History: How a traitorous notion stalled mankind’s most precious natural ally

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By Paul J. von Hartmann

“THC is dangerous.”

With that simple, traitorous notion, a so-called “drug war” was launched against industrial hemp in the U.S. and around much of the world more than eight decades ago. In the U.S., the “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937” federalized a war that continues to be wrongheadedly waged against mankind’s most precious natural ally.

To this day, all types of cannabis and the people who recognize hemp’s true essential values, are still under fire from obsolete statutes, misanthropic treaties, and obsolete regulations resulting from a successfully implemented campaign that employed The Great Lie. 


Over time, the inertial influence of a politically-entrenched error manifests in myriad symptoms, characterized by armed conflict and illogic. In today’s “information war” The Great Lie of 1937 has become more  “boomerang” than “bomb.”

Initially effective in killing America’s strategically-significant hemp industry right before World War II, this campaign belied the essential value of hemp, which has become common knowledge. The Great Lie has finally been exposed. The truth has become fatal to the credibility of drug war dinosaurs equivocating their way to political extinction. 

Out of desperation, some continue to thrash about, wielding the tired old lie in service to their toxic industrial slave masters. But people know better now.

Under pressure of necessity and the gradual spread of cannabis knowledge and research, outright prohibition has largely given way to over-regulation as the means for controlling a potential multi-trillion-dollar industry. In spite of the cannabis industry achieving broad political and public acceptance, people continue to be arrested and languish in prison for cannabis-related violations. Communities of color are disproportionately targeted, criminalizing and destabilizing entire subcultures.

The fraud of Schedule One

In reality, it is Justice herself who’s being violated, in front of the world, without accountability. There is no excuse for perpetuating the institutional fraud of “Schedule One” against cannabis. There is no reason to impose THC limits on industrial hemp.

THC is not dangerous. It is part of properly functioning human physiology. Ecosystems collapse is dangerous as are “non-linear extinction-level events.”

The strategic value of hemp was federally recognized by President Roosevelt in 1942. In six more Executive Orders since then, hemp was identified as critical to national security. Discovery of the endogenous cannabinoid system by Raphael Mechoulam in the 1980s further derailed the credibility of hemp’s erroneous scheduling.

Economic disadvantages imposed on the hemp industry today take the form of fees and taxes to support federal, state and local regulation. Justified by disingenuous fears regarding the “dangers” of THC, productivity is impeded and minimized, while bureaucratic inefficiency is maximized to inflate institutional revenues.

A bad infection

Since free-market competition in clean energy production does not exist, toxic resources and inefficient technologies have persisted like a bad infection. 

On a dying planet, mis-leadership has gone from being merely counter-productive to threatening extinction. By using the deadliest lie to justify and maintain institutional control of hemp farming, manufacture and trade, market advantage is conveyed to competitive industries that threaten integrated natural systems. 

For the first time in recorded history, the future of life on Earth has become unlikely. We have been warned. “Non-linear extinction level events” and “cascading systems failures” are the future of humanity if we don’t end the lie that is killing this planet.

Mankind’s moral responsibilities to future generations have been subjugated to “unquantifiable externalities.” Accountability has become a quaint concept, all but gone from the corporate-political equation. 

Mankind’s evolution of value routinely favors disrespect of nature, undermining the functional integrity of systemic, interconnected relationships we don’t fully understand. 

War on Nature

In the 8 1/2 decades of a war on Nature, one of the biggest lies ever told has been responsible for more death, suffering, illness and poverty than all wars combined. People and animals alike are casualties in a war of malnutrition, food shortages, and biogenic remedies for many environmental problems.

While the “drug war” continues to rage against “marijuana,” most of the death and destruction attributable to cannabis prohibition is the result of THC limits imposed on non-psychoactive industrial hemp. cannabis is the only crop that produces complete nutrition and clean energy from the same organic harvest. Scarcity of a uniquely essential resource is deadly in several ways.

Most obvious is the mass starvation and illness that results from imposing scarcity of a dietary essential. Less apparent are the effects of toxic resources that fill the gaps in available industrial feedstocks created by prohibition of hemp.

