Anslinger, DuPont, and Hearst –

Was Cannabis Illegalization the Product of Collusion?

By Henry Wyckoff

Revision submitted December 1, 2000
to partially satisfy HIS 497 requirements.

Table of Contents

Introduction *

Concerning Conspiracy Theory *

A Brief Review of the History of Cannabis Sativa in the United States *

The 1937 Taxation of Marihuana Hearings *

Analysis of the Accused Conspirators *

An Alternative To Conspiracy Theory *

Endnotes *

References Cited *


Concerning Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracies have been with us for as long as there has been political and economic power in human life. Conspiracy theory appeared with the birth of gossip and the feelings that society created unequal distribution of power and resources. In the present day, conspiracy theories show increasing power and acceptance if we measure its power by popular book sales, movie plots, and everyday beliefs and paradigms. Related to these beliefs are widespread disappointment and alienation due to the constant appearance of corrupt politicians and industries on the daily news. Just as with conspiracy theory, this disappointment could be a constant trait of human nature. At the same time, it can also come from direct observation, which shows us that members of nearly every generation of politicians and businessmen are guilty of some form of corruption and crime.

This issue is important in order to define a foundation for conspiracy theory. One interpretation of conspiracy theory is to call it social commentary, a voice that speaks for the alienated and externalized groups in society. Conspiracy theorists are often ignored or ridiculed by the mainstream authorities, which lends them popular support instead of popular ridicule. Often, these theories are proven to be groundless due to an inability to withstand the full body of measurable evidence. Consequently, most academics dismiss conspiracy theories and theorists out of habit due numerous accusations such as the "Roswell cover-up," "the implanted brain chip," or the more general "things" that a nameless "they" do to "people." It is often considered entertainment for the masses and nothing else.

We cannot reflexively dismiss individual conspiracy theories due to the behavior of the aggregate. When so many citizens read conspiracy theories and start to believe in them uncritically, it should raise concern among academics and policy makers because these people are voters and decide public policy through their actions as an aggregate. If they think that academic historians and social scientists do not address the beliefs and authors that they hold so dear, then historians become part of this "conspiracy" and "they." This is not because academics might disagree with popular conspiracy theory, but rather because few academics actually bother to examine conspiracy theory and never get around to explaining why they disagree in a language that regular people can understand. When regular people hear an academic dismiss conspiracy theory as nonsense, the people do not hear the embedded meanings in the academics’ statement. All they hear is that someone callously dismissed something that they see as real and valid. They do not catch the years of reading and research behind the academic’s statement.

Carl Sagan, a skeptic and empiricist, recalled one incident in which he had a long conversation with a taxi driver who was well versed in conspiracy theory. The taxi driver identified Sagan as a scientist and enthusiastically started a conversation about conspiracies and aliens, but soon lost his enthusiasm when Sagan clearly presented his views about empiricism, skepticism, and Occam’s Razor. Sagan later recalled feeling some regret at coldly shaking the taxi driver’s paradigms and being insensitive to the man’s worldviews.1 Recognition of a conspiracy worldview and providing a fair and rational critique of it was one of the reasons that he wrote The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. James Randi wrote Flim-Flam because he was adamantly opposed to conspiracism – a philosophy that he might consider a subset of pseudoscience. Though both of these books are clear in their bias against conspiracy theory and do their best to debunk them, they respond to conspiracy theory in a thorough manner and address the main points. That is something rare in the academic world. Unfortunately, these are scientists responding to only one facet – the scientific facet – of conspiracy theory within contemporary society. It is generally true that there are no popular equivalents in the field of history.

If historians are to obtain and retain the popular respect, then we must actually respond to popular concerns as did Sagan and Randi. We must treat the conspiracy theorists seriously, rigorously, and respectfully. Furthermore, we must be clear communicators, speaking in a plain language that anyone can understand. If we professionals end up disagreeing about the validity of conspiracy accusations, then we must be able to explain that disagreement in simple terms and instantly point to the evidence that convinces us of our conclusions and reasoning.

In some cases, conspiracy theories are based on suppressed truths that were written out of the history books by the victors. Examination of conspiracy theories can actually enrich and correct mainstream history in those instances where they do contain hidden and suppressed truths. If we reflexively ignore the conspiracy theories for emotional reasons, then we relinquish that opportunity.


A Brief Review of the History of Cannabis Sativa in the United States

Before the 20th century, cannabis sativa (also known as hemp and marijuana) played a direct role in the United States industrial economy. In Colonial America, laws required farmers to grow hemp in order to supply fiber for ship sails and ropes. The required punishments for those who did not grow hemp were fines or prison time. In 1812, the British navy impressed American merchant ships into buying Russian hemp from St. Petersburg and delivering these essential supplies to the British. This was because of a French supply embargo intended to destroy the Navy infrastructure through entropy.2 In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the USDA intensely researched hemp as a major agricultural crop and was optimistic for expanding its use and growth within the USA.3,4 In 1917, George Schlichten, a German inventor, had created a decorticator that would allow industrial-scale processing of hemp pump for competitive papermaking. His invention was partly in response to Bulletin #404.5,6 This trend of cannabis optimism effectively changed when the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act became reality. Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was intent on eradicating this "killer weed," ignoring the protests of legitimate medical, commerce, and agricultural groups.7 It is clear that he understood the industrial purposes of cannabis, but he was so single-minded on his crusade that he was willing to bulldoze any other competing interest or advocate.

Popular Mechanics printed an article in February 1938, titled "New Billion-Dollar Crop." According to the article, cannabis was already proven as the best thing that American industry and commerce had seen in a long time. It would transform the world into better place. The improved Schlichten decorticator was the crucial item that made this cannabis revolution possible. The same month, Mechanical Engineering Magazine published an article titled "The Most Profitable And Desirable Crop That Can Be Grown." This article focused more on the technical aspects of agriculture than the Popular Mechanics article, which focused on topics of interest to the popular consumer. Both agreed in the fact that cannabis was a good and beneficial thing.

After these articles were printed, Anslinger chose to ignore that bit of information – just as he did before the hearings. It is clear from the pre-hearings transcripts that he was aware of the legitimate and beneficial uses of hemp, but was so intent on a comprehensive ban that he did not care how many people would be hurt.

Conspiracy theorists such as Jack Herer, author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, accused Harry J. Anslinger, William Randolph Hearst, and the DuPont Company of conspiring to make cannabis illegal in order to maintain Anslinger's bureaucracy of enforcement and give DuPont a market in synthetic fibers. Hearst supposedly supplied Anslinger’s "Gore Files" and popularized the word "marihuana." Herer claimed that these conspirators lied to the American people in the name of social and economic control. Herer is a well-known popular author who has photocopied many primary sources in his book and truly brought forgotten but real sources back into the public reach. Without his work, many questions concerning cannabis history would never enter American consciousness. However, he did not adequately reference the so-called evidence that proves DuPont's and Hearst’s role in cannabis illegalization and connects our three characters in conspiracy or collusion.

