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From a Billion Dollar Crop to Zero and Back again; The History of American Hemp

From a Billion Dollar Crop to Zero and Back again; The History of American Hemp
Ministry of Hemp Podcast

 
 
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The Ministry of Hemp podcast is back with a look at the history of American hemp.

This week Matt talks with Peter Page, senior editor for Green Entrepreneur, about the future of American hemp. Then he dives into Hemp’s troubled history in America with Annie Rouse, host of the Anslinger: the Untold Cannabis Conspiracy podcast.

We want to hear from you too. Send us your questions and you might hear them answered on future shows! Send us your written questions to us on TwitterFacebook, email [email protected], or call us and leave a message at 402-819-6417. Keep in mind that phone number is for hemp questions only and any other inquiries for Ministry of Hemp should be sent to [email protected]

A historic image of a hemp harvest. The history of American hemp is a dramatic rise and fall, from widespread acceptance to total prohibition.
The history of American hemp is a dramatic rise and fall, from widespread acceptance to total prohibition.

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MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF HEMP

THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN HEMP: EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Below you’ll find the complete written transcript of this episode:

Matt Baum: 00:06 Back in 1942 the US government put out an informational film called “Hemp For Victory”.

Speaker 2: 00:10 Hemp For Victory.

Matt Baum: 00:18 It was one of those World War 2 propaganda films. it’s up on Youtube right now if you search for it. World War II was coming to a close and hemp was looked at as a miracle crop that made fire hoses, it made parachutes, it made shoes for troops, it made rope for battleships, it was going to win the war. And shortly thereafter, the same miracle crop that the US government said was going to help us win World War II, would up and vanish from American farm fields.

Matt Baum: 00:49 The history of hemp in America, this is the Ministry of Hemp podcast, my name is Matt Baum.

Matt Baum: 00:54 The FDA has been holding some meetings to hear from people and how different states are going to handle their plans for growing hemp. In doing so, there’s been a lot of discussion. And namely, how are you going to make sure that American farmers are protected. Protected in the sense that there’s a lot of hemp that’s imported from overseas, mainly Europe. And American farmers want some reassurances that we’re going to do this the right way, and make sure that no only are we taking care of the plant, but taking care of the people that are growing the plant.

FOCUSING ON AMERICAN GROWN HEMP

Matt Baum: 01:41 I sat down for a talk with the senior editor for GreenEntrepreneur.com, Peter Page, who wrote an article about farmers trying to make sure that only CBD from American grown hemp is legal.

Matt Baum: 01:57 The piece I called you about specifically I found, someone posted it on Ministryofhemp.com. And it was about hemp farmers, American hemp farmers, basically coming to talk to the US hemp round table. And they are saying, specifically, that yes we want hemp legal, but only American hemp.

Peter Page: 02:18 There’s the context for that was an interview with the folks from GenCanna, which is a big operation in Kentucky.

Matt Baum: 02:25 Right, Steve Bevan is who you were talking to.

Peter Page: 02:27 Yes, Steve Bevan. Thank you. And because I forget a lot of stuff.

Matt Baum: 02:33 It’s not problem. Me too.

Peter Page: 02:36 And the context of course was, FDA public hearing.

Matt Baum: 02:41 Right.

Peter Page: 02:41 Taking public comment, oral public comment on hemp. Which is really basically about CBD, okay? Because CBD is what’s driving the hemp business, hemp farming right now. And so Bevan’s point more specifically was that harvesting cannabinoids needs to be from hemp that’s grown in the United States under the regulatory structure of the farm bill that legalized hemp farming.

Matt Baum: 03:15 Sure.

Peter Page: 03:16 And I took his commentary to be much more oriented at the pharmaceutical industry and the production of synthetic cannabinoids.

Matt Baum: 03:26 Okay.

Peter Page: 03:27 Although, yeah you know, sure of course I think they would like to exclude cannabinoid CBD derived from foreign grown hemp.

Matt Baum: 03:37 Yeah, because it sounded like he was saying this is about developing an industry from the ground up that compensates farmers better than for other crops, where farmers are growing using organic and healthy techniques. But specifically for the benefit of American farmers.

Peter Page: 03:52 Well I think that’s true. I’m not a big fan of Mitch McConnell. You got to stipulate that.

