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Electric Emperor

Chapter 2

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Chapter Two:



If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as the deforestation of trees for paper and agriculture, are banned from use in order to save the planet and reverse the greenhouse effe ct:

Then there is only one known annually renewable natural resource able to provide the overall majority of our paper, textiles, and food, meet all the world’s transportation, home, and industrial energy needs, reduce pollution, rebuild the soil and clean the atmosphere—all at the same time—our old stand-by that did it all before: Cannabis Hemp Marijuana!


Ninety pe rcent* of all ships’ sails (since before the Phoenicians, from at least the Fifth Century B.C.E. until long after the invention and commercialization of steam ships [mid- to late-19th century]) were made from hemp. See picture.)

* The other 10% were usually flax or minor fibers like ramie, sisal, jute, abaca.

(Abel, Ernest, Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years, Plenum Press, 1980; Herodotus, Histories, 5th century B.C.E.; Frazier, Jack, The Marijuana Farmers, 19 72; U.S. agricultural Index, 1916-1982; USDA film, Hemp for Victory, 1942.)

The word “canvas”1 is the Dutch pronunciation (twice removed, from French and Latin) of the Greek word “Kannabis.”*

1. Oxford English Dictionary; Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 11th edition, 1910; U.S.D.A. film, Hemp for Victory, 1942.

* Kannabis—of the (Hellenized) Mediterranean Basin Greek language, derived from the Persian and earlier Northern S emitics (Quanuba, Kanabosm, Cana?, Kanah?) which scholars have now traced back to the new-found dawn of the 6,000-year-old, Indo-Semitic-European language family base of the Sumerians and Accadians. The early Sumerian/Babylonian word K(a)N(a)B(a), or Q( a)N(a)B(a) is one of man’s longest surviving root words.1 ((KN means cane and B means two—two reeds or two sexes.)

In addition to the canvas sails, virtually all of the rigging, anchor ropes, cargo nets, fishermen’s net s, flags, shrouds, and oakum (the main sealant for ships against salt water for use between loose or green beams) were made from the stalk of the marijuana plant until this century.

Even the sailors’ clothing, right down to the s titching in the seamen’s rope-soled and (sometimes) “canvas” shoes were crafted from cannabis.*

* An average cargo, clipper, whaler, or naval ship of the line, in the 16th, 17th, 18th, or 19th centuries carried 50 to 1 00 tons of cannabis hemp rigging, not to mention the sails, nets, and needed is all replaced every year or two, due to salt rot. Ask the U.S. Naval Academy, or see the construction of the USS Constitution, a.k.a. “Old Ironsides,” Boston Harbor.)

(Abel, Ernest, Marijuana, The First 12,000 Years, Plenum Press, 1980; Ency. Brittanica; Magoun, Alexander, The Frigate Constitution, 1928; USDA film Hemp for Victory, 1942.)

Additionally the ships’ charts, m aps, logs, and Bibles were made from paper containing hemp fiber from the time of Columbus (15th century) until the early 1900s in the Western European/American World, and by the Chinese from the first century C.E. on. Hemp paper lasted 50 to 100 times lo nger than most preparations of papyrus, as was a hundred times easier and cheaper to make.

Nor was hemp use restricted to the briny deep.


Eig hty percent of all mankind’s textiles and fabrics for clothes, tents, linens,* rugs, drapes, quilts, bed sheets, towels, diapers, etc., including our flag, “Old Glory,” were made principally from cannabis fibers until the 1820s in America a nd until the 20th century in most of the rest of the world.

* The 1893, 1910 Encyclopaedia Britannicas indicate—and in 1938, Popular Mechanics estimated—that at least half of all the material that has been called linen was n ot made from flax, but form cannabis. Herodotus (c. 450 B.C.E.) describes the hempen garments made by the Thracians as equal to linen in fineness and that “none but a very experienced person could tell whether they were of hemp or flax.”

For hundreds, if not thousands of years (until the 1830s) Ireland made the finest linens and Italy made the world’s finest cloth for clothing with hemp.

The fact that hemp is softer than cotton, warmer than cotton, more water absorbent than cotton, has three times the tensile strength of cotton and is many times more durable than cotton was well known to our forebearers.

Homespun cloth was almost always spun from the family hemp patch into the e arly 1900s.

In fact, when the patriotic, real life, 1776 mothers of our present day blue-blood “Daughters of the American Revolution” (the D.A.R. of Boston and New England) organized “spinning bees” to clothe Washi ngton’s soldiers, the majority of the thread was spun from hemp fibers. Were it not for the historically forgotten (or censored) and currently disparaged marijuana plant, the Continental Army would have frozen to death at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania .

The common use of hemp in the economy of the early republic was important enough to occupy the time and thoughts of our first U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who wrote in a Treasury notice from the 1790s, “Flax and Hemp: manufacturers of these articles have so much affinity to each other, and they are so often blended, that they may with advantage be considered in conjunction. Sailcloth should have 10% duty.”

(Herndon, G.M., Hemp in Colonia l Virginia, 1963; D.A.R. histories; Able, E, Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years; also see the 1985 film Revolution with Al Pacino.)

