The real reason cannabis became illegal

This is the transcript for the YouTube video above, with clickable citations.

Why was hemp illegal? It was banned for the same reason as marijuana: Reefer Madness, drug addiction, violence, and a bunch of other unsubstantiated claims. But that doesn’t make sense because hemp doesn’t get you high. So, what the f@#$ happened? This video is going to break down the real reason why both marijuana and hemp, and later CBD, became illegal. No, it’s not a conspiracy video. I’m going to rip apart the conspiracy theories, the debunker articles, and just about every website that tries to tell this story. This video is different. Every claim made in this video will be backed up by multiple, legitimate sources that you can find under this video at That’s the difference. This story is backed by legitimate citations, as opposed to all the other bullshit on the internet. I spent weeks doing this. Some of this research goes against everyone: from the tin foil hats to the historians. We’re going deep into the rabbit hole. I’m debunking everybody. Bring your hat, let’s go. We’ll start with the elephant in the room: William Randolph Hearst.

If you ask a bunch of pot-smoking hippies, they’ll tell you, without a doubt, cannabis is illegal because of William Randolph Hearst, who was a timber tycoon in the 1930s and the owner of the largest newspaper media chain in the world.

Today, he would be like a Mark Zuckerburg, CNN, and Fox news, and Jack Dorsey combination—a media super baby if you will—that controls everything people see.

Hearst was paper rich, a timber tycoon, and hemp was the new billion-dollar crop that was going to grow paper faster and cheaper than timber.

In 1938, Popular Mechanics basically told Hearst, “your tree paper is obsolete and will be replaced with the future: hemp paper. Hemp will also replace 25,000 other products, but specifically, f#@$ your tree paper.” But William Randolph Hearst wasn’t going down like that.

Hearst used his many newspapers to stoke racism and demonize cannabis into a deadly drug he called “Marihuana.”

The hippies will also mention racism, DuPont, Andrew Mellon, Harry Anslinger, the man, and maybe trail off with Big Pharma. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Is it true? Did William Randolph Hearst start a racist-fueled conspiracy to end hemp and keep his timber wealth? Or was he just racist? 

The racist propaganda is not up for debate in research. Hearst did own a newspaper empire that printed anti-cannabis propaganda and would often target minorities. But that’s not unique on its own. It’s not a smoking gun to say his newspapers were racist because all newspapers were a reflection of the times, and the early 1900s was a racist time.

By the way, you should definitely subscribe to this YouTube channel and check out because that’s where I test CBD products at two independent labs to make sure you, my friend, are getting real CBD. That’s what I normally do—today’s special.

Ok, the racism, it was not unique, and it’s clear that it has played a huge role in the illegalization of cannabis, or as those racists called it, marihuana.

Even people at the time knew that referring to cannabis as marihuana was ridiculous, or should I say mongrel. There is an amazing transcript of congressional testimony from 1937 where the doctor representing the American Medical Association vehemently opposes the use of the word Marihuana.

Dr. Woodward states: “I use the word ‘Cannabis’ in preference to the word ‘marihuana’, because Cannabis is the correct term for describing the plant and its products. The term ‘marihuana’ is a mongrel word that has crept into this country over the Mexican border and has no general meaning…”

This doctor, in 1937, laid out everything that was wrong about banning marijuana… and hemp. Hemp, by the way, is just a form of cannabis with very low THC, which is why it doesn’t get you high.

The concern was that cannabis caused a reefer madness and an addiction, but Dr. Woodward’s response was: Look, I say there’s no evidence that medicinal cannabis causes addiction, and you have no testimony from any doctors or pharmacists to counter that argument. The only medical testimony that you do have against cannabis still admits that there are certain medical uses of cannabis that can’t be replaced by any other drugs. To say that the use of the drug should be prevented by a prohibitive tax loses sight of the fact that future investigation may show that there are substantial medical uses for Cannabis. 

Even in 1937, he knew that cannabis had a medicinal potential beyond our understanding… of even today. Despite his pleading with Congress to call it cannabis, and not marihuana, they called it the “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937”. Hemp was lumped in, too, even though it has nothing to do with getting high. Go figure. Taxes. It wasn’t illegal, they just put unreasonable taxes on it, which nobody paid, and then they could get you for tax evasion—Capone style. The result was the same: jail.