Matt Baum: 03:59 Sure.

Peter Page: 03:59 Might go to work for the hemp industry except I’d have to say nice things about him.

Matt Baum: 04:02 Yeah.

Peter Page: 04:03 I’m just going to stick with what I’m doing. But McConnell overtly wanted hemp legalized as a crop to replace tobacco.

Matt Baum: 04:15 Right.

Peter Page: 04:15 It was intentional to create a new crop for US farmers. I don’t know how anybody can dispute that really. That’s followed it at all. We also got into, in that article, a little bit about the history of hemp which is quite well known.

Matt Baum: 04:32 That’s actually what this whole episode that we’re recording right now is about.

Peter Page: 04:36 Okay. Then you know. Then you know hemp really befell the machinations of the industry at the time.

Matt Baum: 04:45 Right.

Peter Page: 04:46 You know, William Randolph Hearst, who was vertically integrated and making a lot of money selling himself paper for his newspaper chain. And then the emerging synthetic materials industry at the time.

Matt Baum: 05:01 Now, I’m curious what you think, based on this conversation that you had. My question was, in a time where we are trying to understand how the food and drug administration bill has legalized hemp in America, do you think that it is a good idea to start deciding what type of hemp should be legal and what type should not be? Do you think that’s helpful for the conversation?

Peter Page: 05:28 Well, we already have.

Matt Baum: 05:29 I suppose.

Peter Page: 05:30 In that hemp with an invisible amount of THC is legal, you can grow it anywhere in the United States. You can harvest the cannabinoids from, and you can sell them into all sorts of stuff. Now the FDA has to catch up with a regulatory system that addresses that, that’s true. I think what we’re really talking about is structuring it so like, who gets to be the source of the cannabinoids?

Matt Baum: 06:02 Right.

Peter Page: 06:05 Can we produce this as … I mean people are already working in university labs to derive cannabinoids from yeast.

Matt Baum: 06:14 Really, I did not know that.

Peter Page: 06:17 Yeah that’s a fact. There’s already been a lot of advancement in synthetic cannabinoids. Do people really want to have this whole new pharmacopeia, CBD and CBG and CBN and the whole long list of those? But it all comes out of a lab someplace instead of helping pour a lot of new investment and a lot of new money into rural America.

Matt Baum: 06:45 Right. The only thing that worries me, there seems to be so much talk and confusion about how this is going to work right now. And especially when you bring the FDA into it, or any government branch into it. Things just get muddier and scarier. And when I first read this I thought to myself-

Peter Page: 07:01 It was muddiest and scariest when it was the DEA.

Matt Baum: 07:03 Oh, God yes.

Peter Page: 07:05 I’m sorry.

Matt Baum: 07:05 No, absolutely. When I first read this it just worried me that maybe they were starting a conversation and getting a little ahead of their skies. When instead we should be worrying more about making sure that we can grow this product in Kentucky and drive it to anywhere in the United States, before we start worrying about what type, or where it came from. You know what I mean?

Peter Page: 07:28 Well, I think that’s working itself out.

Matt Baum: 07:30 Right.

Peter Page: 07:32 Even though, yeah, there as that guy someplace who got arrested and got felony charges, I think spent four days in jail, so that was awful.

Matt Baum: 07:40 Yeah, it was like Arkansas I believe they got arrested.

Peter Page: 07:41 Arkansas, yeah.

Matt Baum: 07:42 Because they thought-

Peter Page: 07:43 [crosstalk 00:07:43] get all excited.

Matt Baum: 07:44 They thought they had a truck full of weed basically [crosstalk 00:07:46].

Peter Page: 07:46 -know how worked up they get.

Matt Baum: 07:47 Oh yeah.

Peter Page: 07:48 So anyhow I know what you’re saying, those are. But you know, that’s not the FDA’s [inaudible 00:07:53]. Again, there’s been these very well publicized regulatory crackdowns locally, including New York.

Matt Baum: 08:02 Yeah.

Peter Page: 08:03 My office is in … I go to work every day in Manhattan. But the FDA is like, that’s their goal. They’re clarifying that, and it seems that in the industry they’re assuming, figuring, expecting, you know fill in the words you want, that eventually the FDA will set some common sense limit of below X amount is okay for food supplements.

