You are here: Home > Chronology of Hemp

8500 BC: Chinese history tells that hemp was used for fibre, oil, and as medicine.

3727 BC: Cannabis called a "superior" herb in the world's first medical text, Shen Nung's Pen Ts'ao, in China.

2700 BC: The oldest complete human body ever found was wearing a hemp blouse with a silk like quality. The body had been buried by ice for four thousand years, and was exposed by a heat wave.

2000 B.C. - 1400 B.C. Cannabis mentioned in the Atharvaveda (Science of Charms) as "sacred grass". Refered to as bhang or bhanga. The legend of Shiva, Lord of Bhang

1550BC: The Ebers Papyrus (named after George Ebers) is an ancient Egyptian medical text (era 1,550 BC). It's the oldest known (complete) surviving medical text book still in existence, and mentions medical marihuana (known then as Sum-Sum-et).

1500 BC: Cannabis-using Scythians sweep through Europe and Asia, settle down everywhere, and invent the scythe.

700 B.C. - 600 B.C. The Zoroastrian Zend-Avesta, an ancient Persian religious text of several hundred volumes, and said to have been written by Zarathustra (Zoroaster), refers to bhang as Zoroaster's "good narcotic"

Gautama Buddha
500 BC: Gautama Buddha survives by eating hempseed.

450 BC: Hemp was being cultivated in the middle east for the same purposes as China. Herodotus records Scythians and Thracians as consuming cannabis and making fine linens of hemp. Cannabis was thought to be an Indo-European word specifically of Scythian Origin. The Scythians are considered largely responsible for the spread of cannabis into Europe.

Herodotus, an early Greek ethnographer, in the 5th Century BC wrote of the Scythians and their use of cannabis.

300 BC: Carthage and Rome struggle for political and commercial power over hemp and spice trade routes in Mediterranean.

100 BC: Paper made from hemp and mulberry is invented in China.

1 AD: Recognised birth year of Jesus Christ.

Dioscorides100 AD: Roman surgeon Dioscorides names the plant cannabis sativa and describes various medicinal uses.
Pliny tells of industrial uses and writes a manual on farming hemp.

390 AD: A 14 year old girl dies in childbirth near Jerusalem. In 1993 researchers find residue of the drug with the skeleton of the girl.The researchers said the marijuana probably was used by a mid-wife trying to speed the birth, as well as ease the pain. "Until now," the researchers wrote in a letter to the journal Nature, "physical evidence of cannabis (marijuana) use in the ancient Middle East has not yet been obtained."

The seven researchers -- from Hebrew University, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the National Police Headquarters forensic division -- said references to marijuana as a medicine are seen as far back as 1,600 B.C. in Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek and Roman writings. But physical evidence that the hemp weed, cannabis sativa, was used for that purpose had been missing.

500 AD: First botanical drawing of hemp in Constantinopolitanus. (Latinised version of Constantinople, then a centre of learning.)

600 AD: Germans, Franks, Vikings, etc. all use hemp fibre.

1000 AD approx: Hemp was first introduced into Europe, and by the sixteenth century it was known to be the most widely cultivated crop in the world producing rope, sails, cloth, fuel, paper, paint, food and medicine. The English word 'hempe' first listed in a dictionary.

1090 AD: The Assassin movement, called the "new propaganda" by its members, was inaugurated by al-Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah (died in 1124), probably a Persian from Tus, who claimed descent from the Himyarite kings of South Arabia. The motives were evidently personal ambition and desire for vengeance on the part of the heresiarch." (heresiarch: leader of heretical group) "As a young man in al-Rayy, al-Hassan received instruction in the Batinite system, and after spending a year and a half in Egypt returned to his native land as a Fatimid missionary. Here in 1090 he gained possession of the strong mountain fortress Alamut, north-west of Qazwin. Strategically situated on an extension of the Alburz chain, 10200 feet above sea level, and on the difficult but shortest road between the shores of the Caspian and the Persian highlands, this "eagle's nest," as the name probably means, gave ibn-al-Sabbah and his successors a central stronghold of primary importance. Its possession was the first historical fact in the life of the new order.

