How Print Destroyed An 8,000 Year Old Tool

Hemp, a variety of the flower Cannabis Sativa, is a powerful plant that can be refined into a variety of commercial items including rope, paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, bio-fuel, food, and animal feed. For this reason, the plant’s been in use for the past 8,000+ years, providing humans with various forms of shelter, innovation, and progress.

Alas, along came Rep. Official with the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1937 and banned all varieties of cannabis, including hemp, the vital tool humans have been using since its discovery. Without delving further into the fact that he had previously dismissed any notion of cannabis being dangerous and only shifted views due to self interest, we will focus on the unfortunate results of the ban and what we can learn going forward.


Photo Credit: Pixabay, Angie Donahue

The Ban & Its Effects

“In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act strictly regulated the cultivation and sale of all cannabis varieties. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis — including hemp — as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow it in the United States (which is why we’re forced to import hemp from other countries as long as it contains scant levels of THC — 0.3% is the regulation for hemp cultivation in the European Union and Canada). As a result of this long-term prohibition, most people have forgotten the industrial uses of the plant and continue to misidentify hemp with its cannabis cousin, marijuana.” Leafly.com.

Two events followed the Act:

  • In 1944 New York Academy of Medicine issued an extensively researched report declaring that, contrary to earlier research and popular belief, use of marijuana did not induce violence, insanity or sex crimes, or lead to addiction or other drug use.
  • During World War II, imports of hemp and other materials crucial for producing marine cordage, parachutes, and other military necessities became scarce. In response the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched its “Hemp for Victory” program, encouraging farmers to plant hemp by giving out seeds and granting draft deferments to those who would stay home and grow hemp. By 1943 American farmers registered in the program harvested 375,000 acres of hemp.

“During World War II, imports of hemp and other materials crucial for producing marine cordage, parachutes, and other military necessities became scarce.”


More Criminals

Still, by 1951, the government was back to prohibition because of the profit it awarded them, and they enacted federal laws (Boggs Act, 1952; Narcotics Control Act, 1956) which set mandatory sentences for drug-related offenses, including marijuana. A first-offense marijuana possession carried a minimum sentence of 2-10 years with a fine of up to $20,000.

Less than a decade after encouraging thousands of farmers across the US to grow as much hemp as they can harvest, the plant was outlawed from being grown, and punishments were harsher than ever. Should any local growers be caught and unable to pay the fines, their prison sentences would simply be further extended.

More Expensive

Not being allowed to grow hemp in our own backyards, many materials and products had to be re-imagined, or became more expensive. Manufacturers now had to purchase carefully selected hemp from overseas.

More Alcohol Use

Outlawing all variations of Cannabis Sativa meant outlawing recreational use of the plant too. It’s inevitable that people will turn to a substance to alleviate the realities of life and with the prohibition on alcohol recently lifted – not a coincidence that they immediately jumped to prohibit something else, as vague as it was – consumption was widespread and growing. With the newly adjusted bans on cannabis though, there was no hope of a less violent, less physically harmful substance turn to.

The Power Of The Printed Word


An excerpt from a newspaper from 1936.

We’ve grown accustomed to the immense ways the printing press has improved our lives, to the point where we aren’t even aware we are utilizing the powers of printed words. For a quick reminder – all computer related products are made possible with written programs. Without the printing press, Harry J. Anslinger would not have had the power to help falsify information that would be consumed by millions across the country. Publications that were distributed, sounding very authoritative, convincing the masses at large that hemp is “more dangerous than opium and cocaine” as shown in an old article from 1936.

Now, 80 years later, we are still trying to reverse the effect the printed word has had on the reputation of hemp, a plant in use for the past 8-10,000 years.

Social Media – The New Print

Today we have a unique opportunity to reverse a global concept. Today, print has progressed so much farther beyond a wooden structure and some screws. Today, the printed word can reach literally millions in, again literally, a matter of seconds. It’s incomprehensible!

Since Socrates first protested the written word until 1440 AD we could not imagine reaching all the people in your country with one message without leaving your home. Since 1440, with the first real printing press invention, the options have only expounded. It’s been hundreds of years that we know we can send an uninterrupted message to the entire world, but in how much time? The internet exploded our minds with being able to shrink not only distance, but time until it can no longer be considered an obstacle ever again.

“As millennials, we’re especially qualified to carry out global change, being at the receiving end of all the refined tools and innovations, as well as recorded history.”


As millennials, we’re especially qualified to carry out global change, being at the receiving end of all the refined tools and innovations, as well as recorded history. It took hundreds of years to refine print to get it to the point of being able to share one message across the world in a matter of seconds –  let’s take advantage of it. It took almost 100 years to reverse the damage of printed word, but now people are open to the truth – let’s take advantage. The damage wrought to thousands of innocent Americans as the result of selfish greed is now beginning to be re-examined – let’s take advantage of that and help spread the messages faster, farther, and with more impact!

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETER CALL: Are you a social media marketer and would like to be a contributing writer for our non-profit organization to build your presence in the ‘green rush’ space?

We would love to work with you and help increase your exposure in our community. Give us a call at (858) 952-6330 for more details and lets get you started immediately with our editorial team. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more!

About the Author: Slavy Darozhkin is a well renowned photographer from New York, who has found her calling in the world of social media marketing. She is the founder and CEO of startup digital marketing company #lilac Media, as well as photographer at SirenPhoto. With a keen passion for cannabis and its positive influence on our world, Slavy continues to seek out the pioneers of the green rush and assist in assimilating their businesses with the virtual world.


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