The covered wagons went west (to Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Oregon, and California*) covered with stu rdy hemp canvas tarpaulins,2 while ships sailed around the “Horn” to San Francisco on hemp sails and ropes.

2. Oxford English Dictionary; Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 11th edition, 1910; U.S.D.A. film, Hemp for Victory, 1942.

* The original, heavy-duty, famous Levi pants were made for the California ’ 49ers out of hempen sailcloth and rivets. This way the pockets wouldn’t rip when filled with gold panned from the sediment.3

3 . Levi-Strauss & Company of San Francisco, CA, author’s personal communication with Gene McClaine, 1985.

Homespun cloth was almost always spun from the “family” hemp patch until after the Civil War, and into the ear ly 1900s, by Americans and peoples all over the world.*

* In the 1930s, Congress was told by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics that many Polish-Americans still grew pot in their backyards to make their winter “long johns” and work clothes and greeted the agents with shotguns for stealing their next year’s clothes.

The age and density of the hemp patch influences fiber quality. If a farmer wanted soft linen-quality fibers he would plant his cannabis c lose together.

As a rule of thumb, if you plant for medical or recreational use, you plant one seed per five square yards. When planted for seed: four to five feet apart.

(Univ. of KY Ag. Ext. leaflet, march 1943. )

Two hundred seeds to the square yard are planted for rough cordage or coarse cloth. Finest linen or lace is grown up to 900 plants to the square yard and harvested between 80 to 100 days.

(Farm Crop Reports, USD A international abstracts, CIBA Review 1961-62 Luigi Castellini, Milan Italy.)

By the late 1820s, the new American hand cotton gins (invented by Eli Whitney in 1793) were largely replaced by European-made “industrial” looms and cotton gins (“gin” is just short for engine), because of Europe’s primary equipment-machinery-technology (tool and die making) lead over America.

For the first time, light cotton clothing could be produced at less c ost than hand retting (rotting) and hand separating hemp fibers to be handspun on spinning wheels and jennys.4

4. Ye Old Spinning Jennys and Wheels were principally used for fiber in this order: cannabis hemp, flax, wool, cotton, and so forth.

However, because of its strength, softness, warmth, and long-lasting qualities, hemp continued to be the second most used natural fiber* until the 1930s.

* In case you’re wondering, there is no THC or “high” in hemp fiber. That’s right, you can’t smoke your shirt! In fact, attempting to smoke hemp fabric—or any fabric, for that matter—could be fatal!

Holy Moly

After the 1937 Mariju ana Tax law, new DuPont “plastic fibers” under license of 1936 German I.G. Farben Corporation patents (with patent surrenders as part of Germany’s reparation payments to America from World War I) replaced natural hempen fibers. (Some 30% of Hitler’s I.G. Corps, e.g., Farben, were owned and financed by America’s DuPont.) DuPont also introduced Nylon (invented in 1935) to the market when they patented it in 1938.

(Colby, Jerry, DuPont Dynasties, Lyle Stewart, 19 84.)

Finally, it must be noted that approximately 50% of all chemicals used in American agriculture today are used in cotton growing. Hemp needs no chemicals and has few weed or insect enemies—except for the U.S. government and t he DEA.

(Cavender, Jim, Professor of Botany, Ohio University, “Authorities Examine Pot Claims,” Athens News, November 16, 1989.)


Fro m 75-90% of all paper in the world was made with cannabis hemp fiber until 1883: books, Bibles, maps, paper money, stocks and bonds, newspaper, etc., including the Gutenberg Bible (15th century); Pantagruel and the Herb Pantagruelion, Barelais (16th centu ry); King James Bible (17th century); Thomas Paine’s pamphlets, “The rights of Man,” “Common Sense,” “The Age of Reason” (18th century); the works of Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Lewis Ca rroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” (19th century); and just about everything else was printed on hemp paper.

The first draft of the Declaration of Independence (June 28, 1776) was written on Dutch [hemp] paper, as was the se cond draft completed on July 2, 1776. This was the document actually agreed to on that day and announced and released on July 4, 1776. On July 19, 1776, Congress ordered the Declaration be copied and engrossed on parchment (a prepared animal skin) and t his was the document actually signed by the delegates on August 2, 1776.

Benjamin Franklin started one of America’s first paper mills with cannabis. This allowed America to have a free colonial press without having to beg or just ify paper and books from England.

Colonial printing press

What we (the colonial American) and the rest of the world used to make all our paper from was the discarded sails and ropes sold by ship owners as scrap for recycling into paper.

The rest of our paper came from our worn-out clothes, sheets, diapers, curtains, and rags* sold to scrap dealers made primarily from hemp and sometimes flax.

* Hence the term “rag paper. ”

Rag paper, containing hemp fiber, is the highest quality and longest lasting paper ever made. It can be torn when wet but returns to its full strength when dry. Rag paper is stable for centuries, barring extreme conditions. It will almost never wear out.