From Alamut the grand master with his disciples made surprise raids in various directions which netted other fortresses. In pursuit of their ends they made free and treacherous use of the dagger, reducing assassination to an art. Their secret organization, based on Ismailite antecedents, developed an agnosticism which aimed to emancipate the initiate from the trammels of doctrine, enlightened him as to the superfluity of prophets and encouraged him to believe nothing and dare all. Below the grand master stood the grand priors, each in charge of a particular district. After these came the ordinary propagandists. The lowest degree of the order comprised the "fida'is", who stood ready to execute whatever orders the grand master issued. A graphic, though late and secondhad, description of the method by which the master of Alamut is said to have hypnotized his "self-sacrificing ones" with the use of hashish has come down to us from Marco Polo, who passed in that neighborhood in 1271 or 1272. After describing in glowing terms the magnificent garden surrounding the elegant pavilions and palaces built by the grand master at Alamut, Polo proceeds:

"Now no man was allowed to enter the Garden save those whom he intended to be his Ashishin. There was a fortress at the entrance to the Garden, strong enough to resist all the world, and there was no other way to get in. He kept at his Court a number of the youths of the country, from twelve to twenty years of age, such as had a taste for soldiering... Then he would introduce them into his Garden, some four, or six, or ten at a time, having first made them drink a certain potion which cast them into a deep sleep, and then causing them to be lifted and carried in. So when they awoke they found themselves in the Garden.

"When therefore they awoke, and found themselves in a place so charming, they deemed that it was Paradise in very truth. And the ladies and damsels dallied with them to their hearts' content...

"So when the Old Man would have any prince slain, he would say to such a youth: 'Go thou and slay So and So; and when thou returnest my Angels shall bear thee into Paradise. And shouldst thou die, natheless even so will I send my Angels to carry thee back into Paradise.'"

(from 'The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian', translated by Henry Yule, London, 1875.)

The Assassination in 1092 of the illustrious vizir of the Saljug sultanate, Nizam-al-Mulk, by a fida'i disguised as a Sufi, was the first of a series of mysterious murders which plunged the Muslim world into terror. When in the same year the Saljug Sultan Malikshah bestirred himself and sent a disciplinary force against the fortress, its garrison made a night sortie and repelled the besieging army. Other attempts by caliphs and sultans proved equally futile until finally the Mongolian Hulagu, who destroyed the caliphate, seized the fortress in 1256 together with its subsidary castles in Persia. Since the Assassin books and records were destroyed, our information about this strange and spectacular order is derived mainly from hostile sources.

As early as the last years of the eleventh century the Assassins had succeeded in setting firm foot in Syria and winning as convert the Saljug prince of Aleppo, Ridwan ibn-Tutush (died in 1113). By 1140 they had captured the hill fortress of Masyad and many others in northern Syria, including al-Kahf, al-Qadmus and al-'Ullayqah. Even Shayzar (modern Sayjar) on the Orontes was temporarily occupied by the Assassins, whom Usamah calls Isma'ilites. One of their most famous masters in Syria was Rachid-al-Din Sinan (died in 1192), who resided at Masyad and bore the title 'shakkh al-jabal', translated by the Crusades' chroniclers as "the old man of the mountain". It was Rashid's henchmen who struck awe and terror into the hearts of the Crusaders. After the capture of Masyad in 1260 by the Mongols, the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1272 dealt the Syrian Assassins the final blow. Since then the Assassins have been sparsely scattered through northern Syria, Persia, 'Uman, Zanzibar, and especially India, where they number about 150000 and go by the name of Thojas or Mowlas. They all acknowledge as titular head the Aga Khan of Bombay, who claims descent through the last grand master of Alamut from Isma'il, the seventh imam, receives over a tenth of the revenues of his followers, even in Syria, and spends most of his time as a sportsman between Paris and London.

Credit for entry above: THE ASSASSINS by Philip K. Hitti
From _The Book of Grass: An Anthology on Indian Hemp_, edited by George Andrews and Simon Vinkenoog.

1150 AD: Moslems use hemp to start Europe's first paper mill. Most paper is made from hemp for the next 700 years.

1155 AD - 1221 AD: Persian legend of the Sufi master Sheik Haidar's of Khorasan's personal discovery of Cannabis and it's subsequent spread to Iraq, Bahrain, Egypt and Syria. Another of the earliest written narratives of the use of Cannabis as an inebriant.

Marco Polo
1271 AD: The eating of Hemp was so well known that Marco Polo described its consumption in the secret order of Hashishins, who used the narcotic to fool initiates into thinking they had experienced the afterlife. The Assassins were an early terrorist group. These were people with serious political motivation. (see 1090 AD) Note that the drugs were given to stupify, so that initiates would awaken in a fake paradise, and believe the master had transported them there through a potion. The cannabis was not a reward or incitement, just a means of rendering initiates unconscious.

