. It confuses them.”
SAY WHAT? One of the most important aspects of the history of civilization has been cleansed from the Smithsonian Museum so as not to confuse children? Someone decided simple omission was better than “embarrassing questions”? If the truth is embarrassing, doesn’t that imply profound systemic problems? Omission of important meaning is a cornerstone of our corporate-controlled media (CorpoMedia)…but the Smithsonian! Pulling hemp from history left a hole in the Smithsonian Museum big enough to drive cattle through. History is a tapestry of events, and if you pull a thread hooked to so many others it’s no longer a tapestry, but a bunch of threads dangling into a big hole. Omission for convenience changes history to propaganda. And the more we look at such a hole the bigger it gets….
Written language was developed 5,000 years ago by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, what is now Iraq. One of mankind’s oldest root words, K(a)N(a)B(a) is the Sumerian word for cannabis hemp. Writing made possible the intentional recording of history; by the time writing was invented, hemp husbandry had been around a very long time—the oldest relic of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric 10,000 years old.
About 4,700 years ago, the first written record of cannabis use appeared in the pharmacopoeia of Shen Nung, a pioneer of Chinese medicine. 2,000 years later, the Persian prophet Zoroaster wrote the Avesta, a sacred text with cannabis hemp topping a list of more than 10,000 medicinal plants. Hemp was civilization’s largest agricultural crop from over 3,000 years ago until the late 1800s. The Chinese began making paper from hemp and mulberry about 2,000 years ago; their scholars gained a cheap means of preserving information, allowing Chinese knowledge and science to transcend that of the West for 1,400 years—partly because the Roman Catholic Church prohibited reading and writing for 1,200 years. Something to consider in terms of the Smithsonian Museum cleansing history to avoid “embarrassing questions”….
The oldest known doctor’s prescription is an Assyrian (also Mesopotamia) clay tablet dated around 2,700 years ago, a prescription for “medical marijuana”.
1,200 years ago, Mohammed permitted cannabis use among Moslems, but forbid alcohol. 950 years ago, Moslems started Europe’s first paper mill, using cannabis hemp. Of course hemp paper is what originally led to The King’s exile from America, in the decade following those Roaring Twenties—but still long before:
The world’s first mandatory hemp cultivation laws were enacted at Jamestown Colony in Virginia, 1619, ordering all farmers to grow hemp or face penalties. Massachusetts passed similar laws in 1631, followed by Connecticut a year later. In 1776, patriot wives and mothers organized spinning bees to clothe Washington’s troops, spinning hemp fiber to save the Continental Army from freezing to death at Valley Forge. That same year, Thomas Paine, in “Common Sense”, listed as America’s four essential natural resources: cordage, iron, timber and tar. “Hemp flourishes even to rankness,” Paine wrote, “we do not want for cordage.”
The first draft of the Declaration of Independence, June 28, 1776, was written on Dutch hemp paper; the version released on July 4 is also written on hemp paper. The War of 1812 was fought mainly because the United States had been cut off from most of its Russian hemp imports. In 1898, the Spanish American War got us to the threshold of American exile of The King when the “marijuana”-smoking army of Pancho Villa seized 800,000 acres of prime Mexican timberland from William Randolph Hearst. For The King, in America, it’s been a miasma of deceit ever since….
Today the themes are the same, but on a much grander scale. The King could be a fantastic boon for The People and the environment—similarly fantastic are his threats to status quo profits. The profit shift would typically be from elite corporations, to The People. Also, hemp being a natural plant rules out patents so coveted by the elite.
The conjuring of cannabis into marijuana made The King a magnet for mind-boggling hypocrisy. Perhaps there is no finer example of the hypocrisy than that of Dronabinol. Marketed under various names such as Marinol, Nabilone, Sativex…Dronabinol is a synthetic version of THC, the primary active ingredient of cannabis. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. The three benchmarks for Schedule 1 listing:
[A] The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
[B] The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S.
[C] There is lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision.
So, why would Big Pharma spend untold millions of dollars developing a synthetic version of a drug that the DEA insists HAS NO CURRENTLY ACCEPTABLE MEDICAL USE? Money. Patents. Control. Dronabinol was extremely expensive to develop, is very expensive to make, and is very expensive to buy. It works nowhere near as well as raw cannabis, which contains many cannabinoids in addition to THC which contribute in various ways to the excellent effectiveness of cannabis. So the bottom line with synthetic THC: It’s a poor substitute for the real thing (which patients can easily grow themselves), but Big Pharma makes a lot of money (at the expense of patients) peddling the patented synthetic of a drug the government classifies as having no currently accepted medical use. When it comes to virtually every aspect of The King, such hypocrisy rules. If a patient that needs cannabis were to simply grow their own, nobody would make any money (except the patient, by saving the astronomical cost of the synthetic), and the patient could not be controlled for profit—one of the modern essences of government under corporate control (CorpoGov).
Regarding LACK OF ACCEPTED SAFETY FOR USE OF THE DRUG UNDER MEDICAL SUPERVISION, cannabis has been for thousands of years one of the most common and effective of drugs, listed as a panacea (remedy for all ills or difficulties) more times, in more places, than anything else known to mankind.
A possible ray of hope for The King in America, and for Americans to make progress against CorpoGov tyranny such as displayed in the Dronabinol boondogle, is H.R. 1009, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. This bill, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul, would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of “marihuana”. The detailed summary reads:
“Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007 – Amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of “marihuana.” Defines “industrial hemp” to mean the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant with a delta-nine tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration that does not exceed .3 percent on a dry weight basis. Grants a state regulating the growing and processing of industrial hemp exclusive authority, in any criminal or civil action or administrative proceeding, to determine whether any such plant meets that concentration limit.”
As with all things CorpoGov involving The King, hypocrisy has descended upon H.R. 1009: Since 4/20/2007 the bill has been languishing in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
In King Hemp V, the lobby forces attacking H.R. 1009 as it mires in a committee that has nothing to do with industrial hemp farming present a crystalline portrait of hemp’s amazing usefulness to The People, and threat to status quo profits. Just how valuable is hemp? How might it mitigate our most serious problems? Modern forces arrayed against The King leave little to the imagination, and, they hope, even less to The People….
Rand Clifford is a novelist and essayist living in Spokane, Washington, with his wife Mary Ann, and their Chesapeake Bay retriever, Mink. His novels CASTLING and TIMING are published by StarChief Press: http://www.starchiefpress.com