Contact Us Form
The Story of Marijuana
“Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it
everywhere” is a statement that George Washington made (“Facts” 13). Who
would believe that George Washington asked farmers everywhere to grow
marijuana? Who would believe that George Washington grew it? The amazing
facts about marijuana beginning with its earliest use and the current
laws convicting people of growing marijuana are quite opposites with
most governments banning the use of marijuana.
The use of marijuana actually dates back to 2737 B.C. Early in history
marijuana was used as a way to achieve euphoria. “...it was described in
a Chinese medical compendium traditionally considered to date back from
2737 B.C.” (“Marijuana Information”). Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor,
wrote about the use of marijuana and recommended it for use for
rheumatism, gout, and malaria. It might be surprising to learn that
Muslims used it because alcohol was banned by the Koran.
The use of marijuana was legal until the 1930s. “For the first 162 years
of America’s existence, marijuana was totally legal and hemp was a
common crop” (“Marijuana and Hemp”). Many politicians such as George
Washington had hemp crops. The earliest dates of marijuana use in the
New World were in 1545 by the Spanish (Marijuana Information). The next
mention of marijuana use in the colonies was in Jamestown. In fact, it
was considered an important crop similar to the tobacco crops. Cotton
replaced hemp crops, but different medication had hemp in them. During
the early days of the colonies marijuana was not illegal and it had
various purposes that even George Washington used. While many people
struggle because they need to use marijuana for medical purposes today,
marijuana could be found in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850
until 1942. The use of marijuana was for labor pains, nausea, and
rheumatism” (“Marijuana Information”). Is it any surprise that people
today want to use marijuana for pain relief for patients suffering with
AIDS, rheumatism, and other diseases? Today, if people use marijuana for
pain they may find themselves behind bars.
When it came to early colonists they considered a hemp crop valuable.
Different colonists had hemp crop and it was considered totally legal
during this time. “Hemp was an important crop for the early colonists as
early as 1629 and remained so until Eli Whitney introduced the cotton
gin” (“History”). Why was it so valuable back then? Because there were
so many different uses for a hemp crop.
The cannabis plant has had many uses. It may be surprising to learn that
the cannabis plant has a number of “good” uses. “On an annual basis, 1
acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as 2 to 3 acres of cotton”
(“Hemp: The World’s”). This fiber is stronger than cotton and actually
lasts twice as long. Surprisingly, clothes such as shirts and pants
could be made from this plant. Hemp can be grown in every state in the
United States. “Cotton requires large quantities of pesticides and
herbicides – 50% of the world’s pesticides/herbicides are used on
cotton” (“Hemp: The World’s”).
Most people know that making paper takes a lot of trees which hurts the
environment, yet 1 acre of hemp can make as much paper as 2 to 4 acres
of trees (“Hemp: The World’s”). If hemp was used instead of paper,
imagine the number of trees that could be saved. In fact, paper made
from hemp is actually better paper. Facts about paper made from hemp is
that it will last longer, take less toxic chemicals to make, and can be
Another important material used in the United States and other countries
is fiberboard. Hemp can be used to make it and actually lasts longer as
well as being fire retardant. “Substituting hemp fiberboard for timber
would further reduce the need to cut down trees” (“Hemp: The World’s”).
Why do manufacturers not use hemp? The answer is that it is illegal to
Another important use of hemp can be found in its seeds. These seeds
have more protein than soybean protein and are not intoxicating. “Hemp
seed protein can be used to produce virtually any product made from
soybean: tofu, veggie burgers, butter, cheese, salad oils, ice cream,
milk, etc.” (“Hemp: The World’s”). Another product that can be made from
hemp seeds is flour. Hemp flower can be used to make baked goods.
Hemp seed oil has important uses such as making non-toxic diesel fuel,
pain, detergent, ink, and other products. “Because hemp seeds account
for up to half the weight of a mature hemp plant, hemp seed is a viable
source for these products” (“Hemp: The World’s”).
Marijuana can even be used to make fuel. “Marijuana can even be used as
‘Biomass’ fuel, where the pulp (hurd) of the hemp plant can be burned as
it or processed into charcoal, methanol, methane, or gasoline”
(“Politics”). In fact, when hemp is turned into methanol it makes a
great gasoline used in professional automobile races.
