"If we cannot end our differences then at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
John F Kennedy
"The law's implementation damages individuals... to a degree that far outweighs any harm that cannabis use may be doing to society."
The Runciman Report, 2000
"The strictest law often causes the most serious wrong."
Another Brief History of Cannabis ProhibitionBy Rob Christopher
Up until the turn of this century, cannabis had been used therapeutically for thousands of years with little fear of persecution for the user.
But at the 1924 Geneva Opiates Conference, a since-discredited Egyptian delegate convinced everyone that cannabis was a great threat to society and should be subject to the same controls as opiates such as heroin. Cannabis was consequently listed as a dangerous narcotic and subjected to strict control.
The British government acted on this declaration, and Cannabis became illegal here on September 28th, 1928 under The Dangerous Drugs Act. This was despite the findings of the government-funded 1894 Indian Hemp Drugs Commission that not only was there a "legitimate use of the Hemp drug" but "Absolute prohibition is out of the question." At the time, recreational use of Cannabis was virtually unheard of in Britain and little attention was paid to the passing of this law.
The greatest threat to Cannabis and indeed the future well-being of the planet was yet to come - and this from the United States.
The big problem for the newly-emerging multinationals was that Cannabis was such an amazing plant with limitless industrial applications. It was clear that Cannabis had to be suppressed if they were to dominate the market place with their patented man-made products.
William Hearst, a Newspaper tycoon, ran a series of sensationalist stories about "The New Killer Weed, Marijuana" (The word "Marijuana," a Mexican colloquialism for Cannabis, was forced into the English language by Hearst in the hope that people didn't realise that he was in fact referring to Cannabis, one of the most popular prescribed medicines at the time.)
Anslinger (Nephew of Andrew Mellon, head of Mellon Bank who were the key financial backers to DuPont, who in 1937 patented the sulphuric acid wood pulp bleaching process) testified to congress that "Marijuana is the most violence causing drug known to Mankind," backing his claims with cuttings from Hearst's since-discredited newspaper stories.
Congress fell for his stories, and the 1937 Marijuana Transfer Tax was passed, imposing restrictions on the medical and industrial use, and making the flowering tops of the plant a narcotic subject to strict control.
In 1945, a very comprehensive report commissioned by LaGuardia, the Mayor of New York refuted the claims made by Hearst and Anslinger.
This report, and every single comprehensive piece of independent research since, has come to the same general conclusion that: "Marijuana, in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically-active substances known to man."
(Judge Francis Young's ruling after two years of court hearings on the therapeutic use of Cannabis).
These findings however have been continually rejected by Governments who wish to maintain the status quo of world domination by the multinationals.
It is only when governments stop protecting the interests of the multinationals that we will be free to benefit fully from Cannabis.