Our ancestors were too thrifty to just throw anything away, so, until the 1880s, any remaining scraps and clothes were mixed together and recycled into paper. Many U.S. government papers were written, by la w, on hempen “rag paper” until the 1920s.5

5. Frazier, Jack, The Marijuana Farmers, Solar Age Press, New Orleans, LA 1974; U.S. Library of Congress; National Archives; U.S. Mint; etc.

It is generally be lieved by scholars that the early Chinese knowledge, or art, of hemp paper making (First Century C.E.—800 years before Islam discovered how, and 1,200 to 1,400 years before Europe was one of the two chief reasons that Oriental knowledge and science w ere vastly superior to that of the West for 1,400 years. Thus, the art of long-lasting hemp papermaking allowed the Orientals’ accumulated knowledge to be passed on, built upon, investigated, refined, challenged, and changed, for generation after g eneration (in other words, cumulative and comprehensive scholarship).

Hemp paper lasted 50 to 100 times longer than most preparations of papyrus, and was a hundred times easier and cheaper to make.

The other reaso n that Oriental knowledge and science sustained superiority to that of the West for 1,400 years was that the Roman Catholic Church forbade reading and writing for 95% of Europe’s people; in addition, they burned, hunted down, or prohibited all foreig n or domestic books—including their own Bible!— for over 1,200 years under the penalty and often-used punishment of death. Hence, many historians term this period “The Dark Ages.” (476 C.E.-1000 C.E., or even until the Renaissance). (S ee chapter 10 on Sociology.)


Virtually every city and town (from time out of mind) in the world had an industry making hemp rope.6 Russia, however, was the world ’s largest producer and best-quality manufacturer, supplying 80% of the Western world’s hemp from 1740 until 1940.

6. Adams, James T., editor, Album of American History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, 1944, pg. 116.

< p ALIGN=LEFT> Thomas Paine outlined four essential natural resources for the new nation in Common Sense (1776): “cordage, iron, timber and tar.”

Chief among these was hemp for cordage. He wrote, “Hemp flourishes even to rankness, we do not want for cordage.” Then he want on to list the other essentials necessary for war with the British navy: cannons, gunpowder, etc.

From 70-90% of all rope, twine, and cordage was made from hemp until 1937. It was then replaced mostly by petrochemical fibers (owned principally by DuPont under license from Germany’s I.G. Corporation patents) and by Manila (Abaca) Hemp, with steel cables often intertwined for strength—brought in from our “new&# 148; far-Western Pacific Philippines possession, seized from Spain as reparations for the Spanish American War in 1898.


“Hemp is the perfect archival medium.” 7

< p ALIGN=LEFT> 7. Frazier, Jack, The Marijuana Farmers, Solar Age Press, New Orleans, LA 1974; U.S. Library of Congress; National Archives.

The paintings of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Gainsborough, etc., were primarily painted on hemp canv as, as were practically all canvas paintings.

A strong, lustrous fiber, hemp withstands heat, mildew, insects, and is not damaged by light. Oil paintings on hemp canvas have stayed in fine condition for centuries.


For thousands of years, virtually all good paints and varnishes were made with hemp seed oil and/or linseed oil.

For instance, in 1935 alone, 116 million pounds (5 8,000 tons*) of hemp seed were used in America just for paint and varnish. The hemp drying oil business went principally to DuPont petro-chemicals.8

8. Sloman, Larry, Reefer Madness, Grove Press, New York, NY, 1979, pg. 72.

*National Institute of Oilseed Products congressional testimony against the 1937 Marijuana Transfer Tax Law. * As a comparison, consider that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), along with all America’s state and local police agencies , claim to have seized for all of 1988, 651.5 tons of American-grown marijuana—seed, plant, root, dirt clump, and all.

Congress and the Treasury Department were assured through secret testimony given by DuPont in 1935-37 directly to Herman Oliphant, Chief Counsel for the Treasury Dept., that hemp seed oil could be replaced with synthetic petrochemical oils made principally by DuPont.

Oliphant was solely responsible for drafting the Marijuana Tax Act that was submitted to Congress.9 (See complete story in chapter 4, “The Last Days of Legal Cannabis.”)

(National Narcotics Intelligence Consumers Committee, NNICC Report, 1988 DEA office release, El Paso, TX, April, 1989.)

9. Bonnie, Richard and Whitebread, Charles, The Marijuana Conviction, Univ. of Virginia Press, 1974.


Until about 1800, hemp seed oil was the most consumed ligh ting oil in America and the world. From then until the 1870s, it was the second most consumed lighting oil, exceeded only by whale oil.

Hemp seed oil lit the lamps of the legendary Aladdin, Abraham the prophet, and in real life, Abrah am Lincoln. It was the brightest lamp oil.

Hemp seed oil for lamps was replaced by petroleum, kerosene, etc., after the 1859 Pennsylvania oil discovery and “Rockefeller’s” 1870-on national petroleum stewardship. (See ch apter 9 on “Economics.”)

In fact, the celebrated botanist Luther Burbank stated, “The seed of [cannabis] is prized in other countries for its oil, and its neglect here illustrates the same wasteful use of our agricultur al resources.”