Written in a highly nonlinear style, The Emperor Wears No Clothes contains photocopies of articles, advertisements, congressional transcripts, and propaganda from across the 20th century. Along with excerpts from primary sources, Herer provided a general history of cannabis and listed the beneficial uses of cannabis. His writing style bordered on the highly exaggerative, but it served its purpose in an age when cannabis remains illegal for reasons of tradition and inertia. It made people think about what they knew and how they knew it.

The following are relevant selections from The Emperor Wears No Clothes that define Herer’s accusations as well as his style of citation (i.e., his accusatory statements without adequate referencing).

If Harry Anslinger, DuPont, Hearst and their paid-for (know it or not) politicians had not outlawed hemp – under the pretext of marijuana (see Chapter 4, "Last Days of Cannabis) – and suppressed hemp knowledge from our schools, researchers and even scientists; the glowing predictions in these articles would already have come true by now – and more benefits than anyone could then envision – as new technologies and uses continue to develop.8


A Conspiracy to Wipe Out the Natural Competition:

In the mid-1930s, when the new mechanical hemp fiber stripping machines and machines to conserve hemp’s high-cellulose pulp finally became state-of-the-art, available and affordable, the enormous timber acreage of the Hearst Paper Manufacturing Division, Kimberly Clark (USA), St. Regis – and virtually all other timber, paper and large newspaper holding companies – stood to lose billions of dollars and perhaps go bankrupt.

Coincidentally, in 1937 DuPont had just patented processes for making plastics from oil and coal, as well as a new sulfate/sulfite process for making paper from wood pulp. According to DuPont’s own corporate records and historians (author’s research and communications with DuPont, 1985-1996), these processes accounted for over 80% of all the company’s railroad carloadings over the next 60 years into the 1990s.

If hemp had not been made illegal, 80% of DuPont’s business would never have materialized and the great majority of the pollution which has poisoned our Northwestern and Southeastern rivers would never have occurred.

In an open marketplace, hemp would have saved the majority of America’s vital family farms and would probably have boosted their numbers, despite the Great Depression of the 1930s.

But competing against environmentally-sane hemp-paper and natural plastic technology would have jeopardized the lucrative financial schemes of Hearst, DuPont, and DuPont’s chief financial backer, Andrew Mellon of the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh.9


Social Reorganization:

A series of secret meetings were held.

In 1931, Mellon, in his role as Hoover’s Secretary of the Treasury, appointed his future nephew-in-law, Harry J. Anslinger, to be head of the newly reorganized Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (FBNDD), a post he held for the next 31 years.

These industrial barons and financiers knew that machinery to cut, bale, decorticate (separate the fiber from the high-cellulose hurd), and process hemp into paper or plastics was becoming available in the mid-1930s. Cannabis hemp would have to go.

In DuPont’s 1937 Annual Report to its stockholders, the company strongly urged continued investment in its new, but not readily accepted, petrochemical synthetic products. DuPont was anticipating ‘radical changes’ from the ‘revenue raising power of government… converted into an instrument for forcing acceptance of sudden new ideas of industrial and social reorganization (DuPont Company, annual report, 1937, our emphasis added)."10

Herer claimed that because the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act was designed to eliminate use of cannabis though being a revenue raising measure on its face, this statement from the annual stockholders’ report makes sense and strengthens his case for conspiracy.

A Question of Motive:

DuPont’s plans were alluded to during the 1937 Senate hearings by Matt Rens, of the Rens Hemp Company:

Mr. Rens: Such a tax would put all small producers out of the business of growing hemp, and the proportion of small producers is considerable… The real purpose of the bill is not to raise money, is it?

Senator Brown: Well, we’re sticking to the proposition that it is.

Mr. Rens: It will cost a million.

Senator Brown: Thank you. (Witness dismissed.)’"11

Nowhere in here do we see any direct or implied connection to DuPont. This allusion only makes sense if one is already trying to make connections to DuPont. What this dialogue directly shows us is the extension of the intentions seen from the very first meeting: to wipe out all cannabis use.

John Roulac, author of Hemp Horizons, was cautious about saying "conspiracy" but he did not contradict Herer's arguments and placed accusations against the USDA, claiming that the agency opposed attempts to use agricultural plant waste for industrial purposes.12 Roulac claimed that the USDA had their own business interests in mind by attacking anything that would threaten the use of trees for paper. However, like Herer, he did not adequately reference these accusations.

The purpose of this project is to take Herer’s claim seriously and determine if the primary sources support or disprove his claims. This leads us to the problems inherent in debating a conspiracy theory. According to conspiracy theory, a lack of proof is the central evidence proving the success of a conspiracy: the availability of evidence proves the existence of an unsuccessful one. It is this very logic that frustrates many would-be critics because it is difficult to debate against conspiracy theory using the standard positivist kit of logic and hard evidence. A smoking gun is required, and in a successful conspiracy, this will never be found. A more fitting approach would be to use qualitative statistics in the manner that a scientist might plot scattered data to produce a descriptive function or theory. If we look into the sources, commentaries, and accepted theories of history, these will produce patterns. The statements made by Herer will fit within the patterns or they will not. This approach cannot prove or disprove Herer’s accusations, but we can at least make a reasoned and informed decision of whether we will accept his accusations as being reasonable and likely or not.

This project will be a survey in the sense that we will examine the prominent primary sources and the main theories. It will be unique research in the sense that for the first time, we will consider an important question normally unaddressed by academia. It will be an essay in the sense that a conclusion and interpretation will be presented, based on the presented analysis.


The 1937 Taxation of Marihuana Hearings

Cannabis historians and activists – especially Herer and Roulac – cite the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 as a significant event in hemp history because it was the first national-scale law that marked a policy of total cannabis opposition. The countless hemp history pages on the Internet have followed their lead by digitally copying significant portions of the Ways and Means Committee hearings or by repeating the accusation that the Tax Act spelled the end of legal cannabis. Because of the Tax Act’s importance to marijuana advocates, one may easily find copies on the Internet. The Schaffer Online Drug Library (URL: has the most extensive copy of the transcripts, along with numerous other primary sources.

We must stress one point: the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 did not illegalize cannabis, even for recreational use. This is important because it allows us to understand what actually happened. The Act heavily fined those who did not grow cannabis with a license, and even those who did have a license had to pay an exorbitant amount of money. The small farmer was most especially hit by these taxes, and within a few years, the legitimate hemp companies closed and all USDA experimental farms shifted to less controversial crops. As the founders of the Act would proudly admit, they designed it to discourage and eventually eliminate use. They never intended to regulate cannabis with the purpose of raising revenue and ensuring proper use, as they did with other medicinal drugs. Their intention was clearly to eliminate use and ideally to erase it from the consciousness of humanity and from the face of the earth.

Anslinger used the Ways and Means Committee to pass his legislation because he wanted to apply the Act on a national level with no interference from individual states. He knew that while the Southwestern states were already demanding even stricter legislation, many pro-hemp states would have been far more lenient to cannabis agriculture, even the recreational use. That did not fit with his image of a centralized enforcement strategy. When making this statement, we must remember that this philosophy was not new or unique – the Progressive Era is characterized by laws and organizational structures designed to centralize government, continually moving power from local to Federal hands.