First time reports of cannabis have been brought to the attention of Europe.

Age of Rigging1492 AD: Hempen sails, caulking and rigging ignite age of discovery and help Columbus and his ships reach America. Many puritans follow over the next few centuries.

1545: Hemp agriculture crosses the continent overland to Chile. Dutch achieve Golden Age through hemp commerce. Explorers find 'wilde hempe' in North America.

1564: King Phillip of Spain orders hemp grown throughout his empire, from modern-day Argentina to Oregon.

1616-1654: Nicholas Culpepper (1616-1654), listed a variety of medical uses of the common european hemp (Cannabis sativa), including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antiparasitic activity

1620: Mayflower carried the Pilgrim Fathers to New Plymouth. America beckons to many religious groups looking for a new start for their followers to escape persecution or worldliness.

1630: John Winthrop and many Puritans migrate to America

1631: Hemp used as money throughout American colonies.

1636: Harvard founded by Puritans

1762: In the U.S. the state of Virginia rewarded farmers with bounties for hemp culture and manufacture, and imposed penalties upon those who did not produce it. George Washington grew hemp for fibre and recreational use, and Thomas Jefferson acquired the first American patent for his hemp break, a device used to separate the hemp stalk into usable hurds and fiber with greater speed than the retting of past. Without hemp America could not have successfully waged the revolution, and for the next one hundred and fifty years hemp enjoyed the position as America's top cash crop.

1772: Samuel Taylor "Estese" Coleridge born in England. Writes beautiful poetry, but spends his life battling opium addiction. (1772-1834)

1807: Czar Alexander of Russia was forced to sign the treaty of Tilser, which cut off all legal Russian trade with Great Britain, its allies, or any other neutral nation ship acting as agents for Great Britain. Napoleon hoped to stop Russian hemp from reaching England, thereby destroying Britains navy by forcing it to cannibalise sails, ropes and rigging from other ships; Napoleon belived that Britain, starved of hemp, would be forced to end its blockade of France and the continent. As a result of Napoleons actions, hemp, which normally sold at twenty five pounds per tonne, reached a price of one hundred and eighteen pounds per tonne in 1808.

Hamme1818: The old (left) coat of arms for the Belgian town of Hamme was granted on January 31, 1818 and confirmed on May 13, 1913. The arms show on the right half a branch of a hemp plant and on the left half a branch of a flax plant (with blue flower). Both were important crops in the early 19th century. Hemp was used for ropes, flax for linen.

1822: Thomas De Quincy published "Confessions of an English Opium Eater", which became his masterpiece. In addition, he wrote numerous essays on political, social, critical, historical and philosophical subjects.

1839: The first Opium War between Great Britain and China. Early in the 19th cent., British merchants began smuggling opium into China in order to balance their purchases of tea for export to Britain. In 1839, China enforced its prohibitions on the importation of opium by destroying at Guangzhou (Canton) a large quantity of opium confiscated from British merchants. Great Britain, which had been looking to end China's restrictions on foreign trade, responded by sending gunboats to attack several Chinese coastal cities. China, unable to withstand modern arms, was defeated and forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing (1842) and the British Supplementary Treaty of the Bogue (1843). These provided that the ports of Guangzhou, Jinmen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, and Shanghai should be open to British trade and residence; in addition Hong Kong was ceded to the British. Within a few years other Western powers signed similar treaties with China and received commercial and residential privileges, and the Western domination of China's treaty ports began.

It wasn't until O'Shaughnessy (a Scottish doctor, who while in India had learned about Cannabis from local Mohammedan and Hindu physicians) returned from the Bengal (1839) and published his findings, that the western world begin to take notice of medical cannabis. At a time when western medicine had few if any reliable drugs, here was an analgesic (painkiller), a sedative and antispasmodic agent all in one. And best of all, it had a very low toxicity rate (to this day no one has died from its use), and could be grown almost anywhere in commercial quantities. It spread throughout the western world, and within a few years would be a common medical ingredient.

1842: Baudelaire, 19th century French poet, translator, and literary and art critic, received his inheritance in April 1842 and rapidly proceeded to dissipate it on the lifestyle of a dandified man of letters, spending freely on clothes, books, paintings, expensive food and wines, and, not least, hashish and opium, which he first experimented with in his Paris apartment at the Hotel Pimodan (now the Hotel Lauzun) on the Saint-Louis between 1843 and 1845.

