How Hemp Became Illegal in the US
For centuries our ancestors were using hemp for all kinds of things. They used it to make clothes, foods, oil, wax, rope, paper and fuel. It was even being prescribed as a medicine to cure all kinds of ailments. So why did hemp became illegal?
In the early 1900’s hemp was a cash crop. It was slowly taking over the timber industry. On top of hemp being used to create materials, the flowering part of the cannabis plant was being smoked.
The use of cannabis was on the rise because of alcohol prohibition. People couldn’t get their alcohol so they were turning to weed instead. Smoking weed became very popular in the world of jazz. Musicians traveled a lot and would bring their weed with them and introduce it to new people.
William Randolph Hearst was a pioneer of industry. He owned 15 daily newspapers and 36 weekly newspapers. He didn’t like hemp at all. He had millions of dollars in the timber industry and if hemp replaced timber he would lose all of it. This was also during a time in history where racism was acceptable. A majority of those using cannabis were African-American.
Hearst teamed up with the US government and started running smear campaigns against marijuana and by 1937 the Marihuana Stamp Act was put into place. No one could legally purchase marijuana with out paying $2,000 for the stamp. Even if you got the stamp, it was still illegal to possess any amount of marijuana.
Hemp didn’t become illegal because people were going mad or going on killing sprees. It was because of money and racism.