(Burbank, Luther, How Plants Are Trained To Work For Man, Useful Plants, P.F. Collier & Son Co., NY, Vol. 6, pg. 48.)


In the early 1900s, Henry Ford and other futuristic, organic, engineering geniuses (as their intellectual, scientific heirs still do today) recognized an important point—that up to 90% of all fossil fuel used in the world today (coal, oil, natural gas, etc .—should long ago have been replaced with biomass such as: cornstalks, cannabis, waste paper, and the like.

Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear ener gy—especially when environmental costs are factored in—and its mandated use would end acid rain, end sulfur-based smog, and reverse the green house effect on our planet—right now!*

* Government and oil and coal compani es, etc., will insist that burning biomass fuel is no better than using up our fossil fuel reserves, as far as pollution goes; but this is patently untrue.

Why? Because, unlike fossil fuel, biomass comes from living (not extinct) plan ts that continue to remove carbon dioxide pollution from our atmosphere as they grow, through photosynthesis. Furthermore, biomass fuels do not contain sulfur.

This can be accomplished if hemp is grown for biomass and then converted t hrough pyrolysis (charcoalizing) or biochemical composting into fuels to replace fossil fuel energy products.*

* Remarkably, when considered on a planetwide, climate-wide, soil-wide basis, cannabis is at least four and could be many more times richer in sustainable, renewable biomass/cellulose potential than its nearest rivals on the planet—cornstalks, surgarcane, kenaf, trees, etc.

(Solar Gas, 1980; Omni, 1983; Cornell University; Science Digest, 1983; etc. ). Also see chapter 9 on Economics.

One product of pyrolysis, methanol, is today used by most race cars and was used by American farmers and auto drivers routinely with petroleum/methanol even into the mid-1940s to run tens of thousan ds of auto, farm, and military vehicles until the end of World War II.

Methanol can even be converted to a high-octane lead-free gasoline using catalytic process developed by Georgia Tech University in conjunction with Mobil Oil Corp oration.


From 1842 and through the 1890s, extremely strong marijuana (then known as cannabis extractums) and hashish extracts, tinctures, and elixirs were routinely the secon d and third most-used medicines in American for humans (from birth, through childhood, to old age) and in veterinary medicine until the 1920s and longer. (See chapter 6 on “Medicine,” and chapter 13 on the “19th Century.”)

As stated earlier, for at least 3,000 years, prior to 1842, widely varying marijuana extracts (buds, leaves, roots, etc.) were the most commonly used real medicines in the world for the majority of mankind’s illnesses.

H owever, in Western Europe, the Roman Catholic Church forbade use of cannabis or any medical treatment, except for alcohol or blood letting, for 1200-plus years. (See chapter 10 on “Sociology.”)

The U.S. Pharmacopoeia indicat ed cannabis should be used for treating such ailments as: fatigue, fits of coughing, rheumatism, asthma, delirium tremens, migraine headaches, and the cramps and depressions associated with menstruation. (Professor William EmBoden, Professor of Narcotic B otany, California State University, Northridge.)

Queen Victoria used cannabis resins for her menstrual cramps and PMS, and her reign (1837-1901) paralleled the enormous growth of the use of Indian cannabis medicine in the English-spea king world.

In this century, cannabis research has demonstrated therapeutic value—and complete safety—in the treatment of many health problems including asthma, glaucoma, nausea, tumors, epilepsy, infection, stress, migraine s, anorexia, depression, rheumatism, arthritis, and possibly herpes. (See chapter 7, “Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis.”)


Hemp seed was regularly used in porr idge, soups, and gruels by virtually all the people of the world up until this century. Monks were required to eat hemp seed dishes three times a day, to weave their clothes of it and to print their Bibles on paper made with its fiber.

(See Rubin, Dr. Vera, “Research Institute for the Study of Man;” Eastern Orthodox Church; Choen & Stillman, Therapeutic Potential of Marijuana, Plenum Press, 1976; Abel, Ernest, Marijuana, The First 12,000 Years, Plenum Press, NY, 1980; En cyclopaedia Brittanica.)

Hemp seed can be pressed for its highly nutritious vegetable oil, which contains the highest amount of essential fatty acids in the plant kingdom. These essential oils are responsible for our immune responses and clear the arteries of cholesterol and plaque.

The byproduct of pressing the oil from the seed is the highest quality protein seed cake. It can be sprouted (malted or ground and baked into cake, breads, and casseroles. Marijuana se ed protein is one of mankind’s finest, most complete, and available-to-the-body vegetable proteins. Hemp seed is the most complete single nutrition. (See discussion of edistins and essential fatty acids, Chapter 8.)

Hemp seed was —until the 1937 prohibition law—the world’s number-one bird seed, for both wild and domestic birds. It was their favorite* of any seed food on the planet; four millions pounds of hemp seed for songbirds were sold at retail in the U.S. in 19 37. Birds will pick hemp seeds out and eat them first from a pile of mixed seed. Birds in the wild live longer and breed more with hemp seed in their diet, using the oil for their feathers and their overall health. (More in chapter 8, “Hemp as a Basic World Food.”)