Matt Baum: 08:34 Below X amount of THC is what you’re saying.

Peter Page: 08:38 You know that sort of thing. Whatever they put in that little pixie dust of CBD in something. And above that is the pharmaceutical limit.

Matt Baum: 08:43 Right.

Peter Page: 08:44 And then you get into more human trials and that sort of thing.

Matt Baum: 08:49 What do you think? How do you feel? Do you feel like this is coming soon? Or we’re entering into an even scarier morass here with this discussion?

Peter Page: 08:56 No, I think it’s going to be pretty good. I find hemp really an exciting topic because it’s driving a lot of investment into communities that don’t have anything going on.

Matt Baum: 09:14 Absolutely.

Peter Page: 09:15 Don’t have anything new going on. And what they have had going on it’s either dying out or it’s declining, it’s hurt by the trade wars. You know, trade issues, something like that. Again, I’m in New York, my daughter, her husband, my grand sons live in Astoria, which is right new where Amazon was talking about locating, but they decided not to in New York. I bring it up because Amazon looking for that second headquarters had hundreds of communities around the country really pumped up and excited, and thinking that this one big tech savior’s going to come in and everybody’s going to get a job, and it’s all going to be good.

Peter Page: 09:55 And what we saw, the result was, Amazon was playing some kind of game to ring a lot of money out of whatever place they went to. But ultimately they went to the places that made sense for them to go anyway.

Matt Baum: 10:11 Right.

Peter Page: 10:11 And so all these other places were led astray. Hemp is in a lot of places in America. The opportunity to have a new basic resource and to process it into secondary products right there, see really will create a lot of jobs. You really will move a lot of money around. You really will draw a lot of new investment.

Matt Baum: 10:34 Peter, it is nice to have some positivity on this show every once in a while. The last four guests I’ve talked have just been like, I don’t know man. It’s a mess right now.

Peter Page: 10:46 I honestly think it’s like, well you’re going from its illegal to, it’s haphazardly regulated.

Matt Baum: 10:54 Right.

Peter Page: 10:54 It’s like, wow, I don’t know. That’s not a [inaudible 00:10:58].

Matt Baum: 10:58 No, it’s a much bigger step than it sounds. It really is.

Peter Page: 11:05 It’s huge. [crosstalk 00:11:05]. I mean, even when alcohol was outlawed in prohibition, and it was made legal again, it was just kind of went back to something that existed and was really well established and interrupted. This is not like that.

Matt Baum: 11:18 No, this is something-

Peter Page: 11:19 You know.

Matt Baum: 11:19 Yeah, this has been illegal a hell of a lot longer and now we have to remember how to make it work, it seems like.

Peter Page: 11:26 Yeah. Well even when it was legal, it was basically just not illegal. You know? There wasn’t an industry or anything.

Matt Baum: 11:33 Yeah, that’s true.

Peter Page: 11:34 Just like there wasn’t particularly a law against you having it. And hemp was grown for an entirely different purpose than it is now. It’s really an unrelated purpose.

Matt Baum: 11:43 Yeah, that’s absolutely true. I mean they weren’t growing it for CBD back in the day, certainly.

Peter Page: 11:48 No. But there’s a great article from 1937 called, “The Billion Dollar Industry”, billion dollars in 1937, which was about hemp. And that was just strictly for its use as fiber.

Matt Baum: 12:02 Yeah.

Peter Page: 12:02 This has been a crop that could have benefited rural America for the last 80 years, and who knows where we’d be now if it had never been prohibited. So I don’t know, eventually you agree with everybody on something, and I guess I agree with Mitch McConnell about hemp.

Matt Baum: 12:19 It happens right, even a stopped clock, right?

Peter Page: 12:25 Well a squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

THE STORY OF HARRY ANSLINGER

Matt Baum: 12:26 There you go. I’ll be sure to have a link to Peter’s story at GreenEntrepreneur.com in the show notes. During our discussion he mentioned an article that was written in 1937 that labeled hemp as the first billion dollar business. It just so happens, that was the first time the term billion dollar business was also ever used, which is crazy. And here to tell us how we got here, how the first billion dollar business all but vanished from America, you might remember her from just a couple episodes ago when we were talking about hemp in space. It’s my friend, Annie Rouse, who’s not just the co-founder of Anavii Market, she’s a competitor, she’s got her own podcast all about hemp history.

