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The USA-DEA Cabal: An Enemy of Reason [2]
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These men seem to have no medical knowledge and understanding of the chemical properties of marijuana and hemp. They just repeat mindlessly the criminal falsehoods invented over the last several decades by whoever has had a vested interest in suppressing hemp and marijuana: mainly the spokespersons for the pharmaceutical, lumber, big oil, tobacco, and conservative Christian groups.

To return to the problem of the definition: Dr. West in Hemp and Marijuana explains that Cannabis is „the only plant genus in which can be found the unique class of molecules known as cannabinoids" and that it „produces two major cannabinoids — THC .. and CBD (cannabidiol)." And while THC's psychoactive effect is well known, it is not commonly known that CBD blocks the effect of THC in the nervous system. Concludes Dr. West:

Cannabis with THC below 1.0 percent and a CBD/THC ration greater than one is therefore not capable of inducing a psychoactive effect. Hemp, it turns out, is not only not marijuana, it could be called „anti-marijuana."

While there are other important differences, from a chemical viewpoint it is clear that hemp and marijuana are not the same plants. The current U.S. marijuana/hemp law is, then, seriously wrong. But the problem is more depressing than what appears to be a spectacular stupidity of American hemp and marijuana legislators and DEA's errant warriors.

At the beginning of the 20th century, hemp seemed poised to become an ecological salvation and a multi-billion-dollar industry. What was needed was a technology that would eliminate the intensive labor traditionally required to separate the fibrous bast from the hurds in hemp stalks and thus make large-scale industrial hemp cultivation economically viable.

Even though many hemp processing devices had been patented (including Thomas Jefferson's own hemp break), it was George W. Schlichten, a brilliant German immigrant engineer, who provided a real breakthrough with his „decorticator" in 1915. This „marvelous machine," as described in Robinson's book, remained only a magnificent engineering idea, because no financier could be found. When its industrial potential was re-promoted in the 1930's by the scientific magazines Mechanical Engineering and Popular Mechanics, it was already too late: The MTA killed the budding "Billion Dollar Crop" industry. To Schlichten, who already at that time was concerned about the horror of destroying forests for paper production, this legislation was devastating. Schlichten died, as Robinson says, „a ruined man, and America's future was tragically altered."

But there's more than just plain incompetence and ignorance to account for the MTA. Was there a hidden agenda?

One answer is money, greed, and power — as always in politics. We should never forget that the business of America is business, sometimes at any cost.

In the 1930's the established timber businesses of Hearst, Kimberly Clark, and St. Regis „stood to lose billions," as Herer points out, if the new hemp processing technology was to be implemented. At the same time, as it happened, the synthetic petrochemical giant Du Pont was facing a potentially formidable natural opponent, hemp, to challenge the company's newly patented processes for oil- and coal-based plastics and the improved method of making paper from wood. According to Herer, "If hemp had not been made illegal, 80% of Du Pont's business would never have materialized and the great majority of the pollution which has poisoned the Northwestern and Southeastern rivers would not have occurred."

And so something had to be done to protect the business interests of the richest and most influential people in the United States against the emerging power of hemp industry. Hemp had to be outlawed, even though it seemed like an impossible task to try to ban the most useful crop in the history of humankind.

It is likely that the federal legislative process that would have such horrendous ecological and social consequences not only in the United States but in the world at large was effectively initiated by the richest man in America at the time, Andrew Mellon, secretary of the Department of Treasury, owner of Gulf Oil, and Du Pont's chief financial supporter through his bank, the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh. It was Mellon who handpicked his nephew, Harry Anslinger — that notorious liar and racist — to head the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (FBNDD), the forerunner of the current much-dreaded DEA. Through a series of secret Treasury Department meetings and questionable, if not outright illegal, congressional maneuverings, a stage was set to pass the MTA. The idea was to falsify by gross distortions and unabashed lies the apparent evil of marijuana smoking, and in the process to secretly eliminate hemp.

Another major player in the anti-marijuana hysteria was William Randolph Hearst, another racist who also stood to lose if hemp became a mass produced crop. Hearst owned several dozen newspapers, magazines, and radio stations as well as substantial timber holdings, linked with the paper industry and Du Pont. During his life, Hearst published so many lies about marijuana in his many newspapers across the country that the damage has never been undone. Anything that could help sell his newspapers was fit to print. A typical Hearst lie was the argument that marijuana caused blacks to rape white women. The man responsible for institutionalizing yellow journalism in the United States was also, according to Herer, one of the interests „most responsible for orchestrating the demise of hemp manufacture."