And the Boggs Act in the ’50s skipped the tax BS and sent first-time marijuana offenders straight to jail for a minimum of 2 to 10 years. Insane. Could you imagine that? Sitting in jail and watching rapists and wife-beaters leave jail before you, and you’re just like, “you kids get out of here, I’ve got to serve real time for that joint I smoked seven years ago.” Insane.

This doctor was such a boss that he called out Congress for having virtually no facts. You say marijuana causes crime, I talked to your Bureau of Prisons, and they have no such evidence.

You say kids are smoking, your Children’s Bureau says I don’t know what the F- you’re talking about. You say cannabis addicts are going mad; I talked to all the major drug treatment departments and mental health divisions. They have no record of any cannabis addicts or reefer madness.

Dr. Woodward was incredible, what a G, but his views were the views of medicine at the time. Eleven out of twelve major medical authorities were in favor of the medicinal use of cannabis, and that was on the basis of treating migraines.

Here’s the most profound thing Woodward said. You have no evidence. The only thing we are referred to is newspaper publications. Dun dun duunnnnnnn. Conspiracy. This is actually infuriating. Aside from any of the answers to “why” this happened, we know that it wasn’t based on science or evidence. And they knew cannabis had potential. If you just look at the FDA-approved CBD medication that’s now prescribed for children with rare epilepsy, how many lives could have been saved over the last century? Kids seizing to death because of newspaper articles. No other reason cited. Plus, the incarcerations and the suppression of cannabis research, all because of newspaper articles. And that brings us back to Hearst.

Did Hearst stand to gain economically from the anti-cannabis campaign that led to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937?

This is still up for debate, according to a study as recent as March 2020. So the specific question is, was Hearst timber rich, the timber that supposedly created his newspapers, and did cannabis paper threaten that wood-paper wealth?

I have a confession to make. I want this conspiracy to be real because I wrote it in a book, and I’m going to look like a real idiot if it’s not. I basically wrote, Hearst was a timber tycoon, and cannabis threatened his wealth.

You know, maybe part of me just wanted it to be true. It makes for an incredible story. Hearst was this larger-than-life character who influenced the world with lies.

He was the founder of fake news, which was first known as yellow journalism.

Hearst was credited as single-handedly starting the Spanish-American War by illustrating an explosion of an American ship in Cuba. People who were there said the explosion came from within the ship; Hearst said, sounds like a Spanish torpedo to me.

That’s where the infamous quote supposedly comes from, “You furnish the pictures, I’ll provide the war!”

The unsubstantiated rumor-printing and war-provoking articles were real, but historians argue that there was more to the Spanish-American war than fake news. But that’s exactly what government historians would say. Know what I mean? I am a formerly-disgruntled-government-employee, by the way.

And then this Hearst character, of this mysterious, rich, Spanish-war starting, world manipulating man, was made into Citizen Kane, one of the greatest films ever made.

You couldn’t find a greater villain to also blame for cannabis illegalization. So, why did I think Hearst was a timber tycoon? Truth be told, a high neighbor told me that story when I was like 14. It’s also all over the internet, which means it’s true.

But I also read about it in a book called Understanding Marijuana, by Mitch Earleywine, a professor at the University of Southern California. It’s published by Oxford University Press.

Other scholars have also published that Hearst’s timber holdings were threatened by hemp. But no evidence is presented, and the only real citations lead back to Jack Herer’s 1985 book titled The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

Jack Herer, “Herer like terror,” as he would say, was a cannabis rights activist with a cult-like following.

The book played an enormous role in shaping the idea that cannabis was wrongly demonized. And a lot of the book was true. You had people like Willie Nelson and Woodie Harrelson publicly spreading the book’s message, which must have played a part in actual Ph.D. idiots citing the book. See, what I’m trying to say is, I am an idiot, but I don’t have the title “doctor” before my name, which makes me a victim referencer of the conspiracy. I’m pulling the victim card.