Annie Rouse: 13:12 This is the story of Harry Anslinger and the untold cannabis conspiracy.

Speaker 5: 13:17 He’s Harry Anslinger, ranked as a pioneer on the worldwide movement of [crosstalk 00:13:21]-

Matt Baum: 13:21 Okay, and I have heard a lot about him recently, in doing some research on hemp history in America. And that’s what we’re talking about his week on the show, it’s hemp history month, and so we figured let’s talk about where this came from. Tell me about Anslinger, why is he so important to the hemp movement?

Annie Rouse: 13:40 So Harry Anslinger was extremely important to the hemp movement for multiple reasons, but the primary one that the industry knows him for is that he was responsible for enforcing the marijuana tax act, which virtually put a tax on all of cannabis, including hemp. And pushed the industry really into the underground market.

Matt Baum: 14:04 Does Harry star as like a bad guy?

Annie Rouse: 14:07 I think he’s a misunderstood character.

Matt Baum: 14:10 Okay.

Annie Rouse: 14:11 However, most people would think he was a bad person. And I originally when I started down this path, I originally thought that he was a bad person. And the more and more that I’ve researched into his archives and different government archives, and all these different libraries across the US, I’ve discovered that he really there was a lot more to him than just trying to make cannabis illegal.

Matt Baum: 14:37 Right.

Annie Rouse: 14:38 He actually [inaudible 00:14:38] care about cannabis, he thought that it was a distraction from the bigger issues being opioids, particularly heroin. And so initially he really came onto the scene as the first commissioner of the federal bureau of narcotics in 1930. And he didn’t want to have anything to do with cannabis. Because he thought it grew like dandelions, it was a waste of time. and then slowly he kind of changed his tune.

Annie Rouse: 15:04 One of the reasoning was I think because he was getting-

Matt Baum: 15:10 Like pressure from the outside.

Annie Rouse: 15:12 Yeah, pressure from the guys above.

Matt Baum: 15:15 Sure.

Annie Rouse: 15:15 And probably the outside as well. But I also think that it made people think that, oh this could happen not to just these poor people or not to people that you don’t know, but it could happen to your family, it can happen to your kids, and cannabis can enter the space realm. So it was a really good scare tactic, and a way to bring on consensus by the general population to make it illegal. And there’s another reason he did it, but I can’t really speak to that until … Because it’s a surprise for my podcasts.

Matt Baum: 15:42 Oh, come on! So what happens when I talk to podcasters. Everyone wants to break their own story.

Annie Rouse: 15:49 All part of the story.

Matt Baum: 15:52 So why was he in the position to even do this? Who was this guy? Where did he come from? And why did the government listen to him? And why did they allow him to take hemp and put it in with all these other drugs? It just doesn’t make any sense.

Annie Rouse: 16:10 Yeah, so he was super intelligent guy. He was ultimately a diplomat. He was a secret agent in World War I.

Matt Baum: 16:20 Whoa.

Annie Rouse: 16:22 He was fluent in five languages. He was second in command of prohibition. So he was the right man for the job. And they knew really the federal bureau of narcotics was created because they needed to deal with the opium problem.

Matt Baum: 16:37 Right.

Annie Rouse: 16:38 You got all these opium dens, they needed to put control over it all. Especially with heroin coming into the picture, starting being manufactured in the late 1800s. And then needing to control that, realizing how bad of a mistake it was. And he brought cannabis under that umbrella simply because … Or, hemp I should say, because at the time they didn’t know scientifically what was the difference between hemp. What THC was. They had no idea what that was.

Annie Rouse: 17:09 You know, traditionally all what we called “marijuana” today, originally really stemmed from hemp being the cannabis plant. And it was probably somewhere around like a 1% THC. And then over time, once we found out what THC was, this committee on drug addiction that Harry Anslinger was a part of, they got together and realized, started investing in chemistry and understanding the plant. And then of course being able to tease out the THC from it and understanding that that’s what caused the psychological impact. Then a lot of investments started going towards that, including breeding the plant for high strains, high concentrations of THC.

