America's Most Patriotic Crop: Cannabis, Hemp
As we finish celebrating the Independence of the greatest country in the world and the sacrifices that our forefathers made to ensure the long term survival of the Free World, it's worth taking a moment to appreciate what Independence means, from dictionary.com:
The second sentence of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Our founding fathers fought and won for our independence and freedom to have "unalienable Rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.". And this is exactly why Cannabis, aka Hemp, is America's most patriotic crop and is directly associated with our Freedom and pursuit of Happiness.
Weed. Marijuana. Hemp. Cannabis; Cannabis is divided into two major pure strains – Indica and Sativa. Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa strain. However, although both Cannabis and Hemp are from the same species, they have very diverse applications. Cannabis Sativa and Indica strains are mostly used for psychotropic and medicinal uses. However, Hemp is almost purely used for industrial uses. Make no mistake, however, hemp IS cannabis.
America's most patriotic crop, hemp, was introduced to North America 1606. Since then, American farmers sustained hemp agriculture to be used across a wide array of products including: paper, lamp fuels, ropes, oils, clothing and food. By the 1700's, farmers were legally required to grow hemp as a staple. Many of our founding fathers grew and advocated for the many uses of hemp, most notably being the draft of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.
Here are a few quotes on our founding fathers and their opinion on hemp:
Crucial Substance in Colonial America, John Adams
"Hemp was seen as such a crucial substance in colonial America that even John Adams mentions its priority ahead of a “Declaration of Independency.” While Adams was traveling back to Philadelphia in late January 1776, he wrote himself a “to do” list of things to handle in the Continental Congress. He wrote the list on two sheets of paper in his diary. The list started off with “The Confederation to be taken up …” followed by the second item “An Alliance to be formed with France and Spain.” Only a few items down on that same first page he wrote “Hemp to be encouraged and the Manufacture of Duck.” On the second page, the second-below-the-bottom item was “Declaration of Independency …”"
Strength and Our Riches, Thomas Paine
Hemp even rated an appearance in Thomas Paine’s wildly popular Common Sense. Paine listed many of America’s “strength and our riches;” the first being, “In almost every article of defence we abound. Hemp flourishes even to rankness, so that we need not want cordage [rope].”
George Washington, separates male / female plants for consumption
George Washington did record the practice of separating hemp in his own diary: "Began to seperate the Male from the Female hemp at Do.&—rather too late."2 Arthur Young, well-known English agricultural writer, explained the separation of hemp as follows: "This may arise from their [the male] hemp being coarser, and the stalks larger."3
What was done with the Seed saved from the India Hemp last Summer? It ought, all of it, to have been sown again; that not only a stock of seed sufficient for my own purposes might have been raised, but to have dissiminated the seed to others; as it is more valuable than the common Hemp.
Did you read that? George Washington asks the estate manager to set aside India Hemp seed “for my own purposes”? Washington didn’t elaborate on what his purposes were. But regardless, any document describing the purposes seems to have gone missing or has gone up in smoke.
George Washington to William Pierce, hemp sown anywhere
"I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the St. foin seed, and that of the India Hemp. Make the most you can of both, by sowing them again in drills. [...] The Hemp may be sown any where." - George Washington to William Pearce, Philadelphia, February 24, 1794 according to "The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources".
Marijuana Tax Act Discourages Production
So what happened? Well, The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 started sharp decline of the hemp industry, after the US government dedicated resources to fight against drugs including marijuana, which is a flowering plant of the cannabis strain, which hemp is apart of the same genus. Intentional or not, all hemp was heavily taxed, making way for the rise of plastics and nylon industries.
Hemp needed in WW2
During WW2, the department of Agriculture begun promoting hemp cultivation, reversing the United States stance on hemp in 1942, realizing that hemp was desperately needed for the war. Farmers across Midwest and Southeast were encouraged to grow hemp, and as much as 400,000 acres of hemp were planted between 1942-1945. This hemp promotion even went as far as creating a pro-hemp documentary called 'Hemp for Victory'
Drug War Leads to End of Hemp
Shortly after the war ended the hemp promotion followed suit, returning the US government back to it's original stance of hemp again being heavily taxed. Other textile industries were encouraged and hemp saw its decline once again.
Hemp farming was officially banned in 1970 with the passage of the Controlled Substance Act, in which hemp was included as a schedule 1 drug.
Schedule 1 drugs are those that have the following characteristic according to the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA): The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.
Truth vs Fiction
Here's the deal: We now know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Cannabis has medicinal value. We also know that Cannabis, aka Hemp, as tremendous value as a textile, which helped found this very country and helped win a world war, preserving the Independence of this great nation.
It's time to free Cannabis, hemp, and return to our right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. The right to Independence.