The Taxation transcripts read like a typical Hollywood movie from the era: excessive amounts of melodrama and a lack of any scientific method or rules of evidence based on common sense. The committee cheerfully threw out measurable evidence in favor of emotion and politics, because – as their own transcripts show – they had already decided the outcome, and they quickly excused any dissenting witness who questioned their wishes or methods. Accepted evidence took the form of Hearst-owned newspaper editorials and news articles written by authors who did not witness any reported events first-hand. These opinions were considered the testimony of an expert witness. Anslinger presented horror stories from his "Gore Files," which were of questionable validity. These came almost exclusively from Hearst publications, which had always been questioned by reputable newspapers due to their tabloid quality. Hearst’s actions during the Spanish-American War firmly established his reputation. "You supply the pictures and I’ll furnish the war," has been firmly entrenched in the halls of American cultural memory. While dissenting witnesses were harassed with endless argumenta ad hominem, the same was not applied to Anslinger or any of the witnesses in favor of the Tax Act.

Although the important marijuana activists discuss the 1937 Taxation of Marihuana hearings, none of them discussed the prelude to these hearings, the Conference on Cannabis Sativa L. This was a pre-hearing session where the agenda was to arrive at a unified strategy for the hearings. They discussed points of confusion and important issues so that they might be prepared for any attacks from opponents. Various chemists and botanists in the employ of the USDA and the Treasury were present. The opening statement by Mr. Wollner explained everything:

Mr. Wollner: As I understand the problem we’ve got here, and according to Commissioner Anslinger, it is a question of trying to set up a definition of terms with reference to what we generically refer to as the marihuana problem, in a sufficiently clear style and sufficiently competent as to be significant from an enforcement point of view. Is that as you see it Mr. Tennyson?

Mr. Tennyson: Yes.

Mr. Wollner: And at the same time be mindful of the legitimate uses of the product. In going through the literature on marihuana in pursuit of an answer to this general problem of defining terms, you get very little satisfaction. For every negative statement made there is a positive one to counteract it. One reference will tell you definitely there is no active principle in the seed – a dozen will – and one will cast a shadow of a doubt…

This is very important because it establishes that the intention of the whole Tax Act is not to raise revenue, as a tax act is supposed to do, but rather to address what they considered a marijuana problem. Mr. Wollner did not like the facts, and so wanted the facts to fit his agenda of cannabis suppression. Any rational person would interpret a mixed decision among scientific papers and scientists to mean either that all the facts had not been determined, that cannabis had good and bad properties, or that cannabis had hard to define properties, period. Mr. Wollner and others present took the published facts as a political inconvenience. This matches a typical poststructuralist method in the changing of an undesirable society – by changing the words and the facts to fit with the program. More of the dialogue shows that furthering their agenda was their priority.

Mr. Wollner: In an effort to clarify the situation in anticipation of a possible attempt to set up a more satisfactory legal program, the technical division in the Treasury, the Narcotics Bureau, and the Legal Division, have gotten together and asked themselves some questions, which were distributed. I dare say that a duplicate or triplicate set of questions might have been asked with equal effect.

This set of questions was certainly not distributed outside their closed circle. If these questions had been distributed to the public and if the name "hemp" or "cannabis" were used, there might have been organized opposition.

Much of the discussion involved botanical and organic chemical questions regarding plant morphology and the nature of the active ingredients. It was evident by admission of the guest chemists and pharmacologists that the full properties of cannabis on humans had barely even started, let alone been completed. There was speculation as to the active ingredients of cannabis, but THC had not been discovered yet, and so no scientists had anything definitive to say.

This discussion took place in order that a more effective legal and enforcement strategy could be established. Although there was some casual mention of the legitimate uses of cannabis, there was almost no mention of fiber companies. The seed and oil uses of cannabis were discussed, and these industries would be given certain exemptions from the law, but the fiber companies were not to be given any conscious consideration. Anslinger stressed that according to unnamed sources, cannabis had absolutely no useful medical purpose. The whole thrust of the debate was to determine how many legitimate uses could be substituted with other legal products.


Analysis of the Accused Conspirators

If one were to review the literature and primary sources of hemp history without reading anything by Jack Herer, one might get the impression that Harry J. Anslinger was the only mover and shaker in regards to making marijuana comprehensively illegal. No primary sources mention Hearst’s or DuPont’s direct role in the 1937 legislation, though other politicians were connected with Anslinger as allies. One might believe that the passion to make marijuana illegal came from Anslinger. The commentaries focus on him and the library and Internet search engines have a tendency to put him first on the list. This is for good reason, because he was dedicated to the cause of making marijuana illegal. Without Anslinger’s passion and the administrative super-genius that not only ensured the survival but also the vitality of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics through three decades, there is the possibility that we might see a very different set of drug laws and drug history.

In the autobiographical book written towards the last part of his life, The Murderers, Anslinger maintained his stance on marijuana, still insisting that it caused insanity and homicidal behavior. He spoke of it as a great evil in an even greater war of good against evil. He remained constant in his hatred of marijuana all through his life, despite his public fluctuations about the effects of marijuana (either causing homicidal violence or great passivity, depending on the political climate of the decade). One consistency throughout even his fluctuations was that his language bordered on the evangelistic.

Most human behavior has a cause, and a continued and consciously sustained effort must certainly have a cause. Anslinger’s dedication raises a question that is often left unexplored: what motivated Anslinger’s great dedication to eradicate marijuana? The marijuana advocates would argue that he was greedy, corrupt, and a firm believer in the economy and culture of enforcement. They would say that he was the beneficiary of nepotism (Mellon, the Secretary of Treasury under President Hoover, was a relation by marriage) and thoroughly enjoyed an above the law status that an enforcement bureau could easily provide in the age of Prohibition. They would say that he was either a captain or a puppet in a conspiracy that aimed to eliminate American democracy and rule the people ether through subtle or overt means. This is a common accusation in conspiracy theory – especially on the Internet – but these accusations almost never come with footnotes or references to primary sources. Where is the evidence? What documents or even circumstantial evidence can lend support to such a claim? Often, the only supporting statements are his relationship to Mellon, his administrative longevity, and his opposition to cannabis at a time when it became industrially competitive to DuPont and the timber industries. We must remember that while these points are worth noting, they would not be considered weighty evidence in a court of law. The points in themselves prove nothing, because they are mere coincidence. He might have still maintained his opposition to marijuana even without DuPont’s patent of Nylon.

If Anslinger were on trial, the defense would most certainly draw from solid references from material available at any library. Though The Murderers was mostly an autobiography of his professional life, Anslinger provided stories from his childhood that explained why he developed his personal and professional views towards narcotics.