And so hemp was doomed. It had to be eliminated in the land of "free trade," and it was. Marijuana was used mostly as a pretext to get rid of hemp, because both were equally threatening to the established business interests.

The sickening details of this unprecedented and perhaps unparalleled fraud in the history of American legislation can all be read in the two books mentioned at the beginning of this essay, as well as in, for example, Drug Crazy by Mike Gray, and many other printed and electronic sources now easily available for any interested reader.

However, although this conspiracy theory of hemp suppression is well supported and eloquently stated by Herer, Robinson, and others, it does not account for all the facts. So yet another reason must be sought.

One of the often ignored facts in the current discussions of the origin of marijuana/hemp legislation is that the actual movement to suppress Cannabis began at least two decades before the MTA on the local, state level. Many states had already implemented anti-marijuana laws before federal legislation was introduced. According to Schaffer Library of Drug Policy in „History of Marihuana Legislation," "public policy toward the drug was well rooted locally" before Commissioner Anslinger initiated his infamous crusade. „During the 'local' phase of marihuana prohibition, lasting roughly from 1914 to 1931, practically every state west of the Mississippi, except for two, had prohibited use of the drug for non-medical purposes."

It was then ordinary American citizens prompted and supported by such perennial Christian crusaders for moral purity like the Women's Christian Temperance Union who were clamoring for marijuana ban long before the Federal Government made a fateful decision to join the fray. More recently, groups like PRIDE (Parents' Resource Institute for Drug Education) and PDFA (Partnership for a Drug Free America) have continued to pour falsehoods and fabrications about Cannabis sativa in general and marijuana in particular. PRIDE, as David R. Ford points out in Marijuana: Not Guilty as Charged, is active with hundreds of thousands of parents and students, and its programs are used in homes and schools throughout the United States as well as in other nations." These groups are well funded and are supported by the DEA. One example of the many dangerous fictions widely advertised by PDFA, was, for instance, the infamous „frying pan" TV ad. As Ford says:

PDFA members apparently felt that fiction was a justifiable means to an end. Hardly scientific, or true. Dr. Donald Blum of the UCLA Neurological Studies Center told KABC news that in another ad, a photo showing the effects of marijuana in fact show[s] the brain waves of someone in a deep sleep-or in a coma. It took weeks before the PDFA removed the dishonest television spot. There was never an apology. Yet such propaganda continues to terrify parents and brings more money to these organizations and to the DEA.

The silliness of Nancy Reagan's highly publicized campaign is yet another example of the same: many Americans pushing for a ban of marijuana and extremely harsh punitive laws to suppress its use, and politicians too eager to oblige them. Perhaps uninformed, incompetent, and vindictive people deserve an uninformed, incompetent, and vindictive government.

It is, of course, possible to argue about what exactly were the causes of the American obsession with fighting Cannabis. Undoubtedly other contributing factors can be mentioned. But it is not possible to question what MTA and CSA and other such federal legislative acts have done to American democracy and its people. Here are only a handful of selected facts:

About half a million marijuana users, usually young people, are arrested each year, an overwhelming majority non-violent and posing no threat to anybody. These arrests and imprisonments have ruined or destroyed thousands of lives and caused needless suffering for the relatives and friends of the arrested. The U.S. prison industry is among the fastest growing in the country. According to Robinson, $5 billion was spent in 1995 on new prisons to accommodate the growing U.S. prison population, which has doubled in the last two decades, an overwhelming majority of whom are marijuana and other drug users. It currently stands at about 2 million, the largest prison population in the world. A new federal prison is being built every two weeks, a de facto prisonification of the United States, the world's leading jailor. About 5 billion is spent annually to enforce marijuana interdiction, while less than 1 percent of the Cannabis eradicated is marijuana. The rest is ditch weed, which is wild hemp. Which is to say, the great DEA warriors and other narcotics agents are engaged in a fierce battle with a .. ditch weed. As Vermont legislator Fred Maslack says: „ As far as the War on Drugs is concerned they [the DEA] would be better off pulling up goldenrod." Indeed, they might just as well chase flies: some 70 million Americans have tried marijuana. It is not possible to eliminate a plant so beneficial to humankind.

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Kaz Dziamka
Główny redaktor sekcji angielskiej Racjonalisty. Redaktor naczelny magazynu The American Rationalist. Doktor amerykanistyki (Uniwersytet Nowy Meksyk). Autor książki "Moja Słowiańska Wolność". Nota biograficzna

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