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Fiber Wars: The Extinction of Kentucky Hemp

Posted on January 1, 1994

Shocks of Hemp

Table Of Contents

  1. Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time
  2. Chapter 2: Plant Fibers in History
  3. Chapter 3: Domestic Bast Fibers
  4. Chapter 4: The Economy of Cotton
  5. Chapter 5: Hemp’s Progress
  6. Chapter 6: The Twenties and the Rise of Chemurgy
  7. Chapter 7: The New Deal
  8. Chapter 8: Hemp Under Attack
  9. Chapter 9: Denouement
  10. Chapter 10: The Extinction of Kentucky Hemp


Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time

The scene is a dairy farm in east-central Wisconsin, August 21, 1993. On its fifth pass over the farm, the helicopter comes in low and hovers. The farmer’s terrified, triple-A, artificially-inseminated cow tries to leap the fence, breaks her leg and in three days is dead, calf lost. The newspaper report explains that “Local authorities have been using the National Guard helicopters in the area to search for wild marijuana patches.” According to their press release, the Wisconsin Department of Narcotic Enforcement’s Project CEASE removed 9.3 million hemp plants in 1993 in Wisconsin. ‘Hemp,’ they explain, “is the plant from which marijuana is extracted.”1

Since 1983, when the program first began, CEASE has employed Sheriff’s deputies, the US Army Reserves, National Guard and law officers of the Wisconsin State Division of Narcotics Enforcement to search and destroy ‘wild marijuana:’ 3 tons in ’83; 22 in ’84; 41 in ’85; 104 in ’86; 165 in ’87; 113.7 in ’88 (estimated, ‘conservatively,’ to be worth $113.3 million on the illegal market).2 More recently, plant counts rather than tonnage have been reported: 9.3 million plants pulled up in 1993.

Hemp, cannabis, is a pariah. Plant breeders could contribute some factual information to the discussion of the variation that exists within the genusCannabis, but researchers in the United States find it virtually impossible to obtain permit number 225 issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration and required to legally grow and conduct research on any cannabis3 plant. The loops through which one must jump to obtain this permit are sufficient to dissuade and obstruct those who try. Ironically, the state where the cow fell victim to the War on Drugs was once the number one producer of hemp.4 And nobody smoked it.

There is a lesion in our national memory banks regarding the role of this plant in our history.5 How do we reconcile the heinous character of this plant with the fact that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were dedicated hemp farmers? (The former said, ‘Sow it everywhere’ and the latter invented a hemp brake.) How is it that hemp was safe enough to be used as legal tender in colonial times, yet the curators of the Smithsonian Institute found it necessary to remove all reference to hemp from their displays?

Hemp is the common name for the fiber-yielding plant botanists call Cannabis sativa. ‘Cannabis’ and ‘canvas’ have the same etymological root. A sense of the significance of Cannabis to human culture and its geographic distribution can be gleaned from the linguistic record (Table 1).

anascha – Russia kendir – Tartar
bangi – Congo khanchha – Cambodia
bhang – India kif – North Africa
bhanga – Sanskrit konop – Bulgaria
canaib – Ireland konope – Poland
canarno – Portugal Spain konoplja – Russia
canape – Italy liamba – Brazil
canna – Persia maconha – Brazil
cannapis – Rumania majum – North Africa, India
chanvre – France marihuana – Mexico, America
charas – India intsangu – South Africa
dagga – South Africa kanapes – Lithuania
dawamesk – Algeria kanas – Brittany
diamba – Brazil kanbun – Chaldean
djamba – South Africa kanebosm – Hebrew
esrar – Turkey, Persia kanebusma – Aramaic
ganja – India kanep – Albania
ganga – Malaya karmab – Arabia
ganjika – Sanskrit kannabis – Greek
grifa – Spain, Mexico kanopia – Czechoslovakia
haenep – Old English matakwane – Sotho (South Africa)
hamp – Denmark mbangi – Tanzania
hampa – Sweden momea – Tibet
hampr – Finland nsangu – Zulu (Africa)
hanf – Germany qunubu – Assyrian
hanpr – Norway so-la-ra-dsa – Tibet
haschisch – France suruma – Ronga (Africa)
hashish – Africa, Asia takrouri – Tunisia
hemp – Great Britain umya – Xhosa (Africa)
hennep – Holland
herbe – France

Table 1: Linguistic equivalents for Cannabis in the world’s languages. Note that many languages have two words, signifying a recognition of the different functional types of Cannabis.6

Hemp canvas covered the Pioneer’s Conestoga wagons later to be turned into Levi’s new kind of trouser. Hemp was to navies what titanium is to modern military technology. Napoleon invaded Russia to cut off England’s access to Russian hemp upon which the British navy depended. The USS Constitution used sixty tons of hemp in its riggings and sails. Because of its strategic importance, there were laws both in England and the colonies at various times requiring the cultivation of hemp. Hemp fiber is slower to rot, making it the fiber of choice for maritime cordage. In fact, hemp has been the premier cordage fiber for cultures in the northern latitudes throughout most of history; ‘hemp’ was often used generically for fiber from any source.7

What is the truth about hemp? And why is it growing wild all over Wisconsin and other states and under attack by helicopter? How did this plant, so valued by the Founding Fathers, become an outcast, a pariah?

The real story of hemp is not a story of drugs. It is a tale of competition for markets and it captures in its telling all the significant cross currents of the Industrial Age.


Chapter 2: Plant Fibers in History

Today, people more frequently think of diet when they think of fiber. Yet, historically, their manifold functions in daily human activity made agriculturally produced plant fibers the foundation of economies from field to factory and gave them a central role in international relations. European powers rose and fell with the vagaries of the fabric trade. The looms of Antwerp and Bruges ran on Flemish flax and English wool. In the 1700’s, an upstart East Indian fiber made from seed hair threatened the British wool industry. Laws were passed banning its importation. Protectionism would not prevail, however, since the British East India Company stood to gain so much from the new fiber. Bertha Dodge in her historical monograph, Cotton: The Plant That Would Be King, explains that “By 1719, this industry had grown to such proportions that the woolen interests, through Parliament, again tried to have the importation of raw cotton interdicted, this time meeting with no success whatever.”8 Cotton became a world power,9 and is credited as the single greatest force in the early economic development of the US:

While the immigration of people and particularly capital into the United States played an important part in our growth in the thirty years after 1815, it was the growth of the cotton textile industry and the demand for cotton which was decisive… The vicissitudes of the cotton trade-speculative expansion of 1818, the radical decline in prices in the 1820’s and the boom in the 1830’s-were the most important influence upon the varying rates of growth of the economy during the period… The demands for western foodstuffs and northeastern services and manufactures were basically dependent upon the income received from the cotton trade.10

Before cotton entered the arena, linen from flax had been the highest valued fabric, its usage tracing into prehistory. Flax lost its preeminence when a series of mechanical inventions shifted the economics of cotton fabric production, and commenced the industrial revolution. The fly-shuttle, invented by John Kay in 1733, speeded up the looms, increasing the demand for thread, a demand met by the invention of the spinning jenny by John Wyatt in 1738. These tools could be concatenated and driven by water or steam in the new, centralized work environment, the factory. Whitney’s cotton gin appeared in the 1790’s after which the raw cotton to supply the needs of English factories came increasingly from the American South. “The ten bales reaching England in 1784 from the new United States… had become about one-third of a million bales by 1820, over two and a half million by 1860.”11 Whitney’s machine, by mechanizing the delinting of Upland cotton, the American variety, engendered the slave-based plantation system needed for labor-intensive cotton agriculture.

The changes in cotton manufacture transformed fiber economics. Cotton quickly took over markets previously dominated by flax, and to a lesser degree by hemp, in the US and Europe. By 1850, flax culture had nearly disappeared in the US. It had long endured as a cottage industry, each rural household having its own small plot for domestic use.

“From a series of papers written between 1787 and 1791, by Mr. Tench Coxe, Commissioner of Revenue…, it appears that manufactures from flax and hemp had become an established and very important [cottage] industry; he enumerates, among articles ‘manufactured in a household way,’ seines and nets of various kinds, twine and pack thread, sail-cloth, tow-cloth, white and checked shirting, sheeting, toweling, table-linen, bed-ticks, hosiery, sewing thread, and seine-thread lace.”12

A coarse fabric, “tow-cloth,” made from hemp was used for summer clothing, but “It is doubtful if American hemp will ever again be used for such purposes, not so much because flax linen is a better product, but because the cheapness of cotton has enabled this fiber to supersede both hemp and flax in common manufactures in the domestic economy.”13


Chapter 3: Domestic Bast Fibers

Flax, hemp, jute and ramie are ‘soft’ bast fibers, fiber found in the stem of the plant. Jute is produced in the humid tropics. Ramie, a perennial nettle, although highly researched by the USDA, never became an established crop due to its recalcitrant degumming requirement.

Hemp fiber bundles are longer than those of flax, but flax fiber generally contains less lignin and is therefore more flexible and makes a finer fabric. The characteristics of these two fibers overlap and the best hemp can be superior to flax for fine fabric. Hemp is generally stronger than flax and both are stronger than jute. Hemp has been reported to yield twice the fiber of flax from an acre of land,14 but such comparisons are problematic. The yield, strength and quality of either fiber are highly dependent on the seed variety, the conditions of growth, time of harvest and manner of retting and other post-harvest handling.