The literature written by the marijuana advocates do not address Anslinger’s past or personal influences, and when they do in a tangential way, they do not even come close to the degree that The Protectors or The Murderers addressed this issue. In almost all cases, the marijuana advocates villainize Anslinger without trying to understand him. Even the objective and detached writings took no effort to understand Anslinger outside of his actions. Only The Protectors does this, and McWilliams made sure that his readers knew this by saying so within the introduction.

By looking at Anslinger from a large and na�ve view, and when we read the primary documents and the less biased accounts, we see a man who played a large role in criminalizing marijuana and had no qualms about using trickery in Washington to do so. We see a man who had no qualms about shutting down the legitimate hemp operations in order to make his enforcement of marijuana easier. However, we also see a man who might very well have believed that he was doing the right thing, and that he was justified in using whatever means were necessary to do so. The way Herer paints Anslinger, we see Anslinger the super-enforcer and the sneaky official, but not Anslinger the progressivist human being, complete with a normal range of human emotions and motivations.

Anslinger provides a statement from his childhood that clearly borders on the traumatic. Although it is certainly possible that he could have made it up, the episode does not seem unreasonable. If anything, it seems very realistic. By calculation, this must have taken place in 1904, when the narcotics laws and regulations were not as stringent as they would be in later years:

As a youngster of twelve, visiting in the house of a neighboring farmer, I heard the screaming of a woman on the second floor. I had never heard such cries of pain before. The woman, I learned later, was addicted, like many other women of that period, to morphine, a drug whose dangers most medical authorities did not yet recognize. All I remember was that I heard a woman in pain, whose cries seemed to fill my whole twelve-year-old being. Then her husband came running down the stairs, telling me I had to get into the cart and drive to town. I was to pick up a package at the drug store and bring it back for the woman.

I recall driving those horses, lashing at them, convinced that the woman would die if I did not get back in time. When I returned with the package – it was morphine – the man hurried upstairs to give the woman the dosage. In a little while her screams stopped and a hush came over the house.

I never forgot those screams. Nor did I forget that the morphine she had required was sold to a twelve-year-old boy, no questions asked.13

Anslinger was to develop personal feelings against opium, morphine, and heroin. During World War I, as a government employee stationed in the Netherlands and Germany, he encountered many U.S. Army men trying to return to America, and he noted the signs of extensive drug addition. He noted his visceral disgust.14

What is amazing is that no matter how much disgust he felt about these men and their drug addition – we must note that he does not describe them as men with an illness, but rather men who should feel guilt for their actions and shame for their natures – he treats opium far more leniently than marijuana. While the ravages of unchecked heroin, morphine, or opium addiction are generally unchallenged, the effects of marijuana use were challenged by the American Medical Association. Anslinger was extremely opposed to marijuana, claiming that it had absolutely no medicinal value and was so horrible that even Frankenstein would be horribly frightened by it, and yet he was so lenient towards opium. In The Murderers, he said this:

I knew the importance of the opiates and other drugs as a pain killer in medicine, as a tool in medical and scientific research. I had learned something of this phase in my studies in high school and later at Pennsylvania State University. But I had also seen the other side – at first hand.15

Anslinger would encourage enforcement against opiates just as much as marijuana, but at least he acknowledged the benefits of opiates. He claimed that the difference lay in the predictable properties of opiates and the unpredictable properties of marijuana. If his accounts are true, then one motivation for his dedication was to improve the quality of life for Americans by removing harmful narcotics from the reach of citizens.

He also connected drugs with crime and criminals. He made a direct connection between all kinds of drugs and the Mafia, Chinese Tongs, immoral behavior, and immigrant peoples. On a basic level, he saw removal of drugs from the public reach as a direct means of combating violent crime and criminals. This is certainly an overt justification presented in The Murderers, when he described how he combated white slavery and prostitution rings by connecting criminals with drugs.

In his capacity as a representative at international conferences as well as a commissioner, Anslinger also saw drugs as an item of national security. He was convinced that drugs were sent into this country as a means of subversion. Although he could be accused of having McCarthy type fear, we must also recognize that opium wars were fought in China. If Western nations could knowingly and willingly use drugs to establish unequal treaties and seriously harm the well being of a nation, then it would be quite logical for the same thing to happen to the United States. A common argument in support of our modern War on Drugs is that drugs and their suppliers could take control of law enforcement, the judicial system, and even the executive government, as is most certainly the case in Latin American countries. For Anslinger to maintain this fear is certainly reasonable and is a very logical motivation for intense combating of all drugs.

We must also account for societal conditions of the era. While Anslinger was an employee of the State Department and had nothing to do with law enforcement, Southwestern states were experiencing a crisis in immigration. Anglo populations were becoming alarmed at Mexican immigrants or migrant workers who brought marijuana with them. Just as modern Americans often connect beards and long hair with hippies or bums, Anglos of that time connected marijuana with Mexicans, laziness, and crime. From Texas to California, anti-Mexican and anti-marijuana laws and regulations were established. Here is a description of life in Phoenix:

Bootlegging was a flourishing business in Phoenix, and anyone from any level of society who wanted to drink could do so easily. Drugs were also available, especially marijuana. The use of marijuana had spread from some members of the Mexican community to some members of the Anglo community, and concerned citizens called for strict enforcement of local ordinances and federal laws against the use of marijuana as well as "any narcotic drug such as morphine, cocaine, heroin, or opium." Two Phoenix ordinances passed in 1917 and 1918 called for fines up to $300 and/or terms of imprisonment up to six months. The 1917 ordinance stated, "The use of Cannabis Indica or Marijuana tends to cause insanity and render the user thereof a menace to the public peace and safety." The 1918 ordinance declared it "unlawful for any person other than a duly licensed druggist or physician to have, own, possess, or use any narcotic drug such as morphine, cocaine, heroin or opium or to have, own, possess, or use any pipe, lamp, syringe, or other appliance or apparatus for the preparation of any such drug." More "stringent measures" had to be adopted for "the suppression of the use of narcotic drugs," asserted local leaders; the 1918 ordinance would help preserve "the public peace, health and safety."

Periodic crackdowns failed to solve the problem, although they did help alleviate the pressure. In January 1919, for example, following a drug raid that resulted in the arrest of "the king pins of the drug ring in Phoenix," J.N. "Ping Pong" Greene and his companion, Ethel Warren, the Republican declared, "Phoenix has quietly become the 'dope headquarters' of the Pacific slope." The city became the federal drug law enforcement headquarters in Arizona in 1922 as reports of widespread use of "morphine, cocaine, and heroin" continued, much of it being consigned to Phoenix from Nogales and other Mexican border towns. Cooperation among city, county, and federal authorities led to more arrests, but the use of drugs remained "a steadily increasing evil" in the desert center.16

In the Taxation of Marihuana hearings, Anslinger said that while the rest of the country was ignorant about marijuana, the Southwest was waging a battle against it for years.