Herer’s book is the first public mention of the conspiracy, specifically claiming that a) Hearst had timber-slash-paper interests, and b) those interests were threatened by hemp. He lays out the full conspiracy, but we’ll get to DuPont and the others soon. The timber interests are critical to figure out because it’s the center of the conspiracy theory, and the debunkers’ counter-argument, to why cannabis became illegal.

The predicament that we find ourselves in is that Herer never produced an iota of evidence to substantiate his theory, according to research published by a Standford Ph.D., Dale Gieringer, who also happens to be a medical marijuana advocate.

Dale was named High Times Freedom Fighter of the year in 2010, so it’s safe to say he’s on our side, but I know someone is watching this thinking, Dale is probably DEA, CIA, or part of the conspiracy. Ok, conspiracy theorist, I knew you’d come to a Youtube video about a conspiracy. He didn’t say it wasn’t true. He just said there was no evidence. Let’s go down the rabbit hole and prove that Hearst had timber interests that were threatened by cannabis. Bring your tin foil hat. Let’s start with his US property records.

Hearst had 270,000 acres of land in San Simeon, California. This is where the famous Hearst Castle is located.

But when you look at the land of Southern California, it becomes immediately apparent that this is not the location of “enormous timber acreage,” as the Emperor of Hemp called it. That was Herer’s nickname, by the way, Emperor of Hemp…  the dude’s famous.

Hearst also had 67,000 acres of land on the McCloud River in Northern California, according to State Park records

Now McCloud did have “enormous timber acreage” and a mill, but it was owned by the McCloud River Lumber Company. There are no records of a Hearst mill or timber operation in California or the rest of the United States. The absence of records, in this case, is proof because a mill is not something you can just hide from history. A mill requires thousands of people to operate, towns are built around it—it’s a big part of history—and there’s always some form of historical proof or records. Plus, when you visit those towns, they’re always like: the town hasn’t been the same since the mill closed down, and that’s why there are no jobs and Jed’s on crack. You can’t hide that history.

The Hearst family now has a timber management division for Northern California, but that is just for conservation purposes. Or, as a certain president would say, we need to sweep our forests here in California.

The only record of a Hearst Mill, which purchased timber through other companies, was called the Dexter Sulphite Pulp Paper Company. Hearst purchased it in 1920 but never paid for it and abandoned the property within a year. Hold on; I’m not ready to give up. Don’t burn my book just yet. Hearst owned only over 300,000 acres of land in the United States, but he may have been the largest individual landowner in Mexico.

His father, George Hearst, gave him up to 1.6 million acres of land in Mexico. And that land was timber rich, which seems to conflict with debunkers who claim that the Hearst family had no timber interests.

For context, that’s the size of eight New York Cities, owned by one asshole. Mexicans were not happy about this, let me tell you what… in a second, we’ll get to just how mad those Mexicans were and why it matters.

According to a 2000 report by the Texas Center for Policy Studies, William Randolph Hearst owned the Sierra Madre and Lumber Company in Mexico. Bingo.

The company was big. It was big enough to sell 2.4 million acres of land, including one of its mills in 1909 to a railroad company. That would suggest at some point Hearst had timber and a mill to process it, and Hearst may have kept it, which I’ll get to.

I found photographs that went for auction of “extensive lumber mill structures” that cited both the Sierra Madre and Lumber Company and Hearst Corporation. But here’s where things get dicey and start to fall apart.

There’s conflicting evidence. Other sources claim that the Sierra Madre and Lumber Company was owned by William Cornell Greene, one of the wealthiest businessmen in the world. So, why is there so much confusion about who owned this land and the Sierra Madre and Lumber Company?

Research by a University in Juarez, Mexico, found that Greene and his Sierra Madre and Lumber Company purchased land from the Hearst family’s Babicora ranch, somewhere around 1904.

However, shortly after, Greene went bankrupt in the recession of 1907.