* Congressional testimony, 1937: “Song birds won’t sing without it,” the bird food companies told Congress. Result: sterilized cannabis seeds continue to be imported into the U.S. from Italy, C hina, and other countries.

The hemp seed produces no observable high for humans or birds. Only the most minute traces of THC are in the seed.

(Frazier, Jack, The Marijuana Farmers, Solar Age Press, New Orleans, LA , 1972)


Because one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees,* hemp is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board, and for concrete construction molds.

* Dewey & Merrill, Bulletin #404, U.S. Dept. of Ag., 1916.

Practical, inexpensive fire-resistant construction material, with excellent thermal and s ound-insulating qualities, is made by heating and compressing plant fibers to create strong construction paneling, replacing dry wall and plywood. C&S Specialty Builder’s Supply near Eugene, OR, in conjunction with Washington State University (19 91-1993), has demonstrated the superior strength, flexibility, and economy of hemp composite building materials compared to wood fiber, even as beams.

Isochanvre, a rediscovered French building material made from hemp hurds mixed with lime, actually petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries. Archeologists have found a bridge in the south of France, built with this process. (See Chenevotte Habitat of Rene, France in Appendix I of the paper version of this book.)

< p ALIGN=LEFT> Hemp has been used throughout history for carpet backing. Hemp fiber has potential in the manufacture of strong, rot resistant carpeting—eliminating the poisonous fumes of burning synthetic materials in a house or commercial fire, alo ng with allergic reactions associated with new synthetic carpeting.

Plastic plumbing pipe (PVC pipes) can be manufactured using renewable hemp cellulose as the chemical feedstocks, replacing non-renewable petroleum-based chemical feed stocks.

So we can envision a house of the future built, plumbed, painted, and furnished with the world’s number one renewable resource—hemp.


The American Declaration of Independence recognizes the “inalienable rights” of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Subsequent court decisions have inferred the rights to privacy and choice from this, t he U.S. Constitution and its Amendments.

Many artists and writers have used cannabis for creative stimulation—from the writers of the world’s religious masterpieces to our most irreverent satirists. These include Lewis Car roll and his hookah smoking caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, plus Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas; such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Gene Krupa; and the pattern continues right up to modern day artists and musicia ns such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, the Doobie Brothers Jefferson Airplane, Willie Nelson, Buddy Rich, Country Joe & the Fish, Joe Walsh, David Carradine, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lola Falana, Hunter Thompson, Peter Tosh, and the Gra teful Dead, Cypress Hill, Sinead O’Connor, Black Crowes, etc.

Of course, smoking marijuana only enhances creativity for some and not for others.

But throughout history, various prohibition and “temperanc e” groups have attempted and occasionally succeeded in banning the preferred relaxational substances of others, like alcohol, tobacco or cannabis.

Abraham Lincoln responded to this kind of repressive mentality in December, 1840, when he said:

“Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very pri nciples upon which our government was founded.”


We believe that in a competitive market with all facts known, the people will rush to buy long-lasting, biodegradable “Pot Tops” or “Mary Jeans”, etc.

It’s time we put capitalism to the test and let the unrestricted market of supply and demand as well as “Green” ecological consciousn ess decide the future of the planet.

A cotton shirt in 1776 cost $100 to $200, while a hemp shirt cost $.50 to $1. By the 1830s, cooler, lighter cotton shirts were on par in price with the warmer, heavier, hempen shirts, providing a c ompetitive choice.

People were able to choose their garments based upon the particular qualities they wanted in a fabric. Today we have no such choice.

The role of hemp and other natural fibers should be determine d by the market of supply and demand and personal tastes and values, not by the undue influence of prohibition laws, federal subsidies and huge tariff that keep the natural fabrics from replacing synthetic fibers.

Fifty years of gover nment suppression of information has resulted in virtually no public knowledge of the incredible potential of the hemp fiber or its uses.

When legal, by using 100% hemp or mixing 20-50% hemp with 50-80% cotton, you will be able to pas s on your shirts, pants, and other clothing to your grandchildren. Intelligent spending could essentially replace the use of petrochemical synthetic fibers such as nylon and polyester with tougher, cheaper, cool, absorbent, breathing, biodegradable, natur al fibers.

China, Italy, and Eastern European countries such as Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Russia, and Georgia currently make millions of dollars worth of sturdy hemp and hemp/cotton textiles—and could be making bi llions of dollars—annually.

These countries build upon their traditional farming and weaving skills, while the U.S. tries to force the extinction of this plant to prop up destructive synthetic technologies.

E ven cannabis/cotton blend textiles are still not cleared for direct sale in the U.S. to this day. The Chinese, for instance, are forced—by tacit agreement—to send us inferior ramie/cottons.

(National Import/Export Textile Co mpany of Shanghai, Personal communication with author, April and May, 1983.)