Annie Rouse: 17:55 Which kind of pushed the hemp industry under with everything encompassing cannabis in general.

Matt Baum: 18:01 Right.

Annie Rouse: 18:01 You could really just didn’t know that much about it. And then of course during the 40s, during World War II, the US brought back hemp as part of the hemp for victory war campaign.

Speaker 2: 18:15 Oh, such plants will presently be turning out products spun from American grown hemp. [inaudible 00:18:21] of various kinds for [inaudible 00:18:23] and upholsterer’s work.

Annie Rouse: 18:27 That was like an initiative by the USDA to get people to start growing hemp again for rope and parachute webbing.

Matt Baum: 18:34 Right. I actually just watched that video on YouTube and it blew my mind.

Annie Rouse: 18:38 Yeah. It’s pretty fascinating. And a common misconception is that when the marijuana tax that came out in 1937, that it made all cannabis illegal. And that’s actually not the case, it just put a tax on it.

Speaker 2: 18:51 This is hemp seed. Be careful how you use it. For to grow hemp legally, you must have a federal registration and tax stamp. This is provided for in your contract. Ask your triple A [inaudible 00:19:04] man or your county agent about it. Don’t forget.

Annie Rouse: 19:09 And, of course it was kind of an expensive tax and just something else that you had to do. And in the middle of the great depression you’re not going to want to have to pay a permit fee just to try and grow some rope.

Matt Baum: 19:23 Right. [crosstalk 00:19:24] So they put that tax on everything. They just said, look, if it looks like marijuana, it’s marijuana. Done.

Annie Rouse: 19:31 Right.

Matt Baum: 19:31 Okay.

Annie Rouse: 19:32 So it was a way to control the seeds. If you wanted to … It was really a way to over regulate the market so it would slowly just disappear. Because after a while the permits kind of got far and few between. And innovation virtually stomped on it, so in like the mid 30s there was a big campaign to start using hemp as a plastic material. And it was a market that was up and coming, it was very viable. And these individuals had come in and they had realized how to make this plastic from hemp and they wanted to create this equipment to make it happen. And they actually had a loan that was part of the new deal that they were going to get funding for to make this facility. And then it pretty much stopped in its tracks in part because of probably the drug aspect, but then also the …

Annie Rouse: 20:26 At the time there was a big push to balance the trade deficit with the United Kingdom. It was a good way to stop hemp from being grown, and flax as well. And sort of natural fiber was basically no longer going to be grown in the US, it was going to be imported in the US from India, which was owned by the United Kingdom. So it was just a way to kind of do the reciprocal trade among the two nations to balance out their trade budget.

Matt Baum: 20:57 Okay.

Annie Rouse: 20:57 And we would trade something with them, they would trade with us, and then it would create that balancing effect.

Matt Baum: 21:03 Sure.

Annie Rouse: 21:03 So there were a lot of different economic and political problems in the 30s that really changed the future of our world today. But that also had a major impact on why cannabis ended up being under the marijuana tax act and eventually regulated. In the marijuana tax act, and technically in the uniform narcotics act, which came before the marijuana tax act, that was really the first federal sweep of trying to regulate cannabis.

Matt Baum: 21:33 Okay.

Annie Rouse: 21:34 And then it was an optional clause that states could attach to their uniform narcotics act, which brought the same regulation over all narcotics across the United States. So someone caught with opium in one state would have the same penalty as somebody caught in a different state.

Matt Baum: 21:52 Sure.

Annie Rouse: 21:52 And within that bill they gave states the option to add-on this cannabis clause which really gave like the first definition of what cannabis was, and what would and would not be permitted. And within that clause it basically said that the flower, or the resin and really what’s in the bill, in the controlled substances act today, is everything but the fiber and [inaudible 00:22:22].

Matt Baum: 22:23 So is this the point where cannabis basically became illegal?

Annie Rouse: 22:29 No. In the uniformed narcotics act, some of the states adopted the law, but not all of them did. Only I think like 27 had adopted by 1933 or so. And most of the states that had adopted were actually, like all of the cannabis states that are making it illegal now, are first to market and like southeast was really not wanting to adopt it because they had hemp and that was a viable commodity back in the 30s.