Considering all the products that can be made from Hemp, it would seem
that farmers would grow lots of hemp. Yet, anyone growing hemp is
arrested for it. At one time growing hemp was not illegal. “From 1776 to
1937, hemp was a major American crop and textiles made from hemp were
common” (“Hemp: The World’s”). However, few history books mention the
growth of hemp and its products. Few history books say that George
Washington grew hemp. “United States Presidents George Washington and
Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, used products made from hemp, and praised
the hemp plant in some of their writings” (“Hemp: The World’s”). Today,
these presidents would be arrested and put in prison for growing it. His
advice, “Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed and sow it
everywhere,” would get everyone doing this sent to prison.
It was in the 1930s that the government began stating that marijuana use
was harmful and should not be used.
In the 1930s by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the Bureau of
Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) sought to portray marijuana as a
powerful, addicting substance that would lead users into narcotic
addiction. (“Marijuana Information”)
Laws regulating the use of marijuana began in 1937 with criminal
penalties given to those using marijuana. Marijuana is only a small part
of the cannabis plant. It is the dried leaves of the cannabis plant, but
the hemp plant actually had many uses. Before the law passed in 1937,
hemp was used as a synthetic fiber and in plastic industries (“Marijuana
and Hemp”). Harry J. Anslinger an advocate for marijuana laws stated,
“Marijuana is the most violence causing drug in the history of mankind.’
‘Most marijuana users are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and
entertainers” (“Marijuana and Hemp”). More and more people wanted
marijuana outlawed stating that it could hurt the minds of people. “As
the Great Depression of the 1930s settled over America, the immigrants
became an unwelcome minority linked with violence and with growing and
smoking marijuana” (Musto). The good purposes of hemp were forgotten, as
politicians focused on making marijuana illegal. Politicians wanted
marijuana to be illegal so they told only parts of stories about the
cannabis plant and did not let anyone know about the uses of the plant.
“Western states pressured the federal government to control marijuana
use” (Musto). The first law in 1937 was followed by other laws including
the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Act of 1970, “marijuana was legally
controlled through a transfer tax for which no stamps or licenses were
available to private citizens” (Musto). Most people in the early days
used Marijuana for a number of purposes, but few people actually smoked
marijuana until the 1960s. The government focused on “smoking of
marijuana” while forgetting about the other uses of marijuana. It
focused on crime and problems with marijuana. “In 1972, the Presidential
Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse recommended ‘decriminalization’
of marijuana, that is, legal possession of a small amount for personal
use” (Musto). At that time it was legal to have under an ounce of
marijuana. Today, many people continue to believe that it should be
legal to have under an ounce of marijuana for personal use or medical
use. “In 1980, 53 percent of Americans favored legalization of small
amounts of marijuana...” (Musto).
Two major strategies against marijuana were silence and exaggeration. In
fact, most people today are not aware of the “good” uses of hemp. Few
people have heard that Thomas Jefferson had a hemp crop. Most of
publications about marijuana focus on the negative factors.
In addition to stricter penalties, two other strategies, silence and
exaggeration were implemented in the 1930s to keep drug use low and
prevent a recurrence of the decades-long, frustrating and fearful
anti-drug battle of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Musto)
Keeping quiet about the good purposes of hemp and focused on the
negative uses have made many Americans believe that hemp is all bad with
few benefits of it.
The argument over medicinal uses of marijuana has been argued for many
years. It is important to realize the earliest used of marijuana was for
medical purposes for rheumatism, gout, and other illness. The cannabis
plant was legal until 1937 with many people using the hemp plant for
different purposes. One of these purposes was as a medication. Today
many people wish to use marijuana for medical purposes, but if they are
arrested they can serve prison time. What different types of use were
marijuana used: multiple sclerosis, cancer treatment, AIDS (and AIDS
treatment), glaucoma, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, asthma,
pruritis, sclerodoma, severe pain, and dystonia. Studies of the
marijuana plant shows that it had a variety of different uses and was
considered valuable with George Washington putting his seal of approval
on it. Today, marijuana continues to be used for different medical
purposes with the seal of approval by different physicians, but users
can be put in prison for having an ounce of marijuana. Research shows
there are over 60 chemicals in the Hemp plant that can be used for
medical purposes. It can even be used as a disinfectant. Dissolve
marijuana into alcohol and this can be used for skin disease such as
herpes. During the early 1900s the cannabis plant had many uses that are
not recognized today.