An article from 1909 seems to corroborate that story, which would also explain why the Sierra Madre and Lumber Company’s 2.4 million acres of land was sold off. That’s pretty wild that the richest man in the world went bankrupt. The land Greene purchased from Hearst was to be sold off by the Mexican court system. The problem was that Greene never fully purchased the land and still owed Hearst 3,000,000 dollars, a lot of money back then. Hearst fought the Mexican court system for years, and eventually, they ruled in favor of Hearst, which would give the land and property back to Hearst. This explains the confusion of the property and mills. It’s also possible that the three million dollars, worth 82 million dollars today, was part of a partnership that would give Hearst access to lumber mill and railroad transportation services. In any case, Hearst had vast timber acreage and probably had lumber mills to process it. But nothing was stable.

Hearst’s fight over his Mexican timberland reveals something else that may better explain his anti-Mexican and anti-cannabis propaganda. The University in Juarez’s research puts Hearst’s land at the center of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Locals felt that private landowners, such as Hearst, had exploited the country’s vast natural resources because he did. 90% of farmers were kicked off their land, and Hearst was the symbol of Mexico’s betrayal to its own people. Hearst’s land was a battleground before and through-out the revolution, literally and figuratively.

During the revolution, Pancho Villa attacked Hearst’s ranch, stole 60,000 cattle, and killed at least one man. The downward spiral continued for Hearst.

Hearst used his newspapers to influence the U.S. government to take action while pushing anti-Mexican propaganda. Hearst fought a losing battle with Mexico all the way up until his death. In 1954, Mexico fully nationalized Hearst’s land.

So, daddy gives you 1.6 million acres of timber wealth, and Mexico slowly takes it all away. That’s reason enough for his racist news articles. But at the same time, Hearst isn’t going to promote hemp as a better alternative to his father’s gift of timberland. Hearst fought to the death to keep that wood-paper dream alive.

But it’s unlikely that he was able to use his own timber to manufacture paper, as the conspiracy implies.

Aside from the fact that Mexico couldn’t have been a stable paper supply—the revolution and all—Hearst went into debt to Canadian Paper Suppliers in the 1930’s.

His papers almost went out of business.

Critics argue that Hearst would have saved money if hemp paper was a viable option. But that’s kind of like telling someone they should learn how to swim when they are in a river drowning. In 1937, when the Marijuana Tax Act passed, Hearst was 126 million dollars in debt. It’s more likely that Hearst would print anti-hemp propaganda for the people he owed millions of dollars to. You’re probably not going to start a competing hemp paper business when you’re in serious debt to paper manufacturers, and they could instantly shut you down by simply saying: “no mas.” Plus, Hearst had timber that would also go down in value from new hemp products.

But that begs the question, was hemp a real threat to wood? Herer’s conspiracy stated that new machines for processing hemp became state-of-the-art and affordable in the mid-1930s. The new hemp decorticators would produce a cheaper alternative to wood pulp that would cause timber, paper, and newspaper companies to lose money or go broke. Obliviously, newspaper companies would save money with cheaper hemp paper, but let’s continue.

Research published by the Department of Agriculture seems to support those decorticator claims, albeit at an earlier date. There were already five different kinds of hemp decorticators available by 1916.

The report also found that an acre of hemp could produce four times the pulp of an acre of timber.

Hemp produces more cellulous than trees—which can produce paper or thousands of other items—and grows in four months instead of 20 to 40 years. Trees can’t compete with the speed of hemp, which is why the United States lifted the tax act and encouraged farmers to grow hemp to support World War II efforts. Hemp looks superior by those metrics: 4 times the pulp in 40 fewer years.

But many people believe that hemp’s potential was exaggerated. Hemp’s growth in the United States went down dramatically in the years prior to the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. If hemp were superior, people would have grown more of it and not less. The simple explanation is that most states passed laws between 1914 and 1933 that restricted both hemp and cannabis, you know, because of that pesky reefer madness that was going around. People didn’t grow hemp because they couldn’t. So, that whole argument that hemp wasn’t popular is a joke because people couldn’t grow it at the local level.

This fact also somewhat discredits the notion that Hearst was the sole conspirator against hemp because many local laws had already pushed for prohibition. His newspapers could have just been a reflection of the local laws and ignorance of the time. You know, like most news channels today. 