Annie Rouse: 22:58 And so they were later coming to the party. But that marijuana tax act then used that same language that was in the uniformed narcotics act, cannabis clause. So that still didn’t make it illegal, although because of the states that had adopted the cannabis clause, there were some penalties that were put in place.

Matt Baum: 23:20 Okay. So it wasn’t illegal, but it was very difficult to deal with and to ship, much like now.

Annie Rouse: 23:26 You had to have a permit.

Matt Baum: 23:28 Gotcha.

Annie Rouse: 23:29 Which is kind of similar to how it is now with the [crosstalk 00:23:33]-

Matt Baum: 23:33 That’s exactly what we’ve got, right?

Annie Rouse: 23:35 -flower you need to have a permit to have the flower in some states. And so there’s some similarities with it. But of course now it’s like freeing it and prior it was pushing it underground. So what happened really in the 30s time period is that while some people did start getting arrested if they didn’t have a permit, also these companies just started looking to other substitutes. Pharmaceutical companies that were maybe using it as like a corn remedy or for asthma, or for this, that, and the other, they just started finding substitutes with other [crosstalk 00:24:09].

Matt Baum: 24:08 It was too much of a hassle.

Annie Rouse: 24:11 Yeah, it was way too much of a hassle. No one wants to have to fill out the paperwork and pay the fees.

Matt Baum: 24:15 Of course.

Annie Rouse: 24:16 [inaudible 00:24:16] tax that, you know.

Matt Baum: 24:17 So what is the point in American history where it … I mean like you said, there was a tax, there were permits, it was a big pain in the ass, yada yada yada. At what point did it just straight up become illegal? When did this happen?

Annie Rouse: 24:29 1970 was when it became-

Matt Baum: 24:31 Really? That-

Annie Rouse: 24:32 Yes. And 1970 was when it became federally illegal under the controlled substances act.

Matt Baum: 24:37 That late. That is insane. But before that it was just such a pain to deal with because of the way it was regulated that literally everybody voluntarily stopped.

Annie Rouse: 24:49 Yeah, I mean for the most part it just … I mean some people were still getting arrested for it, some people were being thrown in jail for it. But the [crosstalk 00:24:59] actual-

Matt Baum: 25:00 It wasn’t necessarily because you had the plant, it was because you didn’t have the right permit to grow the plant.

Annie Rouse: 25:05 Right. Yeah, to grow it or possess it. Yeah, I mean that’s a very good question. But yeah, and technically not until 1970 did it actually be lumped in with all these other drugs under the controlled substances act. And that started happening in the 60s because the United Nations and all of these other countries had been forming together since 1908 initially when they had their first drug control conference. And then that momentum and everything, it was really formulating in the 60s with these different [inaudible 00:25:37] that were going on.

Annie Rouse: 25:38 And then 1970 they released the controlled substances act which put it as a controlled one narcotic as dangerous as heroin.

Matt Baum: 25:45 It was already too late though. Bureaucracy killed hemp, not any laws, not the G-men, just plain old permits and bureaucracy.

Annie Rouse: 25:54 Yeah. I mean when you put it that way.

Matt Baum: 25:56 It’s insane. It’s just nuts because everything that I’ve read and I’ve learned, or heard about it from what I’ve seen or heard, talked to other people, have made it sound like … I mean you brought up like heroin and all these other controlled substances, I guess maybe I assumed that they went, well this is a drug and yeah it should be treated like that. But it wasn’t until the 70s. And before that it was just a massive pain in the ass to deal with because of the way that they set things up, because Anslinger came in.

Matt Baum: 26:23 Who you said is a very conflicted person, not necessarily a bad guy. But he sure sounds like a jerk. Like based on the story you told.

Annie Rouse: 26:32 It’s a scale, right?

Matt Baum: 26:34 Sure.

Annie Rouse: 26:34 I usually refer to him as the guy who created all of the drug enforcement strategies that we have today.

Matt Baum: 26:42 And unfortunately hemp got stuck in with [crosstalk 00:26:45] those.

Annie Rouse: 26:46 You can kind of make your own opinion about him.

Matt Baum: 26:49 I suppose.

Annie Rouse: 26:50 But yeah, I mean he’s not the greatest guy that’s ever walked the earth. No.