Along with the Southwest and its battle against marijuana, we saw a national battle against all forms of drugs, especially alcohol. The Temperance movement existed in the 19th and 20th centuries, and is mentioned in college history surveys covering the Reform/Progressive eras. Women were especially strong members of this movement, seeking to eliminate visible causes of family breakdown and improve general public health. Although alcohol was the main target of the Temperance movements, so was any other form of drug that could be seen to threaten sobriety. The Temperance movement was vocal and most certainly made its demands known to the government, asking that laws and regulations to be passed and enforced. It is logical to suggest that Anslinger could have been influenced by Temperance movements or independently developed compatible views as a child in Pennsylvania.

By looking at the big picture, we can see that there are measurable or credible influences in Anslinger’s life that would influence his professional and personal stances in regards to marijuana. We can see that Anslinger was just as human as everyone else, and that his extreme dedication was just as human.

Despite this ability to show that Anslinger represented the normal and positive sides of humanity, we are not able to disprove Herer’s theory of conspiracy or collusion. The very same aspects of his human nature that oppose Herer’s assertions also support his assertions. Intending to help humanity, Anslinger could easily have been a member of a conspiracy to outlaw cannabis. He might not have cared one bit about hemp’s potential to revolutionize industry, but he would care about the potential of marijuana production to increase. His racist feelings could have motivated him to join a conspiracy, after having argued so often that marijuana was imported by minorities and foreigners. His many relationships with people in government – he was known for that – could have put him in areas of obligation. In return for support of the FBN, perhaps he might have had to pursue certain policies. When we take into account that marijuana was ignored in the early 1930s but had become a monster by 1935, this might make some sense. However, such possibilities have never been confirmed – they are only a theoretical possibility yet to be proven.

We could suggest that with the repeal of Prohibition, the FBN was losing its purpose. It was underfunded and ineffective. However, there were already drugs to be enforced, so they were not purposeless. To suggest that Anslinger targeted marijuana to keep his bureau from being disbanded altogether is a prevalent theory among marijuana advocates, but it makes little sense when we remember that alcohol was not the only drug on the list of illegal substances.

After this analysis, all we can conclude is that Anslinger certainly had personal motives to oppose drugs in American society because of events in his childhood, his admiration of the progressive society, his racist feelings (connecting marijuana to foreigners and minorities, and thus to criminals), and his hatred of the Mafia and the Tongs. He shamelessly manipulated the public and Congress, used Hearst paper editorials as evidence, and was definitely a party in the act of lying to Congress and the American people when the Marihuana Tax Act was created. That might be defined as a conspiracy, but this one was in full view of the public. An act designed to eliminate all use of marijuana – even if it meant destruction of all legitimate use, though they made special care to claim that they wanted to preserve legitimate industrial use – was clothed in the form of a revenue raising measure. Anslinger had no qualms about using a Supreme Court precedent that would prevent the Court from inquiring into this deceptive measure.

All one has to do is read the 1937 Taxation of Marihuana transcripts to see proof of a very open conspiracy, so there should be no doubt of that. But a hand-holding conspiracy between Anslinger, Hearst, and DuPont? That is not directly proven by the primary sources, but logic does not disprove it either. It remains a possibility yet to be directly proven or disproven with sources available to any analyst.

When one examines the available literature for DuPont in the context of hemp history, there is silence. The Taxation of Marihuana hearings do not mention DuPont. Biographies of DuPont family members do not mention any connection with hemp. That does not mean that DuPont is not in the history books. In 1937, DuPont patented Nylon, a synthetic fiber used for clothing, rope, blankets, or anything else that hemp could be used for. Herer used this date as a piece of evidence to support his case. Around the same time, DuPont patented an environmentally-destructive sulfite/sulfate process to aid in papermaking. This would help to make tree-paper industry even more lucrative, considering that the industries were already tooled for processing trees. However, the points that Herer cites are spotty at best when being used as evidence as conspiracy. There is no smoking gun that proves DuPont’s involvement with Anslinger. There is no evidence connecting them with anyone in the Hearst publishing companies. However, there is evidence to show that DuPont had a lot to gain from the outlawing of hemp without having any connections to Hearst or Anslinger. Scientific and cultural history provides us with that portion of the evidence.

Alchemists were ancestors of the chemists, and though most modern chemists prefer to distance themselves from the mystical side of the alchemists, one trait holds true to this day: one of the mission statements of the chemist is to discover or create new materials, new structures, and new molecules. Synthesis is their golden act, and in the early years, no organic chemist ever gave thought to environmental effects or human health. All they thought about was the thrill of synthesizing a molecule that nobody had yet thought of creating. Ever since the synthesis of urea, an organic compound created from inorganic components, organic chemists were fascinated with the concept of creating laboratory compounds that mimicked materials from nature. This launched the pharmaceutical industry, which tried to create synthetic forms of natural medicines. Even now, the modern organic chemistry lab manual for introductory students has a method for synthesizing aspirin.

Engineering and technology became increasingly supported by the American public in the 19th century, but so did chemistry. Though the public found themselves increasingly distant from these alchemists on a social level, they had a growing respect and demand for their creations. Electricity, skyscrapers, nitrogen fertilizers made via the Haber process, and the internal combustion engine were only part of a growing number of scientific marvels promising to improve society.

Technology was changing the world, and America was at the point of this wave. If America were to be part of a New World Order of technology, science, reason, and progression, then her people would also have to be changed. The Committee of Ten and future educational committees spelled out the means of changing the people: education. The educational system was quickly revised. Those who made these revisions were regular people dedicated to genuinely improving the state of mankind, but an unseen effect was that the rural ways of life would be snuffed out. Within the space of a generation, we were effectively transformed from a rural nation of independent folk to a suburban nation of dependent consumers. This is just one interpretation. We must remember that the automobile, the two world wars, and the Great Depression also contributed to the shift of our society, but we must also take into account the key events that helped to make these things possible during the prelude. We will elaborate on these thoughts after discussing our next accused conspirator, Hearst.

Herer claimed that Hearst was a member of the conspiracy for economic and racist reasons: because his company owned vast timber holdings that would have become commercially useless if hemp were to mature as the dominant industrial crop and because he was a racist who hated Mexicans. He supposedly hated Mexicans because Pancho Villa’s army took away his Mexican forest holdings. No commentator has been able to locate a reference to this statement as of yet. It remains an unsubstantiated statement. Hearst also claims that Hearst coined the word "marijuana," which was a Mexican slang word. This does not fit the facts: laws and regulations from southwestern cities state "marijuana" as well as "cannabis sativa." 17

Herer used the Hearst’s ownership of paper companies and vast resources of lumber as a point of evidence, but logic would dictate that this is not a clear point of evidence. Anyone running a paper mill would have to spend great amounts of money for retooling in order to accommodate hemp as a paper source, but that initial expense can be met within ten years or less under sound management. For Hearst, that amount of money would have been negligible, so we cannot consider the expense of retooling as anything above an inconvenience.