The discussions around illegalization also discredit my original theory that hemp and its thousands of uses must have been the true target of marijuana laws. After all, it doesn’t make any sense that people and lawmakers would want to make anti-drug laws that specifically target a plant—hemp—that has nothing to do with recreational drug use: no reefer madness, not one case. But reading the congressional testimony that led up to the Marihuana Tax Act makes it very clear that both local residents and lawmakers didn’t understand the difference between hemp and marijuana. They used the terms interchangeably under the category of a narcotic. So yeah, there’s the possibility that hemp was just made illegal because they confused it with marijuana. I’ll buy that, but it’s not an excuse for keeping it illegal. A lot of people still don’t know the difference between the two, like the DEA. Hemp wasn’t deemed legal until 2018. You can’t say it was just a mistake all that time. At some point, after they used it to win WWII or later, you’d come to the conclusion that nobody’s getting high off this stuff, and it’s useful as a crop.

Hemp was a threat to paper in the early 1900s. Today, there’s more of a debate, and we need to understand that debate to understand why cannabis is illegal. There are some serious advantages to hemp paper.

Hemp paper can be reused more times, it lasts hundreds of years without deteriorating or yellowing, it’s faster to whiten and produces far less toxic waste, and it averages 5 tons of pulp per acre in just four months, with up to 12.5 tons in certain strains and areas.

[This section was cut from the video.]

But that brings us to the competition from today’s more eco-friendly trees. Eucalyptus can average up to 14 tons per acre per year, even more in research, and they start to see those averages in just 3 to 7 years. Or you clear cut a 35+-year-old forest down and get 86 tons of timber per acre. Just make condos on it after; who cares? Even thinning a forest can average 30 tons of timber per acre.

The cost of wood pulp is currently about $400 per ton. Hemp is currently six times the cost at $2500 per ton.

Hemp can’t compete today. But we can’t clear cut down forests forever, and the advances in eucalyptus yields have only been achieved in recent years due to new “genetic and intensive management” improvements. Hemp yields can improve. Hemp is outrageously expensive because it was illegal, the industry has no technology investments, and it is currently produced at a boutique scale with archaic machinery. In the US, we consume 6.8 billion cubic feet per year of solid wood products alone, and it’s processed with incredible machinery that’s been perfected through years of research and development. The only way to know if hemp can compete is by removing restrictions and investing in technology for cultivation and processing hemp. It is essentially the same argument people originally had against electric cars. It wasn’t until Tesla invested in technology and scale that showed electric cars could compete—or least compete for those consumers who want to support green technology—or go faster than anyone else. There are a few studies that suggest that hemp can win as a substitute for wood pulp or at least become a green competitor. Hemp farms might also triple their revenue from an acre of hemp stalks by additionally processing the hemp flower for oil and seeds. All of this is accomplished within four months instead of the years required to invest in and maintain timberland. I’m not saying hemp will ever replace timber, but maybe it will help satisfy consumers’ growing need for more: more everything. 

[End cut section.]

I think there is enough evidence to suggest that hemp can be a paper competitor today, just as it was during Hearst’s time, and it could compete in many other industries, just like it could before it became illegal. As for Hearst, he did have lumber interests, and it’s possible that he didn’t want hemp as competition. However, his near bankruptcy, his debt to Canadian paper suppliers, and his battle for daddy’s land in Mexico make it just as likely that he was printing racist cannabis propaganda because of his war with Mexico. Don’t underestimate what kind of terror a spoiled brat will create for the acceptance of his father. Or maybe he was doing what all good media outlets do by printing the news that perfectly aligns with its advertisers’ needs. Perhaps an advertiser from the emerging plastic industry. This is where the next conspiracy theory lies.

Current research shows that hemp fibers are incredibly lightweight and strong. Think carbon fiber. It competes with steel, but it’s lighter and stronger, right, Jay?

Here’s where the conspiracy comes in. Hemp plastic competes with steel and plastic, but did they know that in the early 1900s? Enter Ford’s hemp car.

That was from the History Channel, so you know it’s true. Ford’s hemp car was the physical proof that hemp could compete with both the emerging plastic industry and existing steel industry. Conspiracy number two. But was Ford’s car built out of hemp, and did it run on hemp fuel? Or did the network that brought you Pawn Stars and Swamp People lie like all the other conspiracy theorists? Down the rabbit hole.