THE HISTORY OF HEMP PROHIBITION IN AMERICA

Matt Baum: 26:58 Now let me ask you, did he have … Do you know, I guess, if he had any financial reason to group something like industrial hemp in with other drugs that would be taxed and whatnot? Was there a [crosstalk 00:27:10]-

Annie Rouse: 27:10 There is definitely a lot of conspiracy around it. That’s where traditionally most of the conspiracy came from was DuPont had financial interest. And William Randolph Hearst had financial interests. And JD Rockefeller.

Speaker 2: 27:28 But not everyone seemed to be happy with the future success of this miracle plant. At that time the magnet of pink journalism, William Randolph Hearst had bought millions of acres of timber forest which he intended to use to make paper for his ever more popular tabloid publications.

Speaker 2: 27:46 With the return of hemp paper, far less expensive than tree paper, his empire was doomed to collapse in a short period of time.

Speaker 2: 27:56 Another industry giant who was [crosstalk 00:27:58]-

Annie Rouse: 27:57 I’m sure that they influenced politicians just like those kinds of major companies still do today and always will. Whether or not Anslinger was getting paid under the table, or whether or not the powers that be were, and then they were enforcing that down on him. And he felt, well this is job security, and there’s other solutions for substitutions for it, so it’s not going to kill anything.

Matt Baum: 28:21 Right.

Annie Rouse: 28:22 Why not?

Matt Baum: 28:23 Why not just group it in there, it’s not my prob. So either he was in on the take, or he just didn’t care, one of the two.

Annie Rouse: 28:28 Right.

Matt Baum: 28:29 Fair enough.

Annie Rouse: 28:31 Yeah. I’m sure that the people who lobbied against cannabis probably took him out to nice dinners and-

Matt Baum: 28:37 Of course. Yeah, I mean lobbying is worked the same way since day one.

Annie Rouse: 28:43 But whether or not he was getting paid, I’ve never found anything like that in the archives.

Matt Baum: 28:49 Okay.

Annie Rouse: 28:49 I did find some interesting … a pretty interesting piece in one of his archives, which was a letter that he had written to William Randolph Hearst that had said, thank you for putting your October 8th and October 10th editorial and cartoon in your publication. It helped to gain sentiment towards the uniformed narcotics act. So there was conversations and getting, you know gain that support that we need for it.

Matt Baum: 29:22 But there was not [crosstalk 00:29:23] I’m glad that check cleared and you’re happy with it.

Annie Rouse: 29:26 I’ve never found anything like that.

Matt Baum: 29:27 Okay.

Annie Rouse: 29:28 [inaudible 00:29:28] that the government scrubs everything before they allow the people to see it.

Matt Baum: 29:31 Of course.

Annie Rouse: 29:34 But finding little gems like that though do make you think.

Matt Baum: 29:40 Sure. And that’s why I brought it up. It seems like there is a lot of that conspiracy theory out there. I mean of course there is a million conspiracy theories out there on everything, but around hemp, it’s easy to look at certain things. Like the questions I was asking you. Like why? Why would they have done this? It’s just easy to look at it and look at the industry that was going on at the time, and look what was going on in the government. And go, well yeah, they just shut it down. They locked hands with industrial military complex and went, we don’t need him. We got cotton. Or we’ve got plastic. Or whatever.

Annie Rouse: 30:16 Yeah. And I mean I think that the really interesting thing to look into at that time was really actually the pharmaceutical aspect of it.

Matt Baum: 30:25 Yes.

Annie Rouse: 30:28 They knew was cannabinol was, which is CBN. That was the first cannabinoid ever discovered. They didn’t really know what CBD or THC was. They certainly didn’t know how CBD reacted in the body. They knew that THC had an effect.

Matt Baum: 30:42 Right.

Annie Rouse: 30:42 But other than like the extract as a whole, and they’ve stated this in a lot of different archives that I’ve seen. Being able to sooth restlessness, to kill pain, to lower body temperature, for asthma, for corn remedies. You know they knew it had a pharmaceutical application, but when you look at Anslinger’s role on the committee on drug addiction, which was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, that actually-

Matt Baum: 31:09 Come on, isn’t that a connection right there? I mean, come on!