Herer did not focus on the one piece of evidence that could have proved his case against Hearst as one that could have greatly benefited from the marijuana controversy. Perhaps it is because it would could simultaneously separate him from the conspiracy and merely classify him as an opportunist. The evidence would not lie so much in lumber and paper companies, but rather in newspaper sales. The marijuana controversy resulted in high sales of newspapers, just as the Spanish-American War coverage resulted in high sales. The American public had known for years that Hearst was not concerned with the facts. For years, he had been criticized by other newspapers for being sensationalist and highly inaccurate. The famous quotation is now a part of American cultural memory, "You provide the pictures, and I’ll provide the war." Put simply, Hearst wanted to sell papers, and was willing to lie in order to do so.

For several decades, America saw the numerous printing of pulp novels with titles such as Reefer Girl and Marijuana Girl, in which innocent, young, rich, white women were lured into drug-induced white slavery, prostitution, lives of depravity, or the Jazz club. These books would imply that if a white girl went into a Jazz club, then she would almost immediately be pregnant with a black child (not knowing who the father was because she was either drugged into mental oblivion or was gang-raped), be addicted to marijuana, and be forever blackened with sin and a drug-addicted soul from then on. Just as later generations would blame rock and roll on social problems, it could have been very tempting for an Anglo culture to easily write off internal societal issues by choosing scapegoats. Hearst, being an excellent judge of the public, could have easily picked up on this and capitalized on it. Hearst might have borrowed from the police press releases and printed shocking stories – which the public was always willing and eager to buy. Perhaps the pulp fiction authors took a lead from the high sales of Hearst newspapers and magazines, but to say that Hearst printed marijuana stories in order to turn public opinion against it as part of a conspiracy would not coincide with the larger picture of facts. The facts would suggest that Hearst printed all those articles because he knew that the public would buy his products, just as the pulp fiction authors knew that this was what the public wanted to read. The public wanted to read about the very things they claimed were wrong with society, rather than stories about the ill-treated hemp farmer in Kentucky or the 1937 Tax Act that was full of perjury and misconduct.

An Alternative To Conspiracy Theory

In 1937 and the years immediately following, the American people had a choice. They could have accepted Anslinger’s legislative activities or they could have overthrown them. The people could have informed themselves of current events and taken action. The industries could have banded together and exposed the perjury and lies inherent within the Taxation of Marihuana Hearings of 1937. The Act was not overthrown on grounds of perjury, mass admission of unproven evidence, and such thorough use of argumenta ad hominem against those who provided unwanted and verified evidence that could destroy their chances of passing the Act. We could have chosen as a nation to adopt an industrial infrastructure based on cannabis, and we made our choice for petroleum as voting consumers. By popular consent, we as a people chose an authoritarian and centralized form of enforcement and industry over a democratic form of enforcement and industry. We chose the alchemy of DuPont, Dow, and their kind over an agricultural alternative. We chose to buy Hearst papers because they said what we wanted them to say rather than because they were true (they often were not).

This instant in history can be characterized as a dialectic. When we look at the big picture, we can see that Americans struggled with these choices from before the birth of our country. This dialectic has characterized the directions this nation chose. The forces were democracy vs. federalism, individual freedom vs. centralized authority, industrial technology vs. agrarian technology, cottage industry vs. mill industry, natural vs. synthetic, and even Jefferson vs. Adams. Cannabis vs. petroleum neatly fits within this greater struggle of forces. These opposing forces both agree in the necessity of progress, but differ as to the kind of progress that is to be made.

This concept is not unique. Other writers have published papers that touch on this subject. As an example, John F. Kasson, author of Civilizing the Machine: Technology and Republican Values in America, 1776-1900, discussed the interface of cultural and political values with science and technology. Kasson’s thesis was that technology has always been an important element in the development of American society. America's war with/against technology has lasted since the Revolution. We have had a love/hate relationship with science and technology ever since. On one level, technology was valued because it strengthened our defensive capabilities and would give us a good place within the international market. On another level, technology was seen as either unnecessary or a threat to the American character, the stuff that American myths are made of.

Kasson elaborated on this point: "Influential citizens argued whether the introduction of domestic manufactures would ensure America's independence, economic and social stability, and moral purity or subvert them; whether technology would help to integrate the country into a cohesive unit or prove a divisive agent. These and related questions were anxiously discussed throughout the entire Revolutionary period, from the Stamp Act crisis through the ratification of the Constitution, by men highly conscious of the precariousness of the republican venture. Yet within half a century such questioning was pursued only by a relative few. For the dominant voices in public discussion, doubt was unthinkable; they hailed the union of technology with republicanism and celebrated their fulfillment in an even more prosperous and progressive nation..."18

We had two possible historical tracks – and still do – that of an appropriate technology that is dispersed, environmentally-friendly, and democratic or of a centralized technology that is authoritarian and destroys the environment. Jefferson and Washington were representatives of democratic technology, putting their efforts into agricultural experimentation. Cicero would have approved of their philosophies: "Of all the occupations by which gain is secured, none is better than agriculture, none more profitable, none more delightful, none more becoming a freeman."19

There were those among the Founders who would have seen things in a different light. In general, the Founders believed in the novus ordo seclorum, which took on utopian themes, but many differed in the approach to this utopia on Earth. The Federalist vs. Antifederalist debates and the decades-long enmity between former friends during the early years of our Republic should demonstrate that. The Founders tried to restructure everything within society, and as believers in reason, they would find it appropriate that technology would have a role in their society as a tool of reason. As the artwork on our dollar bill suggests, our Founders were creating a New Order based on reason, and what better tool of reason than a cold, impersonal, and industrial form of science and technology? A nation that embraced a democratic form of agricultural technology would have opposed the vision of those who wanted a centralized technology that stratified economic classes and produced materials necessary for national defense.

It should come as no surprise that for the last two centuries, DuPont should offer progress in the form of commercial alchemy. Whatever the world might need -- medicine, plastics, fiber, oils, etc. -- they would create from petroleum. Why not hemp? Hemp is a democratic plant, hard to regulate and very prone to produce thoughts of individual independence and a refusal to take orders blindly. Southwestern Mexicans and Louisiana Negros had a tendency to become independent free-thinkers when influenced by marijuana. Modern advocates have the same tendency. That is the last thing that a progressive reformer would want to face. A centralist reformer wants a populace that willingly embraces all reforms in the name of a better nation, even at the loss of personal freedoms. Furthermore, hemp is a natural material. The materials produced by hemp are natural. The alchemists were taking natural substances and producing materials that nature had never seen before. The professional chemists and chemical industry still prides itself on the creation of unnatural products. Our culture had continually decided that alchemical products were far superior to natural products.

Throughout America’s history, we can see that the public appreciated invention and innovation. When a less expensive process came about, it was used. Labor-saving devices were especially valued, as is evident from the widespread adoption of everything from the all-metal moldboard and the cotton gin to mass-produced plastics and the personal computer. The cotton gin transformed the American economy, allowing the troublesome cotton to be processed on an industrial scale. The farmers embraced this technology, although it would transform the face of America, because they could make a lot of money with far less effort. A look at the numbers shows us that the Southern slave economy truly grew because of the cotton gin.