I’m just going to tell you, they lied or, at best, completely exaggerated Ford’s hemp car.

During Ford’s demonstration of how light and strong the plastic was, where the famous video comes from, Ford officials didn’t even mention hemp. They talked about soy—a massive amount of soy—as well as wheat and corn.

However, the same New York Times article did mention that they also experimented with a formula that was 70% cellulose, and only 10% of that cellulose was from hemp. A lot of websites claim the car was 70% hemp, not 10% of 70%, and that was just the experimental formula.

Later that year, 1941, Popular Mechanics released an article that said the car was made from four different fibers, and one of those fibers was hemp. So there’s some confusion.

Years later, one of the head engineers would describe the car as being made primarily of soybean, which would echo the New York Times article from demonstration day. There’s also no evidence of the car running on hemp fuel. That’s the whole conspiracy: a car made out of hemp that drives on hemp fuel. So, the famous Ford hemp car is mostly bull s$!%. However, I think Ford’s history still adds to the possibility of a hemp threat to the steel industry, the emerging plastic industry, and maybe even big oil. Seventy percent of the plastic was made from cellulose—from one of his formulas at least—and there’s no reason that hemp couldn’t have been used for all the cellulose. It grows easier than soy and other vegetables. Hemp grows like a weed and needs almost no nutrients, no pesticides, and the yields are massive because it grows big and fast.

Ford was a vocal advocate of using farms for everything car-related. He even wanted cars to run on biofuel, not from hemp specifically, but any kind of vegetation. “Fuel of the future,” he called it.

There are a few articles that say his original Model T was designed to run on hemp-based fuel, from PBS and the History Channel, but I couldn’t verify those claims. It’s kind of sad that we need to fact check PBS and the History Channel; I mean, Swamp People is great. The Model T was able to run on ethanol, which can be hemp-based. So, the oil industry wasn’t happy with Ford and his alternative fuels, but I don’t think there’s enough evidence to say hemp was the primary target of the oil industry.

The steel and emerging plastic industries did have reason to be concerned. There’s a news article titled “Ford Will Grow Hemp” from 1926 that describes Ford going into the hemp-farming business to experiment with 2000s acres of hemp. So, the actual Ford hemp car was a myth but it by no means discredits the fact that hemp was being researched publically as an alternative to steel and plastic. Let’s take a step back and look at the people directly responsible for the war on cannabis and why the conspiracy theorists believe they were motivated by the plastic industry.

Harry Anslinger was the face behind cannabis prohibition. Conspiracy theorists believe he was just a pawn despite being the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics—what we now call the DEA—and the legal force behind prohibition. It’s easy to believe that Anslinger didn’t believe his own propaganda about cannabis causing violence, you know, reefer madness.

He wrote as much in the fall of 1933. Anslinger thought that it was absurd to think that narcotics—which he considered cannabis—caused violence. He flipped his view right after that document and started claiming that marijuana was directly responsible for hundreds of violent crimes.

He’s infamous for a bunch of incredibly racist quotes that demonize both minorities and cannabis, but I couldn’t find the actual source of these claims despite being mentioned as facts in numerous studies and books.

Apparently, Anslinger was so racist that people in the early 1900s thought he should be fired for being racist. Could you imagine that? People back then thought Anslinger was too racist.

Some historians have countered that he was treated unfairly and that there are exaggerations, but it’s hard to believe that every racist story was fabricated. Anslinger drafted the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which was basically seen as a racist, technically mongrel, term for cannabis at the time.

According to Jack Herer’s book, Anslinger was just a pawn for his relative, Andrew Mellon. Andrew Mellon was the Secretary of Treasury and appointed Anslinger to his position. Here’s the conspiracy in a nutshell: Andrew Mellon was the “chief financial backer” of DuPont and used his influence to make hemp illegal in order to save DuPont’s emerging plastic industry.

The problem is that there’s no evidence that Mellon had any relation to DuPont, according to several historians cited in a debunker article. I looked everywhere to find a solid connection and came up short.

