Pro-Cannabis, Anti-Marijuana. A Brief USA History of Prohibition.

Posted by Alex on Feb 25th 2020

There is much confusion today about hemp, marijuana, and cannabis. Some say they are interchangeable. Some say legal definitions determine one versus another. Others say it depends on how it effects people.

To some extent, all of the above is true. But let's consider why 'marijuana' is a completely arbitrary, irrelevant, and perhaps offensive word. Proper Edibles prefers to use the Latin term 'cannabis' when referring to the plant.

Up until 1900 or so, cannabis was a major commodity. The non-psychoactive portion of the plant is referred to as hemp. This was heavily used in the sails of ships, which at the time was the premium version of transportation. Upper class US citizens were trending towards increased recreational cannabis use. Medicines contained cannabis. Henry Ford used a hammer to demonstrate the durability of his hemp bumpers on his first vehicles.

Then came the Great Depression of 1929. Scapegoats were created to shoulder the blame of economic disaster. African American jazz musicians, half a century freed from slavery, commonly enjoyed cannabis. People of Hindu faith had arrived in large numbers to California. People in power first noticed an accompanied demand for Cannabis Indica, or hash, and then noticed that the Hindus were influencing white citizens to pick up the routine. The Mexican Civil War took place from 1910-1920 and resulted in massive immigration to the United States...another cannabis using group of people who did not arrive on the Mayflower.

It is perhaps this last group that spawned the word 'marijuana' which in some areas of Mexico had a loose translation of 'wild weed' in so that the weed grew freely and easily...wildly.

Harry Anslinger was the leader of the first drug control group in the nation starting in 1930. He aggressively attacked marijuana, not cannabis. The name had a clearly foreign origin that US citizens did not recognize. If his racist headlines had used the real term 'cannabis,' his efforts would have been laughed at, seeing as how popular and useful cannabis was.

DuPont chemicals also had strong interests in preventing cannabis and hemp products from flourishing. They had major investments in Nylon, which would come into direct competition with cannabis products. DuPont is the same company that has changed the chemical makeup of all humans on earth due to their non-stick pans.

Not as commonly referred to is William Randolph Hearst of California. This man was financially very success largely as the head of news publishing. However, some consider him the father of American tabloid due to his media outlet's use of flamboyant, eye-catching headlines that preceded poorly researched articles.

Hearst built a paper mill to supply his successful news enterprise. Around the same time, a decorticator was developed for hemp. Such a strong fiber required new machinery to automate the processing of hemp for industrial purposes. This new technology would have propelled cannabis to an even higher economic rung of utility, had it not created the possibility to easily produce hemp derived paper.

Hearst knew that tree paper would have a tough fight against hemp paper. Backing up with Anslinger with his reach through news, Hearst fueled the fight against cannabis.

These are some of the big factors that has lead this country to maintain a prohibitive stance against cannabis. Much of prohibition is due to the confusion cast by using the word marijuana in association with racist intent, and therefore Proper Edibles does not condone the use of this word.