As the 1990 edition of Emperor went to press, garments containing at least 55% cannabis hemp arrived from China—with a huge import fee attached. It had to be first imported into Hong Kong and then re-exported to the U.S.—with quotas and a huge protective tariff to shield American synthetic fiber industries from competing with imported natural fibers such as hemp. In 1992 as we went to press, many different grades of 100% hemp fabric had arrived directly from China and Hungary. Now, in 1995, hemp fabric is in booming demand all over the world. Hemp has been recognized as the hottest fabric by Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, Paper, Details, Mademoi selle, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and the September 20, 1993 edition of Der Spiegel, ad infinitum all ran major stories on industrial and nutritional hemp.

Additionally, hemp grown for biomass could fuel a trillion dol lar per year energy industry, while improving air quality and distributing the wealth to rural areas and their surrounding communities, and away from centralized power monopolies. More than any other plant on Earth, hemp holds the promise of a sustainable ecology and economy.


We must reiterate our original premise with our challenge to the world to prove us wrong:

If all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as the deforestation of trees for paper and agriculture, are banned from use in order to save the planet and reverse the greenhouse effect:

Then there is only one known annually renewable natural resourc e able to provide the overall majority of our paper, textiles, and food, meet all the world’s transportation, home, and industrial energy needs, to reduce pollution, rebuild the soil and clean the atmosphere—all at the same time—our old sta nd-by that did it all before: Cannabis HempMarijuana!


1. Oxford English Dictionary; Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 11th edition, 1910; U.S.D.A. film, Hemp for Victo ry, 1942.

2. Ibid.

3. Levi-Strauss & Company of San Francisco, CA, author’s personal communication with Gene McClaine, 1985.

4. Ye Old Spinning Jennys and Wheels were principally used for fi ber in this order: cannabis hemp, flax, wool, cotton, and so forth.

5. Frazier, Jack, The Marijuana Farmers, Solar Age Press, New Orleans, LA 1974; U.S. Library of Congress; National Archives; U.S. Mint; etc.

6. Adams , James T., editor, Album of American History, Charles Scribner’s Sons, NY, 1944, pg. 116.

7. Frazier, Jack, The Marijuana Farmers, Solar Age Press, New Orleans, LA 1974; U.S. Library of Congress; National Archives.

8. Sloman, Larry, Reefer Madness, Grove Press, New York, NY, 1979, pg. 72.

9. Bonnie, Richard and Whitebread, Charles, The Marijuana Conviction, Univ. of Virginia Press, 1974.


One more example of the importance of hemp: Five years after cannabis hemp was outlawed in 1937, it was promptly re-introduced for the World War II effort in 1942.

So, when the young pilot George Bush bailed out of his burning airplane after a battle over the Pacific, little did he know:

Ye t Bush spent a good deal of his career eradicating the cannabis plant and enforcing laws to make certain that no one will learn this information—possibly including himself.

(USDA film, Hemp for Victory, 1942; U. of KY Agricultura l Ext. Service Leaflet 25, March, 1943; Galbraith, Gatewood, Kentucky Marijuana Feasibility Study, 1977.)


In early 1989, Jack Herer and Maria Farrow put this question to Steve Rawlings, the highest ranking officer in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who was in charge of reversing the Greenhouse Effect, at the USDA world research facility in Be ltsville, MD.

First, we introduced ourselves and told him we were writing for Green political party newspapers. Then we asked Rawlings, “If you could have any choice, what would be the ideal way to stop or reverse the Greenhouse Effect?”

He said, “Stop cutting down trees and stop using fossil fuels.”

“Well, why don’t we?”

“There’s no viable substitute for wood for paper, or for fossil fuels.”

“Why don’t we use an annual plant for paper and for biomass to make fuel?”

“Well, that would be ideal,” he agreed. “Unfortunately there is nothing you can use that could produce enough materials.”

“Well, what would you say if there was such a plant that could substitute for all wood pulp paper, all fossil fuels, would make most of our fibers naturally, make everything from dynamite to plastic, grows in all 50 states, and that one acre of it would replace 4.1 acres of trees, and that if you used about 6% of the U.S. land to raise it as an energy crop — even on our marginal lands, this plant would produce all 75 quadrillion BTUs needed to run America each year? Would that help save the planet?”

“That would be ideal. But there is no such plant.”

“We think there is.”

“Yeah? What is it?” ;


“Hemp!” he mused for a moment. “I never would have thought of it. You know, I think you’re right. Hemp could be the plant that could do it. Wow! That’s a great idea! 48;

We were excited as we outlined this information and delineated the potential of hemp for paper, fiber, fuel, food, paint, etc., and how it could be applied to balance the world’s ecosystems and restore the atmosphere’s o xygen balance with almost no disruption of the standard of living to which most Americans have become accustomed.

In essence, Rawlings agreed that our information was probably correct and could very well work.

He said, “It’s a wonderful idea, and I think it might work. But, of course, you can’t use it.”

“You’re kidding?” we responded. “Why not?”

“Well, Mr. Herer, did you kn ow that hemp is also marijuana?”

“Yes, of course I know, I’ve been writing about it for about 40 hours a week for the past 17 years.”

“Well, you know marijuana’s illegal, don’t y ou? You can’t use it.”

“Not even to save the world?”