I did find that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which his children set up from a percentage of his inherited wealth, had over $680,000 of DuPont shares in 1973. It’s not much.

Mellon was one of the wealthiest men to ever live and had over 630 million dollars and hundreds of investments in that trust. That’s one of his smaller investments in a massive portfolio; he was a compulsive investor. A lot of things could have happened between 1937 and 1973, but this certainly doesn’t suggest that he was a chief financial backer of DuPont, and there’s no other evidence to suggest that he was. The biggest problem with the Andrew-Mellon-slash-plastic conspiracy, or Hearst for that matter, is that there was already a widespread push for cannabis prohibition. 

By 1937, every state had enacted some form of cannabis legislation.

For example, California made the possession of hemp extract a misdemeanor in 1913. The media, including Hearst’s papers, had a war on cannabis.

President Roosevelt urged Congress to sign the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act in 1935, which specifically allowed states to define marijuana as a narcotic. This was before he signed the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Now you have years of local and national anti-cannabis media, state laws, federal guidelines, and the president’s push for marijuana enforcement. Could DuPont be responsible? Sure, but there’s no evidence to suggest that. Dr. Woodward’s testimony to Congress, which we saw earlier, makes it clear that the ban on hemp and marijuana was not based on science or evidence. We just don’t know what back-door deals made this happen. Racism was definitely a factor, but I would be surprised if there weren’t some form of monetary influence on the decision. It’s the American way.

So, what happened after 1937? Why did both hemp and CBD remain banned for so long? Jump to the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, it made all cannabis cultivation illegal, including hemp. You could still import hemp from other countries, but you couldn’t grow it here, according to a 2004 DEA ruling. That’s just ridiculous, oh yeah, you can have it in America, but you just can’t have local farmers grow it. The biggest hypocrisy was that cannabis, hemp, and later CBD—in 2016—were labeled schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substance Act. They labeled hemp the same as heroin. Worse than cocaine and methamphetamine, those are only schedule II. A schedule I drug has no medicinal value.

The United States literally owned the patent on cannabinoids for their medicinal value, including CBD.

The United States was holding up one hand saying cannabis has no medicinal value, it’s worse than meth, and on the other hand, they owned the patent for CBD and other cannabinoids for their medicinal value. It wasn’t until the Federal Farm Bill of 2018 that hemp and CBD derived from hemp were made federally legal.

It looks like all cannabis will soon be legal, with the majority of people in favor. States have moved toward legalization, and legalization is gaining more support in Congress.

The war on cannabis was based on blatant lies, and there’s a ton of research showing that prohibition is ineffective, which we won’t get into. Who’s to blame for the recent years of prohibition? It’s obvious that cannabis legalization is terrible for a ton of industries: alcohol (people will drink less), pharmaceuticals (they don’t want to hear that people are reducing the need for opiates), prison industries (they like people in jail), plastic, steel, and the list goes on with all of the thousands of products that hemp could compete with as a green alternative. But just as we didn’t know the real reason cannabis became illegal in 1937, it is still impossible to trace the funding today. The lobbying industry works by rich people and corporations making campaign contributions and funding Super PACs for individual politicians, who vote exactly how they want them to vote. Or maybe they donate to a foundation that does anti-drug propaganda, among other things. The lines are blurred. There’s no smoking gun or conspiracy. Corporations lobby for the best interests of their shareholders, and cannabis is bad for a lot of companies and their shareholders. The only thing that is certain is that cannabis was made illegal based on a mountain of lies and no scientific evidence. However, that is likely to change with a number of new cannabis businesses lobbying for cannabis, the majority of the American public in favor, and politicians who are beginning to follow the money and the votes. 

That’s it. Thanks for watching. I will see you soon, you wonderful person, you.

Headshot of Jeremy Orozco, founder of CBD Examine
Author: Jeremy Orozco

Jeremy is a former firefighter turned health writer. He is a co-founder of CBD Examine and, where he pioneered CBD and migraine research. His latest book, Hemp for Migraine, was the largest collection of peer-reviewed research relating to CBD, cannabinoids, and migraine relief.

This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Our content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Read the disclaimer.
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