1847: Mormons settle in Utah under Brigham Young, after years of moving around since beginning in New York with Joseph Smith's vision around 1830.

1850: Tree-pulp papermaking becomes more cost-effective than hemp through the rise of assembly line manufacturing methods.
Hemp continues to be used for rope, birdseed, and other products. Constant efforts to improve hemp and hemp products by producers and others.
The Gold Rush brings many Chinese. Opium seen as a Chinese drug. Racism enters the equation.

Opium War1856: The second Opium War broke out following an allegedly illegal Chinese search of a British-registered ship, the Arrow, in Guangzhou. British and French troops took Guangzhou and Tianjin and compelled the Chinese to accept the treaties of Tianjin (1858), to which France, Russia, and the United States were also party. China agreed to open 11 more ports, permit foreign legations in Beijing, sanction Christian missionary activity, and legalize the import of opium. China's subsequent attempt to block the entry of diplomats into Beijing as well as Britain's determination to enforce the new treaty terms led to a renewal of the war in 1859. This time the British and French occupied Beijing and burned the imperial summer palace (Yuan ming yuan). The Beijing conventions of 1860, by which China was forced to reaffirm the terms of the Treaty of Tianjin and make additional concessions, concluded the hostilities.

Opium in anglo-saxon countries was sometimes referred to as "a filthy Chinese practice". This seems highly hypocritical when it was the west that forced Opium upon them to maintain Tea supplies.

Alice1865: "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" was published in 1865, by Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an English writer and brilliant mathematician, under the pen-name he had first used some nine years earlier - Lewis Carroll. "Through the Looking Glass" followed.Although he spent so much of his life in the academic environment, Dodgson's real passions were always artistic. He loved the theatre and the company of 'theatricals'. He loved artists and their work. He courted the bohemian life in a way that sometimes compromised the required dignity of his position as an Oxford don. Earlier, in 1861 he had become a deacon of the Anglican church, but, despite his religious background, and in direct defiance of the laws of his college, he refused to become a priest. Through the image of the caterpillar with a hookah he will forever be associated with cannabis.

1869: The Prohibition Party is formed. Gerrit Smith, twice Abolitionist candidate for President, an associate of John Brown, and a crusading prohibitionist, declares: "Our involuntary slaves are set free, but our millions of voluntary slaves still clang their chains. The lot of the literal slave, of him whom others have enslaved, is indeed a hard one; nevertheless, it is a paradise compared with the lot of him who has enslaved himself to alcohol." [Quoted in Sinclar, op. cit. pp. 83-84]

1874: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union is founded in Cleveland. In 1883, Frances Willard a leader of the W.C.T.U. forms the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

1882: Laws in the United States, and the world, making "temperance education" a part of the required course in public schools are enacted.
The Personal Liberty League of the United States is founded to oppose the increasing momentum of movements for compulsory abstinence from alcohol. [Catlin, op. cit. p. 114]

1886: Congress makes temperance education mandatory in the District of Columbia, and in territorial, military, and naval schools. By 1900, all the states have similar laws. [Crafts et. al., op. cit. p. 72]

Queen Victoria1890:Queen Victoria"s personal physician, J.R. Reynolds described it in 1890 as "One of the most valuable medicines we possess." In another Lancet article published in 1890, he described the use of cannabis indica for treating insomnia in the senile, alcoholic delerium, neuralgia, migraine, spastic paralysis, and convulsions. He allegedly prescribed tincture of cannabis to Queen Victoria.herself for the treatment of menstrual cramps. Cannabis tincture and an extract made from resin were available from Peter Squire of Oxford St in 1864, and wholesale through the Society of Apothecaries by 1871. Chemists extracted stuff they called cannabene, cannabin tannin, cannabinnene etc but had no idea which, if any, was the "active ingredient" until cannabinol was isolated in 1895. THC was not isolated until 1964.

1893: German inventor Rudolph Diesel published a paper entitled "The Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine," which described an engine in which air is compressed by a piston to a very high pressure, causing a high temperature. Fuel is then injected and ignited by the compression temperature. Intended fuel is vegetable and seed oils. Vision of a "people's engine" Petrochemical industry does not encourage this view, and see's alternative use of seed oils instead of gasoline as threat to future sales.