If this could happen with cotton, then a similar industrial invention could have easily helped the multipurpose cannabis sativa to reach industrial superiority. A machine that could quickly separate paper-making and fiber materials with minimal labor would have forced the tree-product industries to quickly adapt. However, there were no other commercially possible options for the tree businesses. The Schlichten Decorticator had been improved enough by 1938 that it was already launching the hemp industry. Industrial hemp companies were in business all through the 1930s – to the point that Anslinger talked Sherman-Williams out of starting a new hemp farm in 1935.20 Hemp proved to be a fearsome competitor because while trees had only a few industrial and commercial applications, cannabis sativa: needed no pesticides because it grew like a weed; had many uses – as fiber, medicine, oil, a source for plastics and biomass energy, human and animal food, soil rejuvenation, etc.; and was more productive as a paper source per acre than trees. Even more important was the fact that while forests were generally stationary and owned by the government, companies, or individuals, nobody could own a majority of the hemp crop. Cannabis sativa, as the USDA Yearbook stated, could be grown anywhere in the country. There was no way that any person or company could easily buy up all the hemp crop and own it. With such a democratic crop, the companies would be forced to comply with the demands of the growers, whereas trees have no bargaining power.

Even if DuPont did feel a threat from hemp, DuPont’s advantage lay not in cutting another line, but in strengthening their own line. That means that while they could certainly benefit from the illegalization and overregulation of domestically grown hemp, it would have been counter-productive for them to join in the crusade to illegalize it. It would have been bad for public relations. If DuPont saw hemp as a competitor – say, in the Nylon market – then all they would have to do is market and invent new and wondrous synthetic products: plastics, fibers, and chemicals. If we agree with Larkin that the United States had a link with progress and technology from the start, then it would make sense that Americans would want DuPont’s products simply because they were manmade and synthetic, even if hemp was a more sensible, democratic, and environmentally-friendly industrial product. When cannabis sativa came under attack as a drug, DuPont did not need to join Anslinger in the fight to discourage its use. Their victory lay in focusing on commercial applications and intense consumer marketing.

Herer pointed to the potential of plants to be used as a base for production of plastics. Chemically speaking, what can be done with a hydrocarbon can also be done with a carbohydrate. Corn, soybeans, peanuts, and hemp are a source of materials that a chemist can use to make plastics and strong materials. Henry Ford demonstrated that hemp – integrated with other materials – could be used to make a lightweight but strong material that could be used to improve the construction of cars.21 In fact, Ford had a hemp farm in order to supply his industrial research and development, along with other crops. Carbohydrate materials science and energy production was new, however. While there was a lot of enthusiasm among American industrialists, the fact was that this was still highly theoretical, while the industrial and physical chemistry of hydrocarbons (i.e. standard organic chemistry) was firmly established. Academia and industry were used to working with petroleum as a base, and still are. While carbohydrate materials science and energy sold copies of popular scientific magazines, an industry based on petroleum and a centralized industrial infrastructure made sales and profits in the short-term, and that was what the businessmen wanted. That is why DuPont could not have seen industrial carbohydrate research as a threat. Besides, why would such an adaptive company see it as a threat when they could have just as easily assimilated the market, just as they were doing for synthetic fibers – a lucrative field of research since the 1920s?

During the Taxation of Marihuana Hearings of 1937, the subcommittee members asked one another many times if there were commercially available alternatives to cannabis sativa, and the answer was yes. Nevermind the fact that people could profit from hemp – the fact was that there were alternatives, except for the birdseed and oil companies. They were able to import their needed materials from outside the country, so those industries were saved. If Ford and other carbohydrate industrialists felt that hemp would be irreplaceable, they would have fought Anslinger. The Tax Act would have been so short lived that Anslinger could have been publicly humiliated. The fact was that these industrialists never protested. Why? A dialectic model of progress would suggest that these industrialists were joining the rest of the American people in choosing the centralized form of progress over the democratic form of progress.


Examination of the Taxation of Marihuana hearings shows that we need to use a word other than "conspiracy." Conspiracy implies secret meetings, cigar smoke, and a pact signed in blood. The available evidence, while not disproving Herer’s assertions, does not totally confirm them either. Herer’s arguments heavily rely on coincidence, extrapolative rather than interpolative logic, and a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief. As an example, in order to prove the assertion that DuPont was part of a conspiracy to make cannabis illegal, Herer photocopied the cover of the 1937 DuPont annual stockholder report, quoted a paragraph from that book without photocopying the original text, and presented the event of the 1937 patenting of Nylon. He did not qualify the last point by stating that Nylon had actually been invented in 1935 and that organic materials research had been underway since the turn of the century or before. He did not remind the readers about the dream of all alchemists, which was to be able to duplicate divine creations – not just to transform base metals into gold, but also to create any imaginable material object within the realm of nature and the realm of the human mind. When DuPont began to make marketable strides in the creation of organic materials, DuPont representatives expressed the enthusiasm of modern alchemy within the popular press and the marketplace.22

What the evidence suggests is that while DuPont and Hearst could clearly benefit in economic terms from the illegalization of marijuana, it is clearly unfeasible for them to be in a handholding conspiracy with Anslinger and sympathetic elements of government. Hearst directly benefited from the controversy in high newspaper sales. The cost of industrially retooling to process hemp paper instead of tree paper would make sense to a paper company or to a lumber company, but the Hearst publishing company was not so strictly bound to lumber, just as Sripps was not bound to lumber.

DuPont, having created and patented the industrial process to improve tree paper production could clearly benefit from the absence of hemp paper, as well as the absence of any other industrial material made from hemp. But to restate an earlier assertion – despite the fact that Hearst and DuPont could each benefit from the marijuana controversy and the illegalization of cannabis, this does not prove that that they were conspirators with Anslinger. They were certainly beneficiaries, and it would take hard work for a researcher to prove otherwise.

A good reason to drop the world "conspiracy" from our vocabulary is that all the images that the word creates effectively divert our mental attention from other important facets directly available in the primary evidence.

First, the Taxation of Marihuana transcripts shows us that the members of the pre-hearing committee were blatant and unapologetic about using deception to realize the goals of their agenda. Rather than treating the citizens of United States as participants in this Republic, they were treated as ignorant – and perhaps criminal – subjects to be ruled. Truth and evidence were not necessary. The age was one of social and administrative progress. The people of the United States were going to progress, whether they wanted to or not. As citizens, we should be concerned about the fact that these committee members shamelessly and openly used a Supreme Court precedent as a strategy. They would cloak their intention to eradicate cannabis by using the skin of a revenue gathering device, designed to invalidate any State’s right to administer their own affairs (another facet of Progressive and Reform era administrative techniques and philosophy). The Supreme Court even said that if a proposal looked like a revenue gathering device, even if everyone knew that it was something other than that, they could not examine this proposal or oppose it for being an act of overt lying and deception. During the actual hearings, opponents of the Tax Act pointed this out, and they were curtly interrupted and dismissed. The fact that this is open and blatant deception and did not concern the lawmakers, the media, or even the citizens – the fact that it does not concern or enrage anyone now – says something frightening, that conspiracies are not even needed to control government and society.