The commercial hemp fiber ranges from 40 to 80 inches in length. The individual cellular fibers, which are organized in bundles to make the long, macroscopic fiber, vary from 0.19 to 2.16 inch in length and from 16 to 50 microns in diameter. Flax fiber length ranges from 6 to 40 inches, the cells from 0.43 to 1.49 inch in length and 11 to 20 micron in diameter.15

The production of high quality natural fibers is as much art as science. Since antiquity, bast fibers have been obtained by ‘retting’ and ‘breaking’ the stem. Retting (rotting) is the microbial decomposition of the pectins which bind the fibers to the woody inner core of the plant stem.16 In the US, retting has traditionally been accomplished by letting the cut stems lie in the field for a few weeks in the damp fall. Retting can also be done in pools or running water, which produces higher quality, lighter colored fiber, but can also create an odor and pollution problem from anaerobic decomposition. In Russia, some areas ret in the snow. The finest grades of hemp, such as the Italian, were produced by water-retting. The US Navy preferred water-retted hemp for its riggings:

The Federal Government in 1841 authorized a bounty, which allowed for the payment of not more than $280 per ton for American water-retted hemp, provided it was suitable for naval cordage. Many of the planters prepared large pools and water-retted the hemp they produced. But the work was so hard on Negroes that the practice was abandoned. Many Negroes died of pneumonia contracted from working in the hemp-pools in the winter, and the mortality became so great among hemp hands that the increase in value of the hemp did not equal the loss in Negroes.17

Water-retting never caught on in the US.

After retting, the fiber is separated from the woody inner core (hurds or shives) by ‘breaking,’ described as one of the hardest jobs known to man, hence, Thomas Jefferson’s effort at bringing a degree of mechanical advantage to it. In 1896, Charles Dodge of the USDA Office of Fiber Investigations mentions that “nearly 300 patents have been issued in the United States for machines for breaking hemp, many of which have proved absolute failures….”18

The hurds are cleaned from the fiber by ‘scutching’ and the fiber is further refined by ‘hackling’ before being spun into twine and rope.

Flax and hemp, although botanically unrelated, have many characteristics in common. Without microscopic or chemical examination, their fibers can only be distinguished by the direction in which the they twist upon wetting: hemp will rotate counterclockwise; flax, clockwise. Flax is a dual usage crop, with linen varieties grown for their stem fiber, and other varieties for the oil in their seed. This is also true of hemp. Both plants produce very similar drying oils in their seed, oils with a high percentage of linolenic acid, used until mid-century in paints. The oils are also valued for nutritional and even medicinal qualities.19 Whereas linseed oil became a major industry, an industry based on hempseed oil was never firmly established in the US.20

Flax was called the ‘Pioneer plant’ because it was the first crop grown on cleared land. However, it did not do well if grown successively on the same land. As a result, flax moved west with the Pioneer migration to Minnesota, North Dakota and the Canadian plains for the oilseed types, and to Michigan and Oregon for the fiber types. The decline in productivity when flax was grown repeatedly led to the belief that flax was ‘hard’ on the soil, and it was not recommended to be grown more than once in ten years on the same land. Eventually, it was demonstrated that the poor performance was due to a Fusarium fungus that persisted in the soil and caused plants to wilt. Flax’s struggle with a host of pathogens limited its progress. Today, the shortest recommended rotation for flax is four years.

Weed control in flax was also a problem. Hemp was sometimes grown the year prior to a flax crop because it left the land free of weeds and in good condition. Hemp, it was said, was ‘good’ to the soil because it could be grown successively and improved the soil with its penetrating taproot. Although hemp demands substantial nutrition for growth, it has been estimated that greater than two-thirds of the nutrients used is returned to the soil when the crop is dew-retted.21

Additionally, hemp has often been grown for many seasons successively without deleterious impact on the soil. In fact, this is done on occasion to improve the soil tilth and clean land of weeds.

When cotton emerged as the dominant textile fiber, it competed more directly with flax than with hemp, as flax had been used for fine fabric and, “The cotton industry had considerable interest in hemp, since it was manufactured locally into baling cloth, rope and clothing for Negroes.”22 But having been displaced by cotton as fabric, flax of coarser grade pursued hemp’s non-maritime markets. Until 1872, a duty on imported jute protected the domestic flax and hemp industries. Its repeal that year was a concession to eastern manufacturing interests that opened the door to a cheaper raw material for bagging and set back the struggling domestic fiber industry. One flax worker saw it this way:

So a conflict rages between jute and flax, and so evenly balanced are the forces, that flax is able to compete for a portion of the cotton baling; yet jute has a slight preponderance, perhaps altogether due to the advantage of larger capital, and better organization and division of labor, and therefore jute manufacture is successful, and flax milling comparatively depressed. It is a conflict between the seaboard and the interior; between the heavy manufacturer on the one side, and the small manufacturer and farmer on the other.23

Today, we have lost sensitivity to the subtlety of natural fibers. But their differences and suitability for specific uses were an aspect of daily life to our ancestors. Since the time of George Washington, the government had tried to encourage domestic coarse fiber industries for baling cloth, twines, and cordage. Tariffs protecting the hemp industry were passed in 1789, 1816 and 1861.24 Hemp was a strategic material required for the shrouds, cables and sails of ships. However, most of the hemp used by the Navy was imported from Italy and Russia. For most of its history, the domestic crop’s principal usage was for baling cloth to cover cotton bales. American hemp was dew-retted and therefore coarser than the European water-retted fiber. As much as five percent of the weight of a cotton bale was hemp.

In 1824, domestic hemp was pitted against Russian hemp by rigging the USS Constitution on one side with American and the other with Russian grown hemp, “and after being thus worn for nearly a year, it was found, on examination, that the Russian rope, in every instance, after being much worn, looked better and wore more equally and evenly than the American.” But the commander said, “the difference between them was not so great as to warrant a declaration that the proof was conclusive in favor of the Russian….”25

Imported hemp continued to be favored by the Navy and domestic hemp was used only for twines and as oakum for caulking ships.26 Today, aficionados of ship restoration insist on authentic hemp oakum, witness the Alysha in Galveston harbor.

In 1878, New Jersey offered a bounty of $6.00 extra per ton of hemp stalks, $7.00 per ton for flax and $10.00 for ramie. But without tariff protection, the labor requirement for these fibers put them at a disadvantage against fibers produced using cheap labor in the tropics. Manila hemp, abacá, from a relative of the banana, took hemp’s maritime markets. Rope made of this fiber did not require tarring, floated on water and was cheaper. By 1911, the nation was spending $16,000,000 importing tropical fibers. This drain on the economy had been recognized early on and in response the USDA ran several programs to promote domestic fibers and offered prizes for mechanizations.

Unable to compete with cotton, fiber flax production declined. But oilseed flax culture expanded. Due to chemical properties bestowed by its fatty acid composition, linseed oil was the principal ingredient of paints, varnishes and, after its invention by Frederick Walton in 1863, linoleum. The straw leftover from the oilseed crop yielded an inferior, coarse fiber that was usually burned. The flax industry needed an outlet for this byproduct: “With a present demand for 35,000,000 yards of bagging for cotton, while flax-fiber enough to produce it is thrown away, the effort to extend the production of flax bagging would seem to be worth official consideration.”27

Displaced by cotton, in going after the baling cloth market, flax was displacing hemp, as was cheap jute:

At a time when the country was producing 75,000 tons of hemp fiber, jute was little known in the American market, and this vast product was utilized in the manufacture of bagging and burlaps, the better qualities being employed for cordage. It is doubtful if hemp fiber can be produced sufficiently cheap to compete with jute butts at one and one-half cents per pound, but its larger employment in cordage manufacture would extend its culture, and enable it to recover a part, at least, of the ground it has lost as an American fiber industry. A rough product that could be cheaply produced would be sufficiently good for binding-twine manufacture, and the same quality of fiber could be employed with advantage in the production of cheaper grades of small cordage that are now made from imported jute, because of its [hemp’s] superior strength and less liability to deterioration when stored unused for any length of time. More carefully cultivated and prepared it could compete with the hemps of other countries in the manufacture of the finer grades of cordage and with more careful retting, in water, it might be again woven into fabrics.28

The suitability of the fiber from oilseed flax varieties was a matter of some debate. According to some, “It is futile to expect that fiber and seed can be produced from the same crop.”29 The Office of Fiber Investigations agreed, in 1893: “Seed culture and fiber culture are so distinctly different that the farmer who essays to grow fiber by the same methods he employs in growing seed can only make an ignominious failure and he will do well to avoid the experiment.”30 Yet the market was there, materials were being imported, and the linseed indusry had a coarse byproduct suitable for burlap. The Flax and Hemp Spinners and Growers Association president, A. R. Turner, was optimistic: “it seems a safe statement to make that it is possible to preserve all the fiber from flax even though it may be sown primarily for seed.”31

But flax fiber from the oilseed crop, as it came to the spinners, was of low quality and often dirty. As a byproduct, the quality of the fiber was given no priority and the method of harvest for seed left the stems tangled and soiled. Cotton producers did not care for it. In 1879, it was reported that the “New York Cotton Board will receive no cotton whatever baled with flax bagging, giving as a reason that flax bagging is so dirty it makes a difference in the price of the cotton.”32

For fiber from oilseed flax to find a market, several technological developments were needed: “The special classes of improved machines demanded by this industry, in establishing an American practice, are (1) a flax-pulling machine to do away with the laborious and costly hand pulling; (2) an economical thresher, to save the seed without injury to the straw; and (3) an improved scutching machine to prepare the fiber for market.”33

Similar technological developments were targeted for hemp, which the USDA was advancing aggressively. In fact, hemp yielded to mechanization more rapidly. In 1905, a mechanical hemp brake was “the first machine having sufficient capacity to be commercially practical that has cleaned bast fiber in an entirely satisfactory manner.”34


Chapter 4: The Economy of Cotton

Meanwhile, on other fronts, cotton was not doing so well. After the Civil War destroyed the foundation of southern agriculture, the plantation, the South was led, inexorably, to a debilitating economic dependence on cotton monoculture. Gilbert C. Fite, in his book Cotton Fields No More, has presented a detailed chronicle of the role of cotton in the agrarian society that replaced the plantation-sharecropping on small, tenant farms:

Southern farmers… became ‘trapped’ in a cotton economy. Without land or equipment the newly freed blacks, and many whites as well, sold their labor in exchange for a share of the crop which they produced on credit. This system increased the cost of nearly everything they consumed and fastened a yoke of permanent and oppressive debt upon hundreds of thousands of farmers, both white and black…

To most southern farmers in the 1880s and 1890s, cotton seemed to provide the best, and perhaps the only, means of acquiring [consumer] goods…

So farmers produced cotton, even though increased production periodically depressed prices and encouraged them to raise even more cotton in hopes of gaining needed cash or credit. The result was low net incomes and low standards of living…

Moreover, the entire credit structure had been built on the production of cotton. Money was advanced to growers on the crop, and it was the only collateral accepted by most merchants and landowners.”35

As a result, Fite explains, “the living standard of so many farmers in the South was not a relative matter but one of absolute poverty.”36 Attempts to promote the diversification of southern agriculture were unsuccessful due, Fite says, to “the reluctance of planters to let their sharecroppers and tenants grow any commercial crop other than cotton.”37 Cotton was ‘good as cash’ and sharecropping created an insatiable need for it. Furthermore, the extreme social stratification that had characterized the South before the war persisted with sharecropping. “If the 40,000 to 50,000 large farmers and planters, making up only between 2 and 3 percent of all farmers in the South, enjoyed a fairly comfortable existence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, most of the others faced extremely hard times.”38

The USDA worked to change southern agriculture with programs emphasizing diversification. Fibers were given considerable attention: “There are several fiber plants, concerning which further authoritative information is most desirable, as their production or utilization will open up new industries, particularly in the South, where there is such a need of diversity in agricultural production.”39

Where cotton reigned, these efforts met with little success and much resistance.


Chapter 5: Hemp’s Progress

While the South’s cotton economy struggled, following the Civil War, hemp culture spread, with active federal assistance, north into Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, New York, Minnesota and eventually to Wisconsin, west to Nebraska and California, and also, briefly, south. In his pastoral account of post-bellum life in the hemp growing region of Kentucky, James L. Allan recalls that “…the long interruption of agriculture in the South had resulted in scarcity of cotton; so that the earnest cry came to Kentucky for hemp at once to take many of its places.”40

Flax fiber also enjoyed a short resurgence. Both fibers were promoted by the USDA’s Office of Fiber Investigations, established in 1890. Its first Director, Charles Dodge asserted “There is no reason why hemp culture should not extend over a dozen States and the product used in manufactures which now employ thousands of tons of imported fibers.”41

In 1895, Dodge mentions that “In the past two years there has been an increasing demand for information relating to hemp culture, and experiments looking to its production have been carried on in localities where previously its culture was unknown, notably in extreme Southern States, which are large cotton producers.”42 In 1901, the report tells that “During the past two years hemp has been grown successfully on a small scale near Houston, Texas, and with improved methods of handling the crop it seems probable that it may become a profitable industry in that region.”43

Hemp growing in the South did not proceed, however. Hemp can be grown in southerly climes, but worldwide the greatest fiber production is in more northern latitudes, above the 30th parallel, in Russia, Hungary, China and Wisconsin. In contrast to cotton, a southern and even tropical fiber, hemp and flax tend to be temperate fibers. When grown in the South, it is as winter crops.

The hemp industry declined after the Civil War with the coming of the steamship, but a new impetus for increasing hemp production came with the invention of a binder for the harvest of wheat and other small grains. This machine required a strong binding-twine for which hemp was ideally suited.

Hemp’s success, Dodge’s Office of Fiber Investigations recognized, depended on mechanization of harvesting, breaking, scutching and hackling. In 1896, they “hoped before another year to bring together for the first time the promising hemp-cleaning devices that have been brought to public notice for an official trial.”44 In 1899, the USDA Yearbook states:

There is a reasonable prospect of establishing an extensive hemp industry in the United States on new lines, involving the use of either a taller variety or two crops of the short variety, growing the crop on large areas of cheap land, plowing deep, putting on the necessary fertilizers, reaping and breaking by machinery, and using the process of water-retting.45

And, in 1902, the Yearbook told how.

In Nebraska, where the [hemp] industry is being established, a new and important step has been taken in cutting the crop with an ordinary mowing machine. A simple attachment which bends the stalks over in the direction in which the machine is going facilitates the cutting… The cost of cutting hemp in this manner is 50 cents per acre, as compared with $3 to $4 per acre, the rates paid for cutting by hand in Kentucky.” 46

Hemp culture moved north under USDA auspices. It was first grown experimentally in Wisconsin in 1908. The results were so encouraging that they were repeated and expanded over the following decade. Hemp caught on rapidly among farmers who observed the experiments near Waupon, in east-central Wisconsin, and noticed that it cleaned the fields of weeds [See: Hemp as Weed Control].

Wisconsin Agriculture Experiment Station researcher Andrew Wright was given responsibility for promoting the growth of the industry. He reported on the progress in 1918:

When the work with hemp was begun in Wisconsin, there were no satisfactory machines for harvesting, spreading, binding, or breaking. All of these processes were performed by hand. Due to such methods, the hemp industry in the United States had all but disappeared. As it was realized from the very beginning of the work in Wisconsin that no permanent progress could be made so long as it was necessary to depend upon hand labor, immediate attention was given to solving the problem of power machinery. Nearly every kind of hemp machine was studied and tested. The obstacles were great, but through the cooperation of experienced hemp men and one large harvesting machinery company, this problem has been nearly solved. The hemp crop can now be handled entirely by machinery.47

The industry was off to a good start thanks primarily to the war demand that always stimulated trade in hemp. However, with the ending of the war, demand fell off and the industry realized it needed to organize for its self-promotion. The Wisconsin Hemp Order was formed on October 17, 1917, at Ripon, “to promote the general welfare of the hemp industry in the state.”48 The key to the industry’s growth was the organization of the central mill located with rail access. In 1921, the USDA reported that

The organized hemp growers of Wisconsin, working in cooperation with the field agent of fiber investigations [Andrew Wright], have so improved the quality and standardized the grades of hemp fiber produced there that it has found a market even in dull times. The hemp acreage in that State has been kept up, although there has been a reduction in every other hemp-producing area throughout the world.49

Mechanization and the mill organization quickly raised Wisconsin to the status of number-one hemp producing state. California also initiated hemp production and reported the highest yields: a ton of dew-retted fiber per acre.

The hemp variety grown was known generically as Kentucky hemp. The first hemp grown in the US was of European origin, but plant introductions from China were found to give better results for North American culture. In 1901, it was observed that “No horticultural varieties are recognized in this country. Nearly all of the hemp grown here in recent years is of Chinese origin.”50 To achieve satisfactory adaptation to the local growing environment, introduced foreign strains had to be grown “for at least three generations (three successive years) in the country where it is to be grown for fiber.”51

In an effort to support the industry in the face of foreign competition, the USDA ran an aggressive hemp breeding program under the direction of Lyster Dewey. Germplasm was collected from around the world,52 and breeding selection was initiated in 1912. Several types of hemp were recognized by their points of origin:

…that cultivated in Kentucky and having a hollow stem, being the most common. China hemp, with slender stems, growing very erect, has a wide range of culture. Smyrna hemp is adapted to cultivation over a still wider range and Japanese hemp is beginning to be cultivated, particularly in California, where it reaches a height of 15 feet. Russian and Italian seed have been experimented with, but the former produces a short stalk, while the latter only grows to a medium height. A small quantity of Piedmontese hemp seed from Italy was distributed by the Department in 1893, having been received through the Chicago Exposition….53

The hollow, fluted stem of the Kentucky landrace was a favored characteristic for good fiber hemp (Fig. 1). Dewey initiated his breeding program using the Kentucky type together with the internationally collected germplasm. Progress was steady:

Hemp stems

Figure 1. Hollow stem of non-fiber (left) vs. fiber Cannabis. From Small, 197958

1917: “The crop of hempseed last fall, estimated at about 45,000 bushels, is the largest produced in the United States since 1859. A very large proportion of it was from improved strains developed by this bureau in the hempseed selection plats at Arlington and Yarrow Farms.”54

1918: “Early maturing varieties, chiefly of Italian origin, are being grown at Madison, Wisconsin, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station. This is the third year of selection for some varieties, and the results give promise of the successful production in that State of seed of hemp fully equal to the Ferrara of northern Italy. ”55

1919: “The second-generation hybrid Ferramington, combining the height and long internodes of Kymington with the earliness and heavy seed yield of Ferrara, gives promise of a good fiber type of hemp that may ripen seed as far north as Wisconsin.”56

1920: “The work of breeding improved strains of hemp is being continued at Arlington Farm, Va., and all previous records were broken in the selection plats of 1919. The three best strains, Kymington, Chington and Tochimington, averaged, respectively, 14 feet 11 inches, 15 feet 5 inches, and 15 feet 9 inches, while the tallest individual plant was 19 feet. The improvement by selection is shown not alone in increased height but also in longer internodes, yielding fiber of better quality and increased quantity.”57

In 1928, Wisconsin saved the Kentucky germplasm when the seed crop in Kentucky was lost due to weather conditions:

An exceptional flood of the Kentucky River in June and early July, 1928, destroyed nearly all of the seedhemp crop. Fortunately, Wisconsin hemp growers had seed left over from previous years, but studies on hempseed germination conducted in 1927-8 indicated that most of the seed more than 3 years old germinated very poorly.59

Wright was concerned about the dependency of the Wisconsin industry on seed from Kentucky because the available varieties did not mature seed as far north as Wisconsin. The variety ‘Ferramington,’ coming from a cross between the fine, flaxen hemp of northern Italy, and varieties of the Chinese type, showed promise for seed production in Wisconsin. Of Ferramington, Dewey wrote, it “has been tried in Wisconsin, where it gave a very good crop nearly two weeks earlier than the main hemp harvest.”60 Another early maturing variety, Kymington, was bred from the Minnesota hemp variety known as ‘Minnesota 8.’

