I hear a lot of talking news heads and most of the Republican candidates calling for a return to real American values. What does that mean? Generally I would understand it to mean that we should return to the principles this country was founded on, by the forefathers and the Constitution.
But there’s one very large thing that is happening now that is the antithesis of what the forefathers wanted. And the impetus behind this thing is, you guessed it, profit.
Some of you that read this blog are going to know almost all the information I’m about to relay, some may know a little bit, and some may know nothing at all. But this is a history lesson. This stuff really happened and/or is happening now. These aren’t merely opinions.
There is a substance that could solve our energy crisis, our economic crisis and many of our medical crises all in one fell swoop. A huge solution is sitting under our noses (can you smell it?).
Before the 20th century, there was a substance that provided almost all the world’s paper, almost all the world’s clothing and textiles and all the world’s rope. According to the USDA, you can make 4x as much paper from 1 acre of this plant as you can from 1 acre of trees. And you can harvest it and regrow a whole new crop in a matter of months. It takes at least 20 years to replace a tree.
Making paper from it is 1/4 the cost of making paper from wood pulp and emits 1/5 the pollution.
Ancient Romans grew it. Henry VIII made people grow their share to show their allegiance to their king and country because this plant is one of the strongest fibers in the world.
You can get 4x as much cellulose to make methanol from the stems of this plant as you can from a corn stalk.
This plant has been either the most used or one of the most widely used plants for medicines in China, India, the Middle and Near East, Africa and pre-Roman Catholic Europe.
More recently in modern medicine, its effects have been documented as anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antibacterial. It can treat symptom of asthma, depression, traumatic stress syndrome, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraines, multiple sclerosis, Tourette’s, and nausea. Here’s an article by a woman who treats her 9 year old autistic son with it.
The seeds are a great source of protein, and the USDA says they’re cheaper than soybeans.
And here’s the thing – the American forefathers knew all this (well, maybe not the anticancer stuff).
In the 1760s you could be jailed in some of the colonies for NOT growing this plant. Why? Because it was the key to becoming economically independent from Briton. It was legal tender in America from 1630 until the early 1800s.
Levis were originally made out of this. American flags were made out of this. The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence were written on this.
The Guttenburg and Kings James Bibles were made out of it!
What is this mysterious plant?
In 1936 Popular Mechanics announced it had invented a new machine to process this material. The magazine predicted that this material would once again become the largest cash crop in the nation, over cotton and tobacco.
This didn’t sit well with Hearst Paper Manufacturer or Kimberly-Clark, or any corporations with large timber holdings. They knew that this plant was far cheaper and far more useful and would overtake the timber industry.
It didn’t sit will with DuPont. To make paper out of this plant takes 1/5 the chemicals as it does to make paper out of wood pulp. And they had just patented a new wood pulp sulfide process. DuPont needed to keep selling chemicals.
Large drug companies did not want this to happen either. You could make more affordable medicine with this natural substance.
Not to mention the big dog – the oil industry! What oh what would they do if the oil of this plant was used to make methanol?
And here was the real kicker. At that time scientists hadn’t figured out what made this plant so amazing. They hadn’t decoded it’s chemical structure. And therefore, they couldn’t synthesize it. And if you can’t chemically synthesize something, you can’t patent it. Because you can’t patent nature.
Soooooooo what are large companies with a bottom line to think of to do? Hmm, hmm, let me think. A ha! They’ll get it made illegal! They’ll “lobby” politicians to say it’s dangerous and that it must be made illegal.
So: Hemp was outlawed 1937 in three systematic steps (these taken from “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” by Jack Herer)
- Introduce the element of fear of the unknown by using a word that non had ever heard of before: “marijuana” (instead of hemp).
- Keep the maneuverings hidden from the doctors, scientists and hemp industries who would have defended hemp. This was done by holding most of the hearings on prohibition in secret.
- Finally, prohibitionist set out to stir up primal emotions and tap right into an existing pool of hatred that was already poisoning society: racism. One of the arguments made on the floor of congress? Pot might make a black man look at a white woman twice.
Then followed antipot propaganda like Reefer Madness.
Then followed the shady Tulane study by Dr. Health that is quoted by antidrug proponants that showed that pot caused brain damage. What wasn’t shared with the public is that the monkeys were strapped into gas masks for 5 minutes while the equivalent of 63 joints were pumped into them with no smoke loss. Ummm, hello? Anyone care to comment on the lack of oxygen for 5 minutes that would cause brain damage or even death? Or the carbon monoxide poisoning that comes from inhaling too much smoke of any kind? It was bunk, bought science, but it still quoted to this day.
Marijuana will not kill or you or make you crazy or damage your brain. In fact it has been shown to increase creativity and neural connections (along with a host of other beneficial psychological effects). Yet it is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. The same as heroin, cocaine, crack, and methamphetamine. Which is ridiculous because it’s been medically shown to be less addictive than caffeine. Oh, it does have one potential side effect: it can make you lazy. Hmm, barbituates and opiates don’t do that, do they?
Drug war czars call it the “gateway drug.” You want to know why it might be a gateway drug? Because since it’s illegal, those people getting it from a drug dealer are more likely to be exposed to heroin, crack, cocaine, meth, acid, ecstasy, etc. Make it legal, you no longer have that situation going on.
Most of this post has come the spoken word album track “Grow More Pot” by Jello Biafra. He’s the lead singer of the Dead Kennedys. That simple statement, grow more pot, could end the economic crisis in the U.S. It could boost so many sectors of the economy, bring back more “Made in the USA,” cure diseases, and give us energy independence. But the government continues to push the dangerousness of pot to kowtow to the corporations to keep the dollars in their own pockets.
And that leads to the subject of my next post: the corporations (and by proxy, the government) don’t want to solve problems by doing things like legalizing hemp. Because if you solve problems, you lose jobs. Problems create jobs which keeps the economic madness wheel turning and turning until we all wake up one morning wondering why the planet can’t give anymore.
(On a good note, Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington (a Democrat) and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (an Independent) have petitioned the federal government to make marijuana a Schedule II drug (like opium and morphine) so it can be used medically.)