Second, it was evident that physical and primary evidence was not necessary in order to make decisions. Editorials from Hearst newspapers were considered evidence, and these editorials used the FBN as a source of statistics. As Woodward pointed out, for each of the groups affected by marijuana, no representative came. Facts were presented as such, in strict contradiction with their own publications. Marijuana was presented as the cause of violence and crime, when in fact, the FBI statistics of the time showed that alcohol had a much higher statistical correlation. It was said to cause insanity and violence, and yet established medical information showed exactly the opposite. Whenever anyone – such as Woodward – showed objection to this treatment of evidence, the argumentum ad hominem, a logical fallacy, was the standard method of response. The committee questioned Woodward’s personal credentials and badgered him so intensely that he sent a mere letter to the Senate hearings. Herer claimed that this was evidence of conspiracy. Another conclusion would be that this is evidence of legislative misconduct worthy of criminal penalties and an illustration of typical legislative modus operandi. Examination of the current effort to require handgun owners to register their guns on their income tax forms is another example of legislative misconduct (i.e., why is it that the Treasury Department would appear to have any logical connection to handguns?)23

Third, the committee used blatant poststructuralist tactics to realize their agenda. When the facts did not fit their agenda or theories, they redefined the facts and the words. Cannabis was a respectable word within industry and medicine, but the evil marijuana – the name coming from Mexican slang – was something associated with Mexicans and was an unknown to ignorant Congressmen and even to businessmen dealing with cannabis materials. So many representatives showed up at the last moment, totally unprepared, because they did not know that "marihuana" was in reality cannabis sativa. The laws were created and set in stone, and when people understood the truth, it was too late.

Thinking only in terms of a conspiracy blinds us and prevents us from seeing the larger picture, that America has often faced a choice to embrace a democratic and sustainable technology or embrace a centralized and undemocratic technology. Jefferson and Washington focused their attention on Ciceronian agriculture and advocated growth of the hemp crop. The discussions of agriculture and technology could be considered subsets of the larger discussion of Federalism versus Antifederalism. Federalism won out, along with the centralized, undemocratic mode of technology that would shape our republic to the point that by the 1850s, there would be no discussion in Congress about the possible social dangers of technology.

From the beginning, we have always had the power to reject the centralized technology that would economically stratify society, destroy old ways of life that had provided an emotional and spiritual security, and destroy the dispersed power and democracy that Jefferson wanted this nation to possess an inheritance of the Revolution. As historians and citizens, we should look more closely into the question of how and why it was that we as a nation have always chosen in favor of the centralized technology that always handed almost total power to individuals or committees that had no care or concern for the common people or the environment.

We should be asking historical questions that have relations to the present. What are the historical traits that explain why we continually crystallized our petrochemical infrastructure when we do have the science and technology to change to more sustainable and environmentally sensible and sustainable sources? The answers are partly scientific and lie within the technical journals and the industrial board meetings, but they also lie within understanding the human psyche and the relations between society, technology, and the man-made concept of progress.


References Cited

Anslinger, Harry J. and Will Oursler. The Murderers. New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss, and Cuhady; 1961.

Becker, Howard S. Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. The Free Press: New York, NY; 1963.

Crosby, Alfred Jr. America, Russia, Hemp, and Napoleon. Ohio State University Press; 1965.

Dewey, Lyster E. Hemp. Yearbook of the U.S. Department of Agriculture 1913.

Dewey, Lyster E. and Jason L. Merrill. Bulletin #404: Hemp Hurds as Paper-Making Material. USDA; October 14, 1916.

DuPont, Lammont. "From the Test Tube to You" in Popular Mechanics; June 1939.

Herer, Jack. The Emperor Wears No Clothes. 11 ed. Phoenix, AZ: Paper Master Trade Printing; 1998.

Kasson, John F. Civilizing the Machine: Technology and Republican Values in America, 1776-1900. New York, NY: Hill and Wang; 1999.

Larkin, Jack. The Reshaping of Everyday Life, 1790-1840. New York, NY: Harper and Row; 1988.

McWilliams, John C. The Protectors: Harry J. Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1962. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press; 1990.

Roulac, John W. Hemp Horizons. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1997.

Sagan, Carl. The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. New York, NY: Ballantine Books; 1996.

Van Duyne, Schuyler. "Mr. Ford Tells of Plans for Stronger Cars," in Popular Science; March 1941.

Wirtschafter, Don. "The Schlichten Papers." Rosenthal, Ed (Editor). Hemp Today. Oakland, CA: Quick American Archives; 1994; pp. 47-54.


  1. Sagan, Carl. The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. New York, NY: Ballantine Books; 1996; Pg. 3-5.
  2. Crosby, Alfred Jr. America, Russia, Hemp, and Napoleon. Ohio State University Press; 1965.
  3. Dewey, Lyster E. Hemp. Yearbook of the U.S. Department of Agriculture 1913.
  4. Dewey, Lyster E. and Jason L. Merrill. Bulletin #404: Hemp Hurds as Paper-Making Material. USDA; October 14, 1916.
  5. Wirtschafter, Don. "The Schlichten Papers." Rosenthal, Ed (Editor). Hemp Today. Oakland, CA: Quick American Archives; 1994; pg. 47-54.
  6. Herer, Jack. The Emperor Wears No Clothes. 11 ed. Phoenix, AZ: Paper Master Trade Printing; 1998.
  7. McWilliams, John C. The Protectors: Harry J. Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1930-1962. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press; 1990.
  8. Herer, Jack. The Emperor Wears No Clothes. 11 ed. Phoenix, AZ: Paper Master Trade Printing; 1998; pg. 17
  9. Ibid., pg. 26
  10. Ibid., pg. 29
  11. Ibid., pg. 29
  12. Roulac, John W. Hemp Horizons. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1997.
  13. Anslinger, Harry J. and Will Oursler. The Murderers. New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss, and Cuhady; 1961; pg. 8.
  14. Ibid., pg. 16.
  15. Ibid., pg. 9.
  16. Luckingham, Bradford. Phoenix: The History of a Southwestern Metropolis. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press; 1989; pg. 93-4.
  17. Luckingham, Bradford. Phoenix: The History of a Southwestern Metropolis. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press; 1989; pg. 93-4.
  18. Kasson, John F. Civilizing the Machine: Technology and Republican Values in America, 1776-1900. New York, NY: Hill and Wang; 1999; pg. 5.
  19. Ibid., pg. 7.
  20. Anslinger, Conference on Cannabis Sativa L.; 1937; <>.
  21. Van Duyne, Schuyler. "Mr. Ford Tells of Plans for Stronger Cars," in Popular Science; March 1941.
  22. DuPont, Lammont. "From the Test Tube to You" in Popular Mechanics; June 1939.
  23. Known as S.2099, it is "a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to require the registration of handguns, and for other purposes." Sponsored by Senator Jack Reed, it has been referred to another committee with very little fanfare. It has been read twice within the Senate so far. The text is available at: <>.