Since the fiber crop was cut before seed matured, raising hemp for fiber was a separate operation from seed production. A symbiosis developed between Kentucky seed producers in their southern location, and the Wisconsin fiber producers in the North. Seed from Kentucky continued to supply the Wisconsin industry until its demise in 1958.

While hemp was expanding and mechanizing, fiber flax was in decline. A fiber industry was established in Michigan in 1880 by James Livingston who later expanded it to Oregon. But the spinning of flax into thread for fabric ceased around 1920 after which the fiber was used primarily for upholstery tow.61 The constant problem for flax was susceptibility to a variety of diseases, including races of wilt, canker, rust and blights. “The story of flax improvement centers primarily about the successful battle against diseases that threatened to wipe out the industry completely.”62

Flax contributed greatly to the sciences of plant breeding and plant pathology as efforts were brought to bear on the disease problem. Eminent pathologists, like E. C. Stakman at the University of Minnesota, honed their science on the disease problems of flax. A great feat of plant breeding and genetics is commemorated by ‘Plot 30,’ preserved at North Dakota State University in Fargo, where a technique for breeding disease resistance into crops was first demonstrated. Although elite varieties with resistance to flax wilt were bred by H. L. Bolley at the turn of the century, the linseed industry declined as markets were taken by petroleum-based materials.63

The USDA investigated other uses for hemp and flax in an effort to bolster the industries in the face of competition from imported tropical fibers. Both fibers had long been used for paper: bibles are often printed on hemp paper because of its light weight, strength and durability. Efforts at using byproduct flax straw met with mixed results. “Flax straw was found to cook with great difficulty, to require a very high percentage of bleach, and to screen badly, but could possibly be used for cheap wrappers.”64 But in time, once the technological hurdles were worked out, byproduct flax straw came to supply a significant cigarette paper industry in Minnesota.

In 1916, a USDA bulletin showed that a byproduct of hemp fiber production, the hurds, which were burned as the fuel source in the hemp mills, could also be turned into paper.65 They reported in 1917 that:

Because of the scarcity of raw materials for paper making and the increasing tonnage of hemp hurds, the matter was placed before a large paper company, with the result that the entire year’s output of a hemp-breaking mill has been contracted for by a commercial firm.66

Recently, Donald Wirtshafter, hemp activist, lawyer and founder of The Ohio Hempery, Inc., has discovered more about this experiment. Among the archives of the Scripps newspaper family a remarkable 1917 correspondence from a Mr. Ed Chase to E. W. Scripps regarding an invention of one G. W. Schlichten.67 Schlichten invented a hemp decorticating machine. His decorticating machine was able to separate the fiber from the hurds of unretted stems. The resulting fiber had higher quality and brighter color than dew-retted fiber. Chase has this to say: “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.” The cost of Schlichten’s operation located at the Timken Ranch in California’s Imperial Valley was detailed:

One of Schlichten’s machine’s will produce per day (two shifts of eight hours each), as follows:
Two tons of fiber worth about $600.00
Five tons of hurds worth about 27.50
One ton tops, leaves, etc. worth about 5.50
Total $633.00

Chase goes on to explain the value of this invention to his employer, Scripps:


FIRST: We make paper from an annual and thus help to preserve the forests, the streams and the soils.

SECOND: We make paper at lower cost than is possible from wood, for the following reasons:

A. Wood must have the bark, knots, etc., removed. The hurds are ready for the digester, when, as a by-product, they leave the Schlichten machine.
B. …less caustic soda….
C. Sulphite must be mixed with ground wood pulp; but not with the pulp from these hurds.

Furthermore, hemp paper, Chase says, “is of better quality than newsprint stock.”

As optimistic as this report was, it apparently met with an impasse and was not pursued by Scripps. By the mid-Thirties, technological innovation which allowed the pulping of southern pines alleviated the pulp shortage. The pulping of forests surged and a new industry grew in the South. 68

Wisconsin’s hemp industry produced more hurds than were used in firing the boilers. In Wisconsin, excess hurds created a fire hazard and were given away to farmers for bedding.69 The hurds would become a greater issue as the organic chemistry industry discovered new uses for cellulose: cellophane, celluloid, etc. But this opportunity was never seized by the industry in Wisconsin.

The Twenties were the apex of the traditional fiber hemp industry in Wisconsin. Mills were operating on both the east and west sides of the state.70 Andrew Wright, who, together with Matt Rens, was responsible for much of the industry’s growth, could proudly point out that “Wisconsin has… more hemp mills than all other states combined.”71 The growth of the industry had come as a result of a concentrated effort at mechanization: “By the simple mechanical process of hackling, now being done by very efficient power-driven machines, hemp fiber is reduced to a condition closely resembling the coarser grades of flax and may be spun on flax-spinning machinery.”72

Little further progress in this direction was made, however. By 1931, with the nation in collapse, hemp was still pinched between cotton, flax and the tropical imports. Dewey felt that additional technological innovation could change that:

Owing partly to the resistant character of the fiber itself and partly to the lack of development of special machinery for spinning hemp, this fiber is not spun as efficiently and cheaply as cotton and jute. The average price per pound of scutched hemp fiber is nearly twice the average price of jute and less than the price of cotton, but hemp yarns are more expensive than those of cotton as well as jute.73

The needed technological innovation did not come as the Thirties loomed with forboding. The hemp industry in Wisconsin declined into an insignificant niche crop on the state’s east side with seed continuing to come from Kentucky.

The real changes were on other fronts.


Chapter 6: The Twenties and the Rise of Chemurgy

“The pernicious canker is the moneylending system, immutable as the stars of the firmament.” Billy Jay Hale would later say. And Wheeler McMillan informs, in the bible of the Chemurgic Movement, New Riches from the Soil:

The seeds of the depression of the nineteen thirties were planted in the war years of 1914-18. They sprouted in August, 1921. That was when country banks were ordered by the Federal Reserve Board not to renew their notes from ranchmen and farmers but to collect them, in full and at once.74

In the industrial centers, it was the Roaring Twenties. But for agriculture, a noose was tightening. It was especially bad in the South because of dependency on cotton monoculture. For cotton, the first decades of the twentieth century were a roller coaster ride of over production and low price. The South was trapped in an economic maze of small, tenant farms, insufficient mechanization, under capitalization and the surplus/low-price spiral of cotton monoculture.

Everywhere a major shift was taking place in agrarian life as a result of the replacement of agricultural by synthetic goods. The import-and-manufacture sides of the economy were exploding. But farmers were having trouble buying the new products. Government run by oligarchy failed to respond. “Well, farmers have never made money,” Calvin Coolidge said.75

The South’s condition was particularly aggravated since agriculture had not progressed in the South as it had in the North. According to the Census Bureau Report of 1900, average investment in farm implements and machinery were: Alabama, $39; North Carolina, $40; Georgia, $44; in contrast to: Kansas, $170; Nebraska, $205; Iowa, $253.76

Between 1855 and 1930 farmers in the corn belt had reduced the man-hours necessary to produce an acre of corn (about 40 bushels) from 33.6 to 6.9 hours. Even the most efficient cotton growers in Texas, who used more and bigger machinery, had only cut the man-hours for an acre of cotton from 148 to 72 in the same period. Thus, while corn growers had reduced man-hours by nearly four-fifths, cotton farmers had cut the needed labor by only one-half. And most cotton growers in the Southeast had not done nearly that well.77

The problem was that cotton did not easily adapt to mechanization. In 1903, a historian of the American cotton industry wrote:

Cotton harvesting machinery would be of incalculable value, but an efficient machine for picking cotton has yet to be invented. It is a difficult problem for the inventor, because picking cotton is something like gathering raspberries, and even American genius has boggled at it. There have been many fruitless efforts, but I am assured that there is not to-day in the United States a single machine with which any planter would even attempt to pick cotton.78

It was not just a matter of inventing machines to replace muscle power and increase the efficiency of the process:

Before complete mechanization of cotton production could occur, other changes were necessary. It was important, for example, to breed a cotton plant on which the bolls would develop higher on the stalk and open more evenly…. Chemicals were required to control weeds and to defoliate the cotton plant before harvest…. Entomologists and engineers needed to join efforts to develop proper pesticides….Before full mechanization of the cotton crop could be achieved, the combined contributions of engineers, chemists, fertilizer specialists, plant breeders, entomologists, agronomists and other scientists were necessary. Full mechanization also required some changes in farm organization throughout much of the cotton belt.79

In other words, they had, virtually, to start over with cotton. The development of insecticidal chemicals was particularly critical because the boll weevil had found its way from Mexico in the 1890s and had become the scourge of cotton growers.

Today, because of insect pests, cotton remains the most polluting, chemically-intensive agricultural crop grown by man.80

Since cotton was the basis of the economy of the South, and in spite of the need to reinvent the crop, it was to cotton that government efforts were directed as a means of moving the South out of its economic doldrums. As such, the USDA became increasingly an agency for southern economic development. Unfortunately, the agriculture programs exacerbated the problem by increasing yields when cotton surpluses were preventing an adequate price to growers. The situation had improved somewhat for a few years around 1910, but good cotton prices always resulted in maximum planting which resulted in surplus and price depression. The programs generally enhanced the fortunes of the large landowners who needed assistance the least.