1894:The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report (1894) to the British government, comprising some seven volumes and 3,281 pages, is by far the most complete and systematic study of marijuana undertaken to date. Because of the rarity and, perhaps, the formidable size of this document, the wealth of information contained in it has not found its way into contemporary writings on this subject. This is indeed unfortunate, as many of the issues concerning marijuana being argued in the United States today were dealt with in the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report.

"Viewing the subject generally, it may be added that the moderate use of these drugs is the rule, and that the excessive use is comparatively exceptional. The moderate use practically produces no ill effects. In all but the most exceptional cases, the injury from habitual moderate use is not appreciable. The excessive use may certainly be accepted as very injurious, though it must be admitted that in many excessive consumers the injury is not clearly marked. The injury done by the excessive use is, however, confined almost exclusively to the consumer himself; the effect on society is rarely appreciable. It has been the most striking feature in this inquiry to find how little the effects of hemp drugs have obtruded themselves on observation. The large number of witnesses of all classes who professed never to have seen these effects, the vague statements made by many who professed to have observed them, the very few witnesses who could so recall a case as to give any definite account of it, and the manner in which a large proportion of these cases broke down on the first attempt to examine them, are facts which combine to show most clearly how little injury society has hitherto sustained from hemp drugs " : From the report.

The English approach was that if people were doing something you didn't want them to, that wasn't covered by the commandments, you taxed it and made it expensive. Putting them in jail would only cost the government to no benefit.

1895: Cannabinols isolated and extracted.

1900: Diesel runs his engine on peanut oil at World's Fair.

1909: Shanghai International Opium Conference was held at the insistence of USA, supported by European powers, China, Japan, Siam and Persia.

1910: The Foster Antinarcotic Bill of 1910, the first of a series of draft statutes that led to the Harrison Act, included cannabis. Only the vigorous lobbying of the wholesale drug industry prevented its appearance in the final legislation.

1911: An Opium Conference at the Hague drafted the first treaty which attempted to control opium and cocaine through world wide agreement. In that year, Henry Finger, a California druggist newly appointed as a delegate to the Hague conference wanted the US delegation to propose cannabis control because of California's problem with a large influx of Hindoos demanding cannabis indica but was told that Italy already had a proposal.( See

1912: Hague International Convention on Narcotics - to control the production and distribution of raw and prepared opium (morphine and cocaine); it required parties to Convention to examine the possibility of making it a penal offence to be in illegal possession of drugs covered by the treaty.'

1915: Utah passed the first state anti-marijuana law. Mormons who had gone to Mexico in 1910 returned smoking marijuana. It was later outlawed in that state as a result of the Utah legislature enacting all Mormon religious prohibitions as criminal laws. Thus Utah first state to enact laws against use of marijuana.

1917: George W. Schlicten patented the Hemp Decorticator; a farm-machine that mechanically separates the fibre in the Hemp stalk. Heralds serious threat to wood pulping industry.

1938 Assassin of Youth1920: In England the Dangerous Drugs Act came into force. Of interest here is that while the Americans also outlawed the use of heroin for medical purposes, the English upheld this usage and even found the provision of opiates, in this case heroin, to addicts to be acceptable medical practice.

The Hague treaty of 1912 was 'as leaky as a sieve' because it allowed the states to determine for themselves when and how they would fulfil their obligations with regard to opium, which of course kept the use of opium legal until that time. The chemical derivatives did, however, fall under this commitment: that their use was illegal, making these substances more than opium, the object of the battle. To make this battle more effective the League of Nations held two conferences which led to two Geneva Conventions: one of 11 February and one on 19 February 1925.

The Conspiracy View

Also around this time,William Randolph Hearst, media mogul, billionaire and model for Orson Welles' "Citizen Kane", campaigns against new drug "marijuana". Most didn't realise Hemp was the same thing. His aggressive efforts to demonize cannabis were so effective, they continue to colour popular opinion today.

Hearst owned a good deal of timber acreage; one might say that he had the monopoly on this market. He also had paper-mill holdings, and a national network of newspapers and magazines to spread wildly inaccurate and sensational stories of the evils of cannabis or "marihuana". Other tabloids jumped on the bandwagon, printing similar stories about crazed mexicans and negros committing hienous crimes under the influence of marihuana.