On a level playing field in a truly free cannabis-inclusive market, organic hemp would out-compete fossil fuels, nuclear energy, logging, chemical agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and other toxic industries currently serving as the foundation of the global economy. When the origins of cannabis prohibition are thoroughly exposed, the people most impacted by the deceit will find themselves in a position to resolve the wrong that has been perpetrated against them. 

The fallout

That would be every country’s military personnel and their families. Lives lost, communities fractured and futures maimed by wars for oil have damaged entire generations. Particularly painful is the historical perspective that suggests cannabis prohibition was the successful objective of a Nazi operative, who has gone unrecognized for the espionage that wounds the entire world to this day.

The world’s most useful, nutritious and strategically significant agricultural resource was banned from American farms under the influence of racist Nazi sympathizers in the American government and industry, two years before Hitler invaded Poland. 

In 1937, Harry Anslinger was America’s first “drug czar” and apparently a Nazi operative. With the help of his fellow racists, including newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst and wealthy industrialist Andrew Mellon (Anslinger’s father-in-law), they whipped up fear and antipathy toward  cannabis, wielding bald-faced racism and fraud to ban a militarily crucial, “strategic resource.”

Mellon’s wealth was tied up in…the Aluminum Corp. of America (ALCOA). ALCOA’s trade with the Nazis, through a cartel with I.G. Farben, sabotaged U.S. military access to aluminum. In 1943, anti-fascist journalist, George Seldes, said ALCOA was “largely responsible for the fact America did not have the aluminum with which to build airplanes before and after Pearl Harbor, while Germany had an unlimited supply” (Facts and Fascism, 1943). In 1941, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes had warned: “If America loses the war it can thank the Aluminum Corporation of America.” 

In 1942, at the insistence of the U.S. War Department, President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9280 brought cannabis back into the service of national defense, as a “strategic resource.” The “Hemp for Victory!” campaign encouraged patriotic farmers to plant cannabis for the war effort, without concern for dangers, real or imagined, about THC.

After the war ended, competitive market influence again removed hemp from farms, fields, and laboratories in many countries. A truly “free market” was squelched by the deadly lie. Organic farming lost its most useful agronomic tool.

Since 1937, several generations throughout the world have suffered sub-optimal health from inadequate nutrition. Ravaged by unnecessary illness and pain, life has been cut short for untold numbers of people, suffering in ignorance of the essential resource scarcity imposed on us all before we were born. 


As toxic industrial practices became acceptable, “Gaiacidal” (life killing) industries filled the niche that would otherwise have been occupied by cannabis. Direct and indirect consequences of the so-called “drug war” against the world’s most nutritious and healing herb continue to impact the health and well-being of every creature on Earth.

First came “Reefer Madness,” the notoriously absurd film that poisoned public sentiment against Nature’s finest herbal ally.  Racist lies whipped-up fear and hatred. Law enforcement was used as a weapon by industry competitors to justify the war on “marijuana.” 

With Nixon, it became the “War on Drugs,” used to fragment, infiltrate, and undermine entire subcultures, using spies, hard drugs and misinformation to corrupt institutions, create black market economies, violate civil liberties, and generate obscene revenue from punishment throughout the global economic system. 

Institutional slavery

By imposing enforcement of ridiculously low THC limits on industrial hemp, the Great Lie continues to criminalize agriculture, wielding bureaucratic interference and expensive regulation to deadly effect. 

The unfree market we were born into is essentially institutional slavery. We have had no choice but to buy Gaiacidal products. Fair market competition has not existed in our lifetimes. 

In the so-called “free world,” wealth disparity, corporate and government corruption, environmental imbalances, market instability, soil infertility, epidemics of suicide and alcohol, hard drugs and opioid addictions can all be traced back to the War on Drugs. 

Paul J. von Hartmann, founder of the California Cannabis Ministry, is an international cannabis scholar, photojournalist and filmmaker. He is the author of Cannabis vs. Climate Change (2014), and the founder of Project P.E.A.C.E. – Planet Ecology Advancing Conscious Evolution, Energy & Economics 

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