Encouragement from the agricultural universities and the USDA for diversification away from cotton monoculture met resistance, in spite of major campaigns waged to persuade farmers to voluntarily reduce their cotton acreage in order to reduce the surplus. These efforts were largely unsuccessful: “The usual cry for reduction of cotton acreage will go up, but experience has proved that this cry will produce no results. Cotton raising is as firmly embedded in the system of the Southern ruralist as sea-faring is to the coast-dweller of New England.”81

Against this backdrop came a new specter, a new combatant in Fiber Wars. Synthetic polymers made from natural cellulose (first from cotton lint, later from wood pulp) were discovered in the late nineteenth century. By 1905, the first synthetic fiber, rayon, had appeared in England. DuPont introduced rayon fabric around 1917.

Rayon production in the United States increased from 10 to 380 million pounds between 1920 and 1939 and approximately doubled during the war period. By 1941, United States production of rayon was equivalent to 1,350,000 bales of cotton.82

In the 30 years after its appearance in the US, the number of filaments per 150 denier yarn would go from 12 to 225, “even finer than those spun by a silk worm.”83 Figure 2 illustrates the competition which rayon presented to cotton. Cost per pound of rayon filament yarn would go from $2.92 in 1920-21 to $0.55 in 1944. Rayon had another advantage: waste at the mill was one tenth that of cotton.84 Synthetic fibers pushed existing fiber domains against each other, as cotton had a century earlier.

Figure 2: Rayon and cotton prices, 1928-1945. Reproduced from Wilcox, 1947

The agricultural situation grew progressively worse during the twenties as the disparity between the cost of goods increased. Then the bottom fell out.

In 1930, hundreds of thousands of southern farmers began to skid from normal hard times to disastrous depression. If observers believed that life could not get worse than it already was for millions of rural residents in the South, they were badly mistaken. A decade of depression was beginning which forced living standards down well below poverty levels experienced for years by many southern farm families.85

Farm cooperatives and populist agrarian political organizations such as the Grange and the American Farm Bureau Federation had arisen to counter the immense political power of the moguls of finance and industry. These movements began in the North and West, among wheat and corn farmers. Benefiting by their example, southern cotton organizations86 had emerged which succeeded in placing elected officials in key positions:

After the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in 1930, Marvin Jones of Texas became chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Born on a cotton farm, Jones had escaped the poverty of the farm by studying law and going into politics…. In 1933 another southerner, Ellison D. “Cotton Ed” Smith, assumed the chairmanship of the Agriculture Committee in the Senate….He was a staunch supporter of legislation that would help cotton and tobacco growers. Another powerful southerner vitally interested in farm welfare was Senator John H. Bankhead of Alabama…. Besides serving on the Senate Agriculture Committee, he was also named to the important Banking and Currency Committee. The southern position was further strengthened in 1931 when Edward O’Neal, a northern Alabama planter, was elected president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s most powerful farm organization.87

Together, this political block was successful in structuring New Deal legislation to direct public money toward the South’s predicament. Ed O’Neal had built a coalition with corn and wheat interests to pressure Congress for legislation addressing the farm crisis. Enacted in 1933, the Agriculture Adjustment Act authorized payments to farmers for not planting seven basic commodity crops: “Three of these basic commodities-cotton, tobacco and rice-were among the South’s major commercial crops. While many officials did not consider tobacco a basic commodity, it was included in the bill because of strong political pressure from tobacco-state congressmen.”88

The objective of AAA was explained to cotton farmers in a USDA bulletin: surpluses would be controlled by reducing production, “so that cotton will have the same purchasing power with respect to articles that farmers buy which it had in the period from August 1909 to July 1914.”89The taxpayer would pay for the idled land (and still does). Through this and other New Deal legislation, money was redistributed to the South to promote its economic recovery.90 “By February, 1935 FERA [Federal Emergency Relief Administration] had made rehabilitation loans to 87,350 families of whom 93 percent were in the South.”91 However, the subsidy programs could not overcome the fundamental problem of low cotton prices and the concomitant poverty that resulted from complete economic dependence on one crop: “…between 1936 and 1939 government payments to farmers in…ten southern states rose from about $70 million to $304 million. Indeed, if it had not been for federal payments, southern farmers would have been worse off financially in 1939 than three years earlier.”92

Because landowners were paid to fallow their land, the burden was transferred to the predominantly black agricultural labor force which was put out of work. This population migrated to northern industrial cities, seeking jobs in the factories and creating the black urban underclass which would explode in the 1960s.

The increasing southern dominance of federal agriculture policy ensured that cotton would receive the research allocation it demanded. And so, in 1933, in a USDA restructuring, the Office of Fiber Investigations was made the Division of Cotton and Other Fibers, and Lyster Dewey’s hemp breeding program was terminated. Reporting before his retirement in 1935, Dewey makes his point, matter-of-factly:

The hemp breeding work, carried on by the Bureau for more than 20 years, was discontinued in 1933, but practical results are still evident in commercial fields. A hemp grower in Kentucky reported a yield of 1750 pounds per acre of clean, dew-retted fiber from 100 acres of the pedigreed variety Chinamington grown in 1934. This is more than twice the average yield obtained from ordinary unselected hemp seed.93

The program had been outstandingly successful but the crop was insignificant compared to the need to reinvent cotton for mechanical harvesting. Cotton drew the resources of the USDA, which was also having to divide its activities between agriculture and social welfare programs.94 Something had to give. Since hemp had the least acreage nationally, few problems, no diseases,95 no insect threats, most technological hurdles accomplished, there was no large infrastructure dedicated to it. Flax, on the other hand, was still an important oilseed crop-although synthetic materials would soon change that-with serious biological problems, and an influential trade organization, the Flax Institute of America.

The USDA flax program, under the direction of Arthur C. Dillman, was continued. But, “In spite of all the progress made by the plant scientists in developing improved strains of flax and their success in fighting plant diseases, the tremendous decline in flaxseed production during the depression years, 1931 to 1938, became a major problem for the [linseed oil] industry.”96

Many agricultural products had already met their demise in the chemical laboratory, beginning with natural dyes like indigo. Writing of the chemical revolution, William J. Hale was confident that,

The replacement of cotton and woolen garments by cloth of silk-like fibre [cellulose acetate, rayon] is proceeding at assured rates. Eventually both cotton and wool will meet their Waterloo as far as finest cloth is concerned. Thus the land given over to the cultivation of cotton and eventually that to the grazing of sheep is slowly but surely passing out of the picture.97

William (Billy) Hale and Wheeler McMillan were two men who noticed a contradiction between federal programs which on the one hand were improving yields, while on the other encouraging farmers not to plant their full acreage. They found a resolution of the dilemma in the new science of chemurgy, a term Hale coined for the bringing together of agricultural production and the organic chemical industry.

Hale, a biochemist, recognized the possibility of using agriculture carbohydrates, fats and proteins as the raw material for the rapidly expanding chemical industry. He was with Dow Chemical Company and the Dow family had its roots in agriculture. The catch-phrase was “Anything that can be made from a hydrocarbon, could be made from a carbohydrate. ” Hale and McMillan joined forces to promote the vision of farm products replacing imported oil, for fuels, lubricants and fiber. They quickly added powerful allies to their cause: Henry Ford and Francis Patrick Garvan.

In 1919, Garvan had the unique position of Alien Property Custodian. It was his job to deal with the patents of the German chemical industry seized after WW1. With backing from DuPont, Garvan formed an organization called the Chemical Foundation, Inc. which he headed and to which he sold the patents. Objections to this transfer went to the Supreme Court which upheld Garvan in 1926. The ideas of Hale and McMillan appealed to Garvan who used royalties from the patents to support the growing movement. Support also came from the Grange and the American Farm Bureau Federation, headed by Edward O’Neal. Hale’s book, The Farm Chemurgic, was sent to every Grange office.

Hale’s vision of chemurgy extended beyond the technical into all aspects of social organization. Among his proposals was a call for stronger tariffs, taxes on the wealthy, and a repeal of property taxes, which he saw as burdensome to agriculture. He aggressively attacked the oil industry, precociously pointing to the damaging effect of air pollution on lungs, and referred to the financial moguls of the day as “boobs” and “Antichrist.” Hale recognized that the chemical industry was taking markets from agriculture, as in the cotton and wool example, but cotton lint and wood were the prime sources of cellulose used in the manufacture of rayon. He felt the neglect of farms by a government controlled by bankers was at the root of the nation’s problems.

The cause celebre of the Chemurgy Movement was ethanol fuels made from the fermentation of grain. In his analysis of the their initial interaction, David Wright described the reception of the chemurgists by the USDA as enthusiastic.98 But heavy pressure was brought to bear through the agency of the American Petroleum Institute and mandates for ethanol mixes were defeated. As the New Deal took shape, the subsidy solution was favored as quicker and more expedient by Secretary of Agriculture, Henry Wallace, and the government acquiesced to the lobbying pressure of the petrochemical industry.


Chapter 7: The New Deal

The experience of the defeat of gasohol woke the chemurgists to the political realities they were facing and led to the formation of the National Farm Chemurgic Council in Dearborn, Michigan, in 1935. Funds came from Henry Ford, who provided facilities for the first conference; from Ed O’Neal’s American Farm Bureau Federation and from Garvan’s Chemical Society.

What was at stake was of fundamental significance. The battle determined the course the century would take regarding the primary source of fuels and raw material for industrial economies. The amassing political power of the agrarian portions of the country threatened legislation which would mandate the use of agricultural inputs in fuels. If that effort succeeded, other pro-agriculture legislation would surely follow including more mandates in favor of agricultural alternatives to petrochemicals. The stakes were enormous. Those who stood to lose resorted to any tactic, including such subterfuge as the Farmer’s Independence Council, an ostensibly pro-farm organization:

During the mid-thirties, [Farm Bureau Federation President, ‘Ed’] O’Neil blasted the Farmers’ Independence Council of America, which had been created by the Liberty League to fight the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, the foundation of price supports. A Senate investigation in 1936 found that financial backers of the Farmers’ Independence Council included Lamont du Pont ($5,000); Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., of General Motors; Winthrop A. Aldrich, Board Chairman of the Chase National Bank; Ogden Mills, former Secretary of the Treasury, Arthur Beeter, attorney for Swift & Company; and J. N. Pew, of the Sun Oil Company.