Some basic facts about marijuana are:
“Marijuana arrests more than doubled in the U.S. during the 1990s”
(“Facts”). In fact, there were more arrests for marijuana use than half
of all the violent crimes that were committed.
“Blacks are arrested at twice the rate of whites for marijuana
possession.” Not only are African Americans arrested, but Hispanics are
arrested more than “whites.”
While the use of alcohol, tobacco, and legal drugs can be as harmful as
marijuana they are not illegal. “Marijuana is also far less addictive
and far less subject to abuse than many drugs now used as muscle
relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics” (“Brief History”).
The law prohibits use of marijuana regardless of the purpose it is used
and many Americans are arrested. “And still, last year we arrested some
700,000 Americans for resinous cannabis offenses, 90% for simple
possession” (“Brief History”). The question is whether citizens of the
United States want to spend valuable tax dollars on arresting people
with less than an ounce of marijuana. Should people be arrested for
using marijuana for medical purposes? “Instead of a profitable cannabis
hemp economy, big corporations are stealing billions from regular people
all over the world” (“Brief History”). Not only are people going to jail
for small amounts of marijuana, many people who are seriously ill with
disease such as AIDS or rheumatism are unable to use it to help with
pain, nausea, or other use. “Over ten billion of our tax dollars were
spent in our anti-marijuana education campaigns and on police and law
enforcement in just the last year” (“Brief History”). The claims against
marijuana have many people scared of those who use it even if it is for
Many states in the United States have wanted to legalize marijuana, but
the federal government refuses to allow them to do so. Today, it costs
the government billions of dollars to enforce the laws about marijuana.
Yet, in the early 1800s physicians in the United States used hemp for
different medical uses (“Marijuana—Recreational”). Many sick people
using marijuana can be arrested and put in prison for its use. “More
than 20 million Americans are current marijuana users”
(“Marijuana--Recreational”). There are side effects of using marijuana,
and one of the side effects is the feeling of being high, but muscle
relaxants and pain medication have the same side effects. “High does can
cause hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and anxiety. Long-term users
show a decreased interest in goals, decreased concentration, and making
appropriate decisions and memory loss” (“Marijuana--Recreational”).
“Brief History of Marijuana Prohibition, A.” Hemp Evolution:
Cannabis Activist Information & Resources. 13 Dec. 2004 <http://www.hempevolution.org/history/history.htm>.
“Facts, Ma’am, Just the Facts, The.” Mass CANN/Norml. 2004. 13 Dec. 2004
“Hemp: The World’s Most Beneficial Natural Resource? Amazing Facts about
an Amazing Plant.” 13 Dec. 2004 <http://www.cannabis.com/untoldstory/hemp_2.shtml>.
“History of Marijuana in the U.S., The.” Marijuana Information. 2003. 13
Dec. 2004 <http://marijuana.drug-culture.com/history/history.asp>.
“Marijuana and Hemp Story: Why was Marijuana/Hemp Banned?” 13 Dec. 2004
“Marijuana Information from Narconon International.” Narconon
International. 2002. 13 Dec. 2004 <http://www.narconon.org/druginfo/marijuana_hist.html>.
“Marijuana--Recreational and Street Drugs: Drugs in Sports Choices in
Sports--NCAA.” Drug Free Sport. 13 Dec. 2004 <http://www.drugfreesport.com/choices/drugs/street/marijuana.html>.
Musto, David F. “Opium, Cocaine, and Marijuana in American History.”
Scientific American (July 1991): 20-27. 13 Dec. 2004 <http://www.drugtext.org/library/articles/musto01.htm>.
List | Order a Paper | Custom
Writing | Questions
Us | Links |