The end of hemp prohibition?

When people refer to “prohibition” they’re often referring to the ban on alcohol sales in the US. Starting in 1920, the “Prohibition Era” lasted until 1933. But soon after, a new kind of prohibition started. In 1937 the US followed up by introducing of the “Marijuana Tax Act” effectively creating hemp prohibition.

And what the US does, the west usually follows. Many western nations began banning hemp too.

What was true then is true now. While we’re not in a full-blown state of legalisation, many states and countries are slowly repealing bans on the growth of hemp and its cousins. And while that’s good news, there are a few things that should be cleared up.

1. Repealing laws around growing hemp means it’s a free for all to grow and sell

Not quite – in Australia and the US, there are still some restrictions on the growth of hemp. The sale and purchase of hemp products is totally legalised though, which is why we can offer you such a great range of sustainable hemp products!

2. The banning of hemp was to benefit big business

This isn’t true. It’s no accident that the banning of hemp came after prohibition of alcohol finished. Straight-laced bureaucrats at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics needed a new target to save their jobs. Marijuana, largely used by Mexicans and African Americans at the time, was the perfect target for the racially charged times.

The anti-marijuana/hemp movement was centred a concerted fear campaign. For instance, Reefer Madness (1936), an iconic anti-marijuana film, was originally financed by a church group as a morality tale. It aimed to show the dangers of using hemp and marijuana.

By 1937, hemp and its cousins were banned outright.

Newspaper showing anti-hemp propaganda in 1930s Australia
The anti-hemp propaganda made its way to Australia too

3. Hemp is going to save the planet single-handedly

Hemp will surely play a big part in saving the planet, but it’s not a silver bullet. Hemp’s great for cleaning up toxic waste sites. It’s fairly easy to grow. It doesn’t require many pesticides (but it does require some to help prevent mould and some infestations). It’s hardy and adaptable and versatile. It’s an amazing plant that’s going to help us out a lot if we start to use it more, but there’s more we need to do, too.

So where are we at?

At this stage we’re not quite in the clear with hemp prohibition, but we’re getting closer. And as the world starts to realise just how helpful hemp is, we’ll start to move more quickly towards total freedom for this magnificent plant.

Stay tuned – it won’t be long now!


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