O’Neal branded these men “Wall Street hayseeds” in the Farm Bureau Newsletter of May 20, 1935. Later they were caricatured on the front page of the Newsletter (April 28, 1936) as “The Farmers in the Dell.” Pew, du Pont, Sloan and others were shown on Wall Street in overalls and top hats, entering the office of the Farmers’ Independence Council.

A pamphlet issued by the Council, which went out of existence soon after the Senate exposure, is of historical interest for two reasons: first, some of the same financial backers are still trying to influence farm policy…, and second, the phraseology of the pamphlet is similar to that of many of the organizations in which they still participate. The pamphlet, issued in 1935, was entitled “The Truth Shall Make You Free” and included:

“So this is the vital issue before the farmers of America today: Shall they in the future operate their farms as they think best or shall they do work under the direction of a federal bureaucracy with the power to regulate their lives, to levy overwhelming taxes and even to confiscate their property? Are they willing to surrender their freedom and rights as American citizens to a virtual dictatorship?”99

During this same period, stories were appearing in the popular press concerning marihuana, said to be the same as hemp. Among African-American, Hispanic and South Asian minorities, the use of cannabis genotypes that produce copious psychoactive resin was popular. In India, where alcohol was illegal, cannabis use was common and ancient, a sacrament for some religious sects. Hashish production in India was under government control. However, Western society was unfamiliar with it and it was not familiar to thedominant class. There was no political force to resist the imposition of a new prohibition.

The prohibition of plants alien to Western society was hardly a new phenomenon. In the eighteenth century, coffee was the rage and was similarly received:

Coffee houses in England became the centres for a certain intelligentsia and social set. There was so much argument and discussion in the houses that spies returned to King Charles with black stories of the seditious nature of those places. He was advised, and attempted to have them closed. One year there was a royal order to that effect, but within 11 days it was withdrawn because lawyers pointed out that it curbed the basic rights of man. The King then countered with a heavy tax on the drink sold publicly, which resulted in a situation like some other similar governmental prohibitions, tremendous ingenuity being expended to reduce the tax burden and still allow coffee for the houses.100

The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was not a prohibition. It was something subtler. To understand its intent it is necessary to look elsewhere than either the traditional hemp industry in Kentucky and Wisconsin, or the traffic in Mexican marijuana. Because, whereas the industry in Wisconsin amounted to less than 1500 acres during the Thirties, there was a sudden expansion at this time in hemp being grown by a new group of entrepreneurs, principally in Minnesota. They had a new idea, a chemurgic idea: besides the fiber, hemp could be a source of cellulose.


Chapter 8: Hemp Under Attack

Only one among many useful crops cited by the chemurgists, hemp was valued as much as a potential source of cellulose for the nascent plastics industry as for its traditional fiber applications.101 A Popular Mechanics article in 1938 raved hemp as the source for 50,000 products, essentially plastics, and called it the “Billion Dollar Crop.”102 In 1934, hemp acreage suddenly increased, but not for the traditional fiber industry. The new expansion of the industry was primarily in Minnesota and Illinois. This expansion was brief.

The hemp acreage in Minnesota was centered in Mankato, with the Hemp Chemical Company, and in Winona with Chempco, Inc., and Cannabis, Inc. The Winona Republican Herald ran a full page article on these industries on December 31, 1937. Chempco, Inc had 40 on its payroll; Cannabis Inc., had 12. Chempco, the article tells:

…is baling the fiber and selling it in carload lots for fine paper manufacture, while a great surplus of by-product woody material is accumulating in every available storing place, including outdoor bins, for later use.103

They had moved 350 carloads of fiber that year.

Cannabis, Inc.,:

…has gone into spinning hemp fiber and making out of it such articles as rugs, mops and cloth used in upholstering furniture. “We’ve begun the spinning of hemp yarn, something never done before on any large scale,” declared E. G. Witt of Winona, who is assistant secretary and in charge of the plant under F. E. Holton of Mankato.

…At the Cannabis plant the hemp is further machined and processed chemically to fit for manufacturing into yarn and cord, which later is made into rugs, various forms of cloth and the majority of spun material into mops.

From this article we learn that they would pay $12 to $15 per ton, delivered. Assuming this was field-dried stalk, at 3 to 4 tons per acre in 1937, the crop would have been competitive with corn.

The Chempco plant produces more than a carload of hemp fiber a day and more than three carloads of the woody material called hemp hurds… This woody stuff is ground up into a “flour.” This is not food flour, but flour out of which can be made a wide variety of compostion materials.

Plastics, such as the hard material from which is made what is commonly called the hard rubber telephone sets, can be made from this flour. The flour is cellulose acetate. It is mixed with a synthetic resin and baked to form the plastic. A good deal of experimental work is being carried on with this flour, and a big market may be discovered for it, although regarding this development the plant manager does not say much.

“Hemp,” he said, “has been exploited by people who do not know much about it, leading to disappointments, and I prefer not to make any great claims of the possibilities.”… [H]emp hurd is a new product, the plant manager said, “which will be going into a lot of new markets.”

It is in this proposed expansion into new fields that the promise of an outstanding new industry for Winona lies.

This new industry was poised to exploit the chemurgic potential of hemp as an agricultural substitute for petrochemicals, the quintessential chemurgy concept. But meanwhile, the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act was under challenge in the Supreme Court. A new program was being formulated and would be enacted in 1938 using soil conservation as the rationale for subsidizing set-aside crop land. As a part of the 1938 legislation, four regional laboratories were created with the expressed directive to find new uses for crops. But the crops specified were to be those with surpluses: corn, cotton, wheat, etc. The general chemurgic vision of support for agricultural inputs over imported petrochemicals was not fulfilled.

The pivotal year was 1937. DuPont patented nylon; Francis Garvan died suddenly in November104, and the Marijuana Tax Act was passed.

While the hemp industry began to take notice of the accusations regarding their livelihood, the USDA seemed unaware of any impending threat. The 1937 USDA Annual Report simply mentions that:

Helpful information has aided the hemp industry in assisting farmers who have grown hemp during the past year and new companies in processing their hemp. Recommendations have been made to the Navy Department for specifications for American-grown hemp fiber with a view to improving the market for domestic hemp tow.105

But a 1936 FBN memo reveals that the “legitimate” uses for cannabis were viewed by the FBN as an obstacle to bringing cannabis within their hegemony:

The State Department has tentatively agreed to this proposition [regarding international treaties], but before action is taken we shall have to dispose of certain phases of legitimate traffic; for instance, the drug trade still has a small medical need for marihuana, but has agreed to eliminate it entirely. The only place it is used extensively is by the veterinarians, and we can satisfy them by importing their medical needs. We must also satisfy the canary bird seed trade, and the Sherwin Williams Paint Company, which uses hemp seed oil for drying purposes. We are now working with the Department of Commerce in finding substitutes for the legitimate trade, and after that is accomplished, the path will be cleared for the treaties and for federal law.106

The USDA was apparently not deeply concerned about hemp. After Lyster Dewey retired, A. C. Dillman ran the ‘Other Fibers’ part of the Division of Cotton and Other Fibers. Oversight on hemp was provided by B. B. Robinson, who succeeded Dillman in 1946, when Dillman moved on to the Flax Development Committee of the Flax Institute. Robinson, a flax breeder, “selected several promising single-line strains of fiber flax, including his nos. 37, 47, 51, and 54, which have produced a high yield and excellent quality of fiber.”107 Their concern in 1937 was “…what to do to get our farmers to grow more flax.” The crop that year had been devastated by drought. At the annual meeting of the Flax Institute108 “A resolution was approved to inaugurate an aggressive campaign in an effort to get farmers to increase their flax acreage for the 1938 crop. Recognizing the terrific destruction of the 1937 flax crop caused by grasshoppers and crickets, a resolution was passed urging Congress to appropriate sufficient funds to exterminate or control these pests should they occur again in 1938.”109

Hemp was not a sufficiently significant crop to occupy their attention. On average, Robinson would later explain, hemp acreage in the thirties had been less than 1500, mostly in Wisconsin. This was the traditional industry.

Representative Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina introduced the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. Matt Rens of the Rens Hemp Company, Brandon, Wisconsin, went to Washington together with others from the industry, as well as members of the medical profession. He argued before a House subcommittee for provisions to protect the industries dependent on hemp. Andrew Wright was not called to testify before the committee. Neither was Lyster Dewey, retired. Nor B. B. Robinson. A Mr. Royal Johnson spoke for Chempco.

The existence of a legitimate hemp industry was not questioned by the proponents of the tax. Ultimately, provisions were made to allow the ‘conventional’ hemp industry to continue functioning. Today, although it must be imported, it is still not illegal in most states to possess hemp fiber, or paper made with hemp, or birdseed containing dead hemp seed, or even the whole plant stalk. So long as there is no leaf, or viable seed.110In 1937, nothing was actually known about the chemistry of psychoactive types of cannabis. Stories were told, later revealed to have been concocted, of marijuana-crazed ‘coloreds’ raping and murdering.111

Regarding the fiber crop, FBN Director Harry Anslinger testified, “There is some resin that comes up through the plant but if he is a legitimate hemp producer he will cut it down before the resin makes its appearance.”112

‘Some resin’ fails to represent the variance in psychoactive potential of different types of cannabis. Varietal difference was clearly recognized by those familiar with the crop. That fiber and herbal cannabis are distinct varieties was shown in a photograph in Dewey’s 1913 USDA Yearbook chapter on hemp.113 Andrew Wright appeared to understand the varietal differences which he characterized in 1918: “There are three fairly distinct types of hemp: that grown for fiber, that for birdseed and oil, and that for drugs.”114 Herbal and oilseed types are generally poor fiber producers.115 As with flax, attempts to use one type for the other purpose requires a compromise of quality. The flax community well understood this concept. In 1936, A. C. Dillman had explained, “Although fiber flax and seed flax-linseed-are quite distinct crops from the standpoint of agriculture and industry, from the standpoint of genetics they are simply of one species.”116

Fiber hemp is sown thick with a grain drill, a bushel or more of seed to the acre. The plantings are dense and plants do not branch. Few weeds117 can compete with a crop of hemp. Planted densely, the stem of the plant remains small, smaller than a little finger. The fiber crop is cut before or at time of flowering.

