CANNABIS HISTORY: HEMP VS MARIJUANA

Cannabis is the genus name in Latin that is applied to hemp plants. Marijuana is a word that was invented to scandalize and prohibit the substance in 1935. 

 

The passing of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1936 made the growing of Cannabis (hemp and marijuana) illegal which eliminated the original, pure land races used at the time for medicine, textiles, paper, bio fuel, food and so many other uses. Over the decades since, marijuana growers selectively bred their plants to contain higher and higher levels of THC and other compounds such as terpenes, which give smell and taste to the plant. While useful for marijuana development, this selective breeding destroyed the genetics of very useful original strains, making them hybrids and predisposing growers to select for THC. This displaced the other 95+plus cannabinoids, and research focus on their benefits was halted. 

 

Today, the distinction between marijuana and hemp is an arbitrary definition created by the 2014 Farm bill, which said that any cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% THC will be considered hemp, and everything above 0.3% THC is considered marijuana. Broadly speaking, the 2014 Farm Bill only protected cultivators registered under a state’s hemp research pilot program who cultivate cannabis containing no more than 0.3% of THC, and who meet the requirements imposed by their state department of agriculture. The 2018 Farm Bill went further, and decriminalized hemp. Once the bill is made viable, it makes it possible for farmers to market hemp across state and international lines, apply for crop insurance, bank, and be eligible for grants and loans from the USDA, like any other crop.

 

The FDA has been a major part of the government control of Cannabis (marijuana) by making it a schedule 1 drug.  For more than 80 years they squelched the benefits of cannabis for the benefit of the rich. Major opponents were Standard Oil (they did not want biofuels competing with petroleum), Dupont (wanting plastic to take over the rope market), the paper industry, the cotton industry (hemp lasted longer and was not attacked by mold) and of course, pharmaceuticals (who had developed opiates by 1937). These were the main actors who pushed for the “1937 Marihuana Tax Act”. 

 

This war on drugs has provided the massive incarceration of brown and black people providing billions to private prisons. It caused the absolute prohibition of cannabis – all of it – as hemp, medicine, food, recreation, fiber, bio fuel, textiles, bio plastics, ropes, fodder, and more. The United States Government has been complicit in restricting this amazing plant in order to sell us what corporations produce. Our government has been bought by corporations that now have rights, like people, that ensure that anyone taking market share is breaking the law. None  of the efforts to fully legalize cannabis have succeeded. Even in Colorado it has not been fully legalized, but instead heavily regulated and monopolized by the biggest money bidders. If it was legal, all citizens could grow and sell cannabis, like a home garden or a lemonade stand. Thus, our stand as a business, that 10% of our resources go towards social action and creating legislation to resist the forces of corporate and government tyranny.