The sheer number of newspapers, tabloids, magazines and film reels that Hearst controlled enabled him to quickly and effectively inundate American media with his propaganda. Hearst preyed on existing prejudices by associating cannabis with Mexican workers who he said threatened to steal American jobs and also African-Americans. With no strong voice to the contrary, Hearst was persuasive in his appeal to prejudice.

Hearst was not alone in his efforts to demonize hemp.

The new techniques would also make hemp a more viable option for fabric and plastics. DuPont chemicals, which at this time specialized in the chemical manufacturing of synthetic fibre and plastics, and chemicals used in the process of pulping paper might have seen hemp products as competition.

It was said Hearst and Lammont DuPont had a multi-million dollar deal in the works for a joint papermaking venture. These two moguls, together with DuPont's banker, Andrew Mellon, combined and co-ordinated their efforts to demonize "marijuana".

Hearst's "yellow journalism" campaign (so called because the paper developed through his and DuPont's methods aged and yellowed rapidly) and the 1930 appointment of Mellon's nephew-in-law, Harry J. Anslinger, to Commissioner of the newly created Federal Bureau of Narcotics put them in control of US Federal drugs policy. Anslinger was a committed prohibitionist.

The Race and Culture War View

Pot activist Jack Herer's book The Emperor Wears No Clothes is the prime source for the hemp-conspiracy theory. It alleges that in the mid-1930s, when the new mechanical hemp fiber stripping machines to conserve hemp's high-cellulose pulp finally became state of the art, available and affordable, Hearst, with enormous holdings in timber acreage and investments in paper manufacturing, stood to lose billions of dollars and perhaps go bankrupt. Meanwhile, DuPont in 1937 had just patented nylon and a new sulfate/sulfite process for making paper from wood pulp - so if hemp had not been made illegal, 80 percent of DuPont's business would never have materialized.

Herer, a somewhat cantankerous former marijuana-pipe salesman, deserves a lot of credit for his cannabis activism. He was a dedicated grass-roots agitator for pot legalization during the late 1980s, perhaps the most herb-hostile time in recent history. Despite - an omnivorous conglomeration of newspaper clippings and historical documents about hemp and marijuana, held together by Herer's cannabis evangelism and fiery screeds against prohibition - has been a bible for many pot activists. Unearthing a 1916 Department of Agriculture bulletin about hemp paper and a World War II short film that exhorted American farmers to grow Hemp for Victory, Herer more than anyone else revived the idea that the cannabis plant was useful for purposes besides getting high.

Twentieth-century cannabis prohibition first reared its head in countries where white minorities ruled black majorities: South Africa, where its known as dagga, banned it in 1911, and Jamaica, then a British colony, outlawed ganja in 1913. They were followed by Canada, Britain and New Zealand, which added cannabis to their lists of illegal narcotics in the 1920s. Canada's pot law was enacted in 1923, several years before there were any reports of people actually smoking it there. It was largely the brainchild of Emily F. Murphy, a feminist but racist judge who wrote anti-Asian, anti-marijuana rants under the pseudonym Janey Canuck. All of this happened before Hearst, DuPont, and Anslinger appeared, so they did not cause prohibition, even if they may have exploited it.

In the United States, marijuana prohibition began partly as a throw-in on laws restricting opiates and cocaine to prescription-only use, and partly in Southern and Western states and cities where blacks and Mexican immigrants were smoking it. Missouri outlawed opium and hashish dens in 1889, but did not actually prohibit cannabis until 1935. Massachusetts began restricting cannabis in its 1911 pharmacy law, and three other New England states followed in the next seven years.

The hemp-conspiracy theory blames that law on Hearst and DuPont's plot to suppress hemp paper and cloth. The theory is that the invention of a hemp processor known as the decorticator made it easier, faster and much more cost-effective to extract hemp fiber from the stalks. In February 1938, Popular Mechanics hailed hemp as the New Billion Dollar Crop. In response, Hearst and DuPont, scared by the prospect of hemp's resurrection as a competitor for their products, schemed to eliminate the plant.

However, The Emperor makes only three specific claims to support that theory. One is the anti-marijuana propagandizing of the Hearst newspapers. Second, it claims that Anslinger's anti-pot crusade was on behalf of Pittsburgh banker Andrew Mellon, who supposedly was DuPont's chief financial backer, lending the company the funds it needed to purchase General Motors in the 1920s. And finally, The Emperor argues that DuPont anticipated the Marihuana Tax Act in its 1937 annual report.