Herbal genotypes, on the other hand, are planted with wide spacing so they branch profusely. Only the flowers are harvested. Due to elevated cannabidiol (CBD) levels, smoking a fiber variety produces a headache and would be a potent discouragement to youthful experimenters.118 The general populace recognizes this and it is usually treated as a joke. It is now known that CBD binds to the same brain receptors as THC, but lacks psychoactive effect. CBD is antagonistic to THC.
After 1937, all types of cannabis are labeled drug plants. But, by 1938, ‘Other Fibers’ at the USDA is fully engaged in the cannabis-as-drug propaganda:

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 requires all growers, importers and processors of hemp to register and be licensed. As a result of growing public opposition to the cultivation of this drug plant [italics added], the continuation of hemp culture in the United States may depend upon eliminating as much as possible of the active drug principle from the plant. Preliminary tests indicate a possibility of ultimately obtaining a hemp variety with little or no active drug. Research on this problem is actively under way.119

This is the first instance in all of the USDA’s reports on hemp that it has been called a ‘drug plant.’

Again in 1939, we are told that:

The future of the hemp industry in this country seems to depend largely on the development of strains or varieties of hemp free from marihuana. Coordination of biological, chemical, pharmaceutical, and psychopathic studies lend encouragement to the efforts to free hemp from this destructive drug.120

A year after the law was passed the Treasury Department finally invited the agriculturalists to share their concerns with the FBN drug experts and chemists. The Marihuana Conference121 was held on December 5, 1938. H. J. Anslinger presided. He opened the conference by warning the participants that “the press will be after us. The Treasury Department has not yet announced this meeting. The Department will do this subsequently.” To the participants, Anslinger reported, “The Marihuana Tax Act went into effect a little over a year ago, and since that time we have destroyed some 16,000 acres of the plant throughout the various states; most of it in the Middle West.”

Andrew Wright, still active with the Wisconsin hemp industry, was the first speaker. B. B. Robinson was second. He expressed regret that Lyster Dewey was not in attendance.

The words of Wright and Robinson, from the agricultural side, although bound by the propriety of the conference, at times carry a tone of acrimony and a hint of arguments in hallways:

Dr. Wright: One or two other items I want to take up before I’m through.

Commissioner Anslinger: Go right ahead.

Mr. Wright: You know I might not have another chance to say anything.

Commissioner Anslinger: You will be given a chance. Go right ahead, Dr. Wright.

There is the impression that Wright was upset by the effect the marijuana rumors were having on his life’s work, but he would manage it professionally. He begins his remarks with an elliptic recognition of the distinction between hemp and marijuana: “…that while I am connected with the University of Wisconsin, so far as the hemp work is concerned, the hemp being Marihuana, I am working as an agent and in cooperation with the Bureau of Plant Industry here in Washington.” And then, “I had better assume that you are about the agricultural side like I am about chemistry, that you do not know much about it.” He proceeded to describe hemp farming. The hemp farmers of Wisconsin, concerned with government eradication programs, have, Wright explains, “managed to keep their mouths shut and have expressed no views concerning Marihuana in public, for we feel we are not in a position to do so and we would like to be sure of our ground before doing it.” To get on sure ground,

We have been trying, in cooperation with the Bureau of Plant Industry, and Dr. Robinson and the Division of Pharmacy of the University of Wisconsin to begin a study of Cannabis in relation to hemp as a crop.122

Wright concludes with that shot fired over the federal bow. They intended to do their own research and get the facts.

This conference reveals great ignorance on the part of the chemist’s working for the Treasury Department. The chemical assay for marijuana, the Beam test, gave very inconsistent results. Bioassays with dogs were similarly uncertain. The Treasury Department chemists admitted their situation:

Mr H. J. Wollner (consulting chemist, Treasury Dept.): The problem is not yet resolved. We are not yet in a position to know exactly what it is we are looking for, and, within four walls, I am perfectly frank to admit that all the chemists I have met, who are interested in this field, are at a complete loss when asked to prophesy the character of the narcotic principle which we are going to eventually disclose.

The situation is as bad in the chemical literature as it is in all of the other phases.

I should certainly be within reasonable bounds of correctness when I guess that ninety per cent of the stuff that has been written on the chemical end of Cannabis is absolutely wrong, and, of the other ten percent, at least two thirds of it is of no consequence.123

One point stands out: it was their operating belief that the resin was narcotic and they did not differentiate resins from different types of cannabis. The agriculturalists, as Wright commented, were unsure of their facts, since they were being told things by the government chemists which left them ambiguous. They were being told that their crop was marijuana. Wright even says, “From the time it is cut until it is retted, whatever leaves there are should be suitable for Marihuana.” It seems safe to suggest that none of these men had any experience with smoking cannabis. No one was totally sure what the facts were. They were relying on the Beam test which we now know detected CBD, not THC.124

B. B. Robinson said “…from what I’ve been able to learn from others, hemp does not appear to constitute a narcotic problem in China. That is of a fibrous variety, and there is a great difference between that hemp and the hemp that came from India.” (The Chinese, in fact, differentiate their fiber crop from the medicinal type which they employ in their pharmacopoeia, calling the later hu(foriegn)-ma.125) Robinson would have been aware that Kentucky hemp was Chinese hemp.

As early as 1889, botanist and plant explorer George Watt had written of the distinction between types of Cannabis:

A few plants such as the potato, tomato, poppy and hemp seem to have the power of growing with equal luxuriance under almost any climatic condition, changing or modifying some important function as if to adapt themselves to the altered circumstance. As remarked, hemp is perhaps the most notable example of this; hence, it produces a valuable fibre in Europe, while showing little or no tendency to produce the narcotic principle which in Asia constitutes its chief value.126

The inflexible identification of marijuana with hemp created a self-fulfilling prophecy. At the conference, Anslinger alleges that ‘traffickers’ were raiding the midwest hemp fields thus confirming his claim that marijuana was being produced in the midwest. He mentions vigilant farmers driving away suspicious people. Anslinger’s position at this conference that the midwest is the source of marijuana moving in illicit markets contrasts sharply with statements he made to the US Senate during the Tax Act hearing. AS Bonnie and Whitebread127 tell us: “In 1937, when Anslinger urged federal regulation of cannabis commerce, he told the U.S. Senate that only one instance had ever been noted of such diversion, from a hemp crop in Texas.”

According to Wright, the attention given the crop was making life unpleasant for hemp farmers:

Wright: They [the Wisconsin hemp farmers] are not concerned about this last law [The Marihuana Tax Act] because I believe they were given a very square deal in the national legislation on the matter. What they are concerned about is the public position, that indefinite intangible thing, public feeling about growing hemp at all. They have already been subjected to some rather embarrassing situations.128

The emerging industry in Minnesota, which was developing non-traditional uses for hemp, is only glimpsed obliquely in comments from Wright and Robinson at this conference. The new possibilites are clearly regarded by these men as oddities.

Robinson: Another argument for the hemp industry is the adaptability of the hemp plant to various regions of the country and because of suitability for mechanical handling, and these are some of the reasons why the office with which I am connected in the Department of Agriculure is interested in seeing this small nucleus of hemp industry continued each year until it is capable of supporting itself. I am speaking more of the industry in Wisconsin rather than the promotional attempts to grow hemp in Minnesota which one might speak of as unorthodox processing. But this industry we have is capable at the present time of supporting itself if public opinion does not force it to be shut down, or additional restrictions hamper it.129

Another glimpse is given by Robinson in response to a question from one of the consulting chemists:

Dr. Blatt (Professor of Chemistry, Howard University): As I understand it the average production is about 500 tons a year. Is that 500 tons of fibre?

Dr. Robinson: Yes. This past summer, we had 1300 acres of hemp produced commercially in this country, and it has been running about that acreage with the exception that in 1934 and 1935 this acreage appeared in Minnesota, and in 1936 and 1937 we had a big acreage in Illinois, but those were acreages planted, you might say, for other purposes than the ordinary use, for there was an idea of producing fibre as a substitute for wool and various things of that nature. Those industries that attempted to do that, for one reason or another, have dropped by the wayside, and 1000 to 1500 acres is the normal hemp production each year in the United States.130 [italics added]

It is apparent that the agricultural bureaucracy had become conservative when it came to radical notions like chemurgy. Yet at this same time, the chemurgic prospects for hemp appeared so promising that Popular Mechanics claimed “American farmers are promised a new cash crop with an annual value of several hundred million dollars.” And, they noted, “the connection of hemp as a crop and marijuana seems to be exaggerated.”131

The conference reveals that it was this unconventional hemp production which was of particular interest to Anslinger:

Anslinger: The farmers up in Minnesota in some of the sections have been subjected to various promotion schemes. Due to the existence of stacks of the old 1934 and 1935 crop of harvested hemp in Southern Minnesota, which is a menace to society in that it has been used by traffickers, we have arrested a gang who took a truck load of this Marihuana into New York…

Wright: The plan of handling in Minnesota was unauthorized. In other words, it was contrary to the usual procedure… That was never used for textile purposes. It was not suitable for textiles purposes.132

Some of this material was still in the field, we are told. And according to the Treasury department’s chemical assay, it was still ‘active.’ That is, this three-year-old Kentucky hemp, which had been left in the field, was testing out as potent marijuana using their Beam test. Since the test detected CBD, this is not surprising, only misleading.