Annie Rouse: 31:13 Yeah. It makes sense as to maybe why they would have just thrown cannabis to the side, because they knew they had already isolated morphine from opium.

Matt Baum: 31:28 Right.

Annie Rouse: 31:28 And they had already made so many advancements with the opioid compounds as a whole, and they were really invested in understanding alkaloid chemistry, which alkaloids are anything with a nitrogen molecule, which is almost every plan on earth.

Matt Baum: 31:46 Sure.

Annie Rouse: 31:47 Cannabis doesn’t actually it’s not considered an alkaloid. So it was just a different kind of compound to look at and to understand and to break down. They didn’t have the technology that we have today, where we can put it in a machine and then it pops out what that chemical structure is.

Matt Baum: 32:03 Of course. [crosstalk 00:32:03]-

Annie Rouse: 32:04 -take things apart and put it back together.

Matt Baum: 32:06 Right.

Annie Rouse: 32:07 And it was just much more complicated. So with all the focus on opioids, it made a lot more sense why maybe they couldn’t necessarily focus on cannabis.

Matt Baum: 32:18 Okay.

Annie Rouse: 32:18 And maybe they didn’t want to because part of their whole committee on drug addictions process was focusing on investigating these new drugs and then synthesizing the new drug so that they could patent the new drugs.

Matt Baum: 32:31 Gotcha.

Annie Rouse: 32:32 If they couldn’t understand and break down a cannabis plant, and those compounds within it, then they wouldn’t be able to synthesize it and wouldn’t be able to patent it.

Matt Baum: 32:40 Yeah, it’s not worth your time, it’s not worth the effort. [inaudible 00:32:43].

Matt Baum: 32:51 So there you go. Much to my chagrin, hemp was not in fact killed by a giant conspiracy of the U.S. government, the military industrial complex, and of course, the richest people in America at the time. It sounds like it was strangled by red tape actually. Kind of boring, but then again, I haven’t finished Annie’s podcasts yet, I’m only on episode four. So far, really good stuff. And I’ll have a link to that in the show notes as well. I highly recommend you check it out.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Matt Baum: 33:35 Sorry about the short break between episodes there guys. June was kind of a crazy month, I got a year older and had a lot of work stuff going on. But, we’re going to be back shortly here answering some of your questions. I’ve been collecting questions from people in our Google voicemail. And I’m excited to say I have enough to put together a short show. We might even start doing these in between the regular episodes just to give you a little something extra. If you have a question you’d like to hear answered on the Ministry of Hemp podcast, you can call me at 402-819-6417 and leave your voicemail.

Matt Baum: 34:10 Be sure to tell me your name, it doesn’t have to be your full name. But be sure to give us something so we know what to call you. And like I said, we’ll answer you right here on the show. Don’t forget to check the show notes for a complete written transcript of this episode. And thanks again for downloading and sharing, and it really really does help. Write a short review on iTunes, give us a thumbs up on your favorite streaming podcast app, and it really does help get this show in front of other people.

Matt Baum: 34:40 You can also hit us up on Facebook and Twitter. And of course you’ll find those links in the show notes also. But for now, take care of yourself, take care of others, and for crying out loud, make good decisions, will you? This is Matt Baum with the Ministry of Hemp, signing off.

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Matt Baum has been hosting, producing, and editing podcasts for almost ten years. He's been a touring musician, chef, journalist, and avid comic book fan for as long as he can remember. Currently, Matt lives in Omaha Nebraska with his wife Kacie and pug Mable.

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  • Avatar Jeff says:

    I am surprised that there was not one mention of Jack Herer and his book and the documented racist statements of Anslinger and his “horror” file about crazy Blacks and Mexicans who went insane after smoking marijuana. These stories were in the Hearst papers and helped get the marijuana tax act railroaded thru congress.

  • Avatar GAC says:

    The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury at that time was Andrew Mellon, who happened to own Mellon Bank (and was one of the backers for DuPont as well). Mellon’s niece was married to Harry Anslinger who, incidentally, was connected to the alcohol prohibition campaign. He was out of a job (as were everyone else in that sector of the federal government) after the alcohol prohibition ended. To keep his family employed, Mellon created a new division of the federal government, the Bureau of Narcotics, and made Harry Anslinger the new head of that program.