“No. It’s illegal,” he sternly informed me. “You cannot use something illegal.”

“Not even to save the world?” we asked, stunned.

“No, not even to save the world. It’s illegal. You can’t use it. Period.”

“Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great idea,” he went on, & #147;But they’ll never let you do it.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and tell the Secretary of Agriculture that a crazy man from California gave you documentation that showed that hemp might be able to save the planet an d that your first reaction is that he might be right and it needs some serious study? What would he say?”

“Well, I don’t think I’d be here very long after I did that. After all, I’m an officer of the governmen t.”

“Well, why not call up the information on your computer at your own USDA library? That’s where we got the information in the first place.”

He said, “I can’t sign out that informat ion.”

“Well, why not? We did.”

“Mr. Herer, you’re a citizen. You can sign out for anything you want. But I am an officer of the Department of Agriculture. Someone’s going to want to k now why I want all this information. And then I’ll be gone.”

Finally, we agreed to send him all the information we got from the USDA library, if he would look at it.

He said he would, but when we called back a month later, he said that he still had not opened the box that we sent him and that he would be sending it back to us unopened because he did not want to be responsible for the information, now that the Bush administration was replacing him with th eir own man.

We asked him if he would pass on the information to his successor, and he replied, “Absolutely not.”

In May, 1989, we had virtually the same conversation and result with his cohort, Dr. Gary Evan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Science, the man in charge of stopping the global warming trend.

In the end, he said, “If you really want to save the planet with hemp, then you (hemp/marijuana activists) would fin d a way to grow it without the narcotic [sic.] top — and then you can use it.”

This is the kind of frightened (and frightening) irresponsibility we’re up against in our government.



In 1917, the world was battling World War I. In this country, industrialists, just beset with the minimum wage and graduated income tax, were sent into a tailspin. Progressive ideals were lost as the United States took its place on the world stage in the struggle for commercial supremacy.

It is against this backdrop that the first 20th-ce ntury hemp drama was played.

The Players

The story begins soon after the release of Bulletin 404. Near San Diego, California, a 50-year-old German immigrant named George Schlichten had been working on a simple yet brilliant invention. Schlichten had spent 18 years and $400,000 on the decorticator, a machine that could strip the fiber from nearly any plant, leaving the pulp behind. To build it, he had developed an encyclopedic knowledge of fibers and paper making. His desire was to stop the felling of forests for paper, which he believed to be a crime. His native Germany was well advanced in forestry and Schlichten knew that destroying forests meant destroying nee ded watersheds.

Henry Timken, a wealth industrialist and inventor of the roller bearing, got wind of Schlichten’s invention and went to meet the inventor in February of 1917. Timken saw the decorticator as a revolutionary discove ry that would improve conditions for mankind. Timken offered Schlichten to grow 100 acres of hemp on his ranch in the fertile farmlands of Imperial Valley, California, just east of San Diego, so that Schlichten could test his invention.

Shortly thereafter, Timken met with the newspaper giant E.W. Scripps, and his long-time associate Milton McRae, at Miramar, Scripps’ home in San Diego. Scripps, then 63, had accumulated the largest chain of newspapers in the country. Timken hope d to interest Scripps in making newsprint from hemp hurds.

Turn-of-the-century newspaper barons needed huge amounts of paper to deliver their swelling circulations. Nearly 30 percent of the four million tons of paper manufactured in 1 909 was newsprint; by 1914 the circulation of daily newspapers had increased by 17% over 1909 figures to over 28 million copies.1

1. World Almanac, 1914, p. 235; 1917

By 1917, the price of newsprint was rapidly rising, and McRae, who had been investigating owning a paper mill since 1904,2 was concerned.

2. Forty years in Newspaperdom, Milton McRae, 1924 Bretano’s NY

Sowing the Seed s

In May, after further meetings with Timken, Scripps asked McRae to investigate the possibility of using the decorticator in the manufacture of newsprint.

McRae quickly became excited about the pla n. He called the decorticator “a great invention...[which] will not only render great service to this country, but it will be very profitable financially...[it] may revolutionize existing conditions.” On August 3rd, as harvest time neared, a mee ting was arranged between Schlichten, McRae, and newspaper manager Ed Chase.

Without Schlichten’s knowledge, McRae had his secretary record the three-hour meeting stenographically. The resulting document, the only record of Schli chten’s voluminous knowledge found to date, is reprinted fully in Appendix I of the paper version of this book.

Schlichten had thoroughly studied many kinds of plants for paper, among them corn, cotton, yucca, and Espana baccata. Hemp seemed to be his favorite:

“The hemp hurd is a practical success and will make paper of a higher quality than ordinary news stock,” he said.

His hemp paper was even better than that produced for US DA Bulletin 404, he claimed, because the decorticator eliminated the retting process, leaving behind short fibers and a natural glue that held the paper together.

At 1917 levels of hemp production Schlichten anticipated making 50,000 tons of paper yearly at a retail price of $25 a ton. This was less than 50% of the price of newsprint at the time! And every acre of hemp turned to paper, Schlichten added, would preserve five acres of forest.