Anslinger wanted one other piece of information. After the discussion of the promotional hemp growing in Minnesota, he remarks, “I notice the term ‘hurds’ referred to.”133 Wright explained to him what the hurds were. Their conversion into cellulose acetate for the plastics industry was not mentioned.

The cornerstone of the FBN assault on domestic cannabis was Anslinger’s contention that “Most of the pharmaceutical houses before the enactment of Federal Marihuana legislation obtained their Cannabis supply from the Middle West. There is relatively little importation of Cannabis for medical purposes.” To which Wright responded, “I have been informed by Doctors that they did get a considerable amount of their prepared processed material from Mexico. I was wondering if there was any processing plant in Mexico.”

Then, Anslinger: “I did not know they imported it for medical uses from Mexico.” 134

This supposed lack of awareness on Anslinger’s part that marijuana was coming out of Mexico and not from the midwest hemp fields seems disingenuous for a man in his position. We might expect him at least to have seen the letter a former US marshall from Louisiana had written to President Hoover in 1931:

“I beg to call your attention same time asking your kindly cooperation and assistance to suppress the use of a dirty and dangerous weed commonly known as Marihuana or Muggles. The weed is a product from (Mexico)…”135

Bonnie and Whitebread point out the contradiction in Anslinger’s position:

One provision of the [Import And Export] act reveals a curious lapse of memory between 1937 and 1956 regarding the origins of marihuana. Congress finally got around to amending the Import and Export Act, creating a new offense of smuggling marihuana, and mere possession was made sufficient evidence to convict the possessor of knowingly receiving or concealing imported marihuana. This presumption was based on two suppositions-that marihuana traffic depended upon importation from Mexico and that possessors were likly to be aware of that fact… Commissioner Anslinger estimated that 90 percent of all marihuana in the country had been smuggled from Mexico.136

This fact had perhaps just caught up with Anslinger, although Bonnie and Whitebread suggest it was no longer true by 1956 and was a conclusion drawn on biased data. And, they point out, “The Commissioner’s conclusion was inconsistent with an essential premise of the Tax Act and with other materials presented to Congress, all of which emphasized the large degree of domestic cultivation of marihuana.”137

When one of the attendees at the 1938 conference remarked that importation records were kept by pharmaceutical companies and that the origin of pharmaceutical cannabis could be checked, Anslinger quickly moved the discussion past the issue.

Under the assumption that the locally grown cannabis was pharmaceutically active, some pharmacies reportedly did for a time obtain material from Kentucky and from a Mr. Young who grew it in South Carolina from seeds he got from Dewey. But we are also informed that one of the reasons for the decline in medicinal use of cannabis was variability in its effectiveness and the increasing belief that its reputed therapeutic capabilities were bogus.

It was not until 1940 that the active principle of cannabis was identified as a cannabinol. And THC was not characterized until 1963. One notable early study,138 lacking a direct chemical assay for the ‘active drug principle’ employed a measurement based on the death of a particular species of fish when exposed to acetone extracts of hemp leaves. The study reported an eight fold variance for potency in samples of Kentucky hemp only. The study failed to include medicinal cannabis varieties as controls. Other work139 purported to demonstrate that it would take a long time to effectively remove the drug principle from the hemp crop.

In Holland, where cannabis has been de-prioritized as a criminal matter, research on hemp has resumed. In 1991, Dutch hemp breeders released a hemp variety, “with virtually no narcotic potential.”140 They said it was easy to select changes in THC141 concentration and that THC and fiber are under independent genetic control. “Fiber content and THC are not interrelated.”142 Furthermore, they demonstrated that recognized fiber and herbal types clearly separate for percent THC (Figure 3).

THC content versus phloem fiber content

Figure 3: THC content versus phloem fiber content. Vertical line separates populations selected for high fiber contnet from populations with natural fiber contents. Horizontal lines separates populations with pyschoactive potential from non-psychoactive types. Reproduced from de Meijer, et al., 1992.

Elsewhere in the world, fiber hemp varieties are recognized as such and are certified, as are many seeds farmers purchase.143 The European Community places an ultraconservative threshold at 0.3% THC (down from an original 0.8% due to pressure from France) to distinguish psychoactive from fiber types. DeMeijer, et al., place a threshold at 0.5%. These criteria, by focusing solely on THC, have the unfortunate effect of limiting germplasm options to those in which economic interests are already vested. Small, et al. showed that Cannabis accessions could be effectively grouped by the ratio of THC to CBD (cannabidiol, non-psychoactive). Fiber types tend to have ratios less than one (Figure 4).144


Figure 4: Type 1 (medicinal, psychoactive, herbal, drug) vs Type 2 (fiber) Cannabis accessions classified by ratio of THC to CBD and related to point of origin. Reproduced from Clark (1981).145

Recently, Dr. Avram Goldstein in his book, Addiction, has acknowledged that “The THC content of the leaves varies greatly; most wild cannabis is derived from plants originally grown for hemp fiber, which contains less than one percent THC.”146 N. W. Simmonds, the British botanist and authority on crop evolution, states that “drug yield is low unless harvest is confined to the upper parts of female plants of special cultivars grown in hot climates, as is the case in the production of Ganja in India.”147 DeMeijer, in Holland, grew hemp varieties from their collection in an agronomic setting to assay their use in papermaking. He reports:

Outdoor screening of 97 populations showed significant variation in the average content of the cannabinoid THC, which ranged from 0.06 to 1.77 in the female inflorescence leaf dry matter. For comparison, THC contents exceeding 10 are not uncommon in marijuana produced by seedless clones of superior [herbal] genotypes in greenhouses and growth chambers. Outdoors, in densely spaced crops, such contents will not occur, even in drug strains.148

The simple fact is that the fields of fiber hemp grown in Russia and China have at no time fed the stream of international drug trafficking. Nor are these hemp producing nations listed as sources of illicit marijuana. Had these fields such potential, would they have gone uninvaded all these years?

Cannabis researchers, Clarke and Pate put it succinctly:

It is not feasible to ‘get high’ on hemp, and most marijuana produces very little low-quality fiber. Hemp should never be confused with marijuana, as their roles cannot be reversed.149

Eventually, government research on cannabis in the US was isolated to a laboratory at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, “in localities where previously its culture was unknown, notably in extreme Southern States, which are large cotton producers,”150 recalling the previously quoted words of Charles Dodge from 1895. The brief intent to pursue the biochemistry of cannabis at Wisconsin and Kentucky was not continued. All work on the genus Cannabis from that time forth in the United States has served to ingrain into the public mind the notion that the fiber hemp crop is marijuana. The ‘Second World’ never succumbed to this confusion of hemp varieties so hemp breeding and industry continued to advance there.151


Chapter 9: Denouement

While the chemurgic uses of hemp were being entangled in Treasury red-tape, the replacement of linoleum by vinyl, a petroleum product, was a further blow to the linseed industry, which was struggling to hold on as its other markets shifted to water-soluble paints, also made from petroleum sources. Flax and hemp were juxtaposed dominos in the general historic toppling to synthetic, petroleum-based materials. It appears that DuPont Chemical Company betrayed its cognizance of the meaning of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act when, that year, its Annual Report referred optimistically to “the extent to which the revenue-raising power of government can be converted into an instrument for forcing acceptance of sudden new ideas of industrial and social reorganization.”152

As the US entered WW2, the traditional Wisconsin and Kentucky hemp industries were in decline due to competition with synthetic fibers on the one side and flax straw and the imported fibers on the other. Then Japan’s invasion of the Philippines cut off access to abacá and once again the strategic importance of hemp, recognized by Napoleon a century and a half earlier, was impressed upon the nation. Suddenly, it was necessary to set aside all the nasty things which had been said and mobilize for war. Unfortunately, seed stocks of ’this drug plant’ were very short. The government organized a private corporation, War Hemp Industries, Inc., with its headquarters at 208 South LaSalle Street in Chicago, which set about increasing seed stocks, planting 36,000 acres in Kentucky in 1942. Unfortunately, much of the seed was lost because of bad weather. Seventy one hemp mills were planned in several states, although only 42 were actually built, six in Wisconsin.153 Each mill cost about $290,000. They were designed by Andrew Wright. A film was produced and informational publications were issued by the USDA154 encouraging farmers to grow “Hemp for Victory,” depicting the progress in mechanization of hemp production.155Naval stores of fiber were extended by admixing ten percent hemp. Wisconsin farmers were raising 32,000 acres by 1943. In that year, an acre of hemp in Wisconsin averaged $110.59, while corn made $48.29.156Overall, 60,000,000 pounds of fiber were produced in 1943 and 1944, combined, which covered the strategic requirement.157

Not everyone was happy with this plan, as the following press release reveals:158


March 30, 1943

The New Deal Bureaucrats and their fellow ‘dollar a year’ fiber racketeers of the War Production Board are now offering Hemp Marijuana (dope) narcotic to the American people instead of increased food production. The American people are footing the bill.

In one of the most dastardly propositions ever ‘cooked’ up the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the War Production Board are manipulating the proposition of a promotion and scheme to grow and produce hemp from a plant, outlawed by law, that is the fount of the insiduous {sic} drug known as Marijuana, the worst and most serious source of all (dope) narcotic evils afflicting children, in the schools and outside, and grown-ups alike in all walks of life. The fiber itself from this plant is worthless. The seeds from this plant fly far and wide. The resultant wild growth becomes dangerously uncontrollable. In the face of shortage and scarcity of labor, foodstuffs, linseed oil, fibers and other critical materials which are peculiarly being