McRae was very impressed by Schlichten. The man who dined with presidents and captains of industry wrote to Timken, “I was to say without equivocation that Mr. Schlichten impressed me as being a man of great intellectuality and ability; and so far as I can see, he has creat ed and constructed a wonderful machine.” He assigned Chase to spend as much time as he could with Schlichten and prepare a report.

Harvest Time

By August, aft er only three months of growth, Timken’s hemp crop had grown to its full height — 14 feet! — and he was highly optimistic about its prospects. He hoped to travel to California to watch the crop being decorticated, seeing himself as a benefa ctor to mankind who would enable people to work shorter hours and have more time for “spiritual development.”

Scripps, on the other hand, was not in an optimistic frame of mind. He had lost faith in a government that he beli eved was leading the country to financial ruin over the war, and that would take 40% of his profits in income tax. In an August 14 letter to his sister, Ellen, he said:

“When Mr. McRae was talking to me about the increase in the price of white paper that was pending, I told him I was just fool enough not to be worried about a thing of that kind.” The price of paper was expected to rise 50%, costing Scripps his entire year’s profit of $1,125,00! Rather than develop a new technology, he took the easy way out: The Penny Press Lord simply planned to raise the price of his papers from one cent to two cents.

The Demise

On August 28, Ed Chase sent his full report to Scripps and McRae. The younger man also was taken with the process: “I have seen a wonderful, yet simple, invention. I believe it will revolutionize many of the processes of feeding, clothing, and supplying other wants o f mankind.”

Chase witnessed the decorticator produce seven tons of hemp hurds in two days. At full production, Schlichten anticipated each machine would produce five tons per day. Chase figured hemp could easily supply Scripps 46; west coast papers, with leftover pulp for side businesses. He estimated the newsprint would cost between $25 an $35 a ton, and proposed asking an east-coast paper mill to experiment for them.

McRae, however, seems to have gotten t he message that his boss was no longer very interested in making paper from hemp. His response to Chase’s report is cautions: “Much will be determined as to the practicability by the cost of transportation, manufacture, etc., etc., which we cann ot ascertain without due investigation.” Perhaps when his ideals met with the hard work of developing them, the semi-retired McRae backed off.

By September, Timken’s crop was producing one ton of fibre and four tons of hurds per acre, and he was trying to interest Scripps in opening a paper mill in San Diego. McRae and Chase traveled to Cleveland and spent two hours convincing Timken that, while hemp hurds were usable for other types of paper, they could not be made into n ewsprint cheaply enough. Perhaps the eastern mill at which they experimented wasn’t encouraging-after all, they were set up to make wood pulp paper.

By this time Timken, too, was hurt by the wartime economy. He expected to pay 54 % income tax and was trying to borrow $2 million at 10% interest to retool for war machines. The man who a few weeks earlier could not wait to get to California no longer expected to go West at all that winter. He told McRae, “I think I will be too d amn busy in this section of the country looking after business.”

The decorticator resurfaced in the thirties, when it was touted as the machine that would make hemp a “Billion Dollar Crop” in articles in Mechanical Engi neering and Popular Mechanics.* (Until this edition of The Emperor, the decorticator was believed to be a new discovery at that time.) Once again, the burgeoning hemp industry was halted, this time by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

*S ee pp. 16-20.

—Ellen Komp

A full account of the story, with reproductions of the letters that reveal it,3 is in the Appendix of the paper version of this book.

3. Scripps Archives Universi ty of Ohio, Athens, OH; and Ellen Browing Scripps Archives, Denison Library, Claremont College, Claremont, CA


1. World Almanac, 1914, p. 235; 1917

2. Forty years in Newspaperdom, Mil ton McRae, 1924 Bretano’s NY

3. Scripps Archives University of Ohio, Athens, OH; and Ellen Browing Scripps Archives, Denison Library, Claremont College, Claremont, CA

Reprinted text of beginning of the l etter:

San Diego, Calif.,

August 28, 1917

Mr. E.W. Scripps

Mr. Milton A. McRae


I have spent many hours with G. W. Schlichten, the inventor of the decorticating machine. Friday and Saturday last I spent with him at the Timken Ranch in Imperial Valley, while a portion of his first crop of hemp was run through his machine. I have seen a wonderful, yet simple, invention. I believe it will revolutionize many of the processes of feeding, clothing and supplying other wants of mankind.

Heretofore, before the fiber could be extracted from hemp, the hemp st alks had to lie on the ground for months to be “retted.” The fiber is then extracted by hand of by certain crude machines. To make a long story short, the fiber from retted hemp is of poorer quality as to strength and so expensive to get into proper shape, that Kentucky hemp is quoted in the Fiber Trade Journals as 16 per lb. ($320.00 per ton).

The fiber having been extracted from hemp, the residue consists chiefly of “hurds.” Hemp hurds are the woody, inner p ortion of the hemp stalk broken into pieces in removing the fiber. The old machines, handling retted hemp, turn out only small amounts of fiber and small and scattered heaps of hurds. Only about seven thousand tons of these hurds have been available in t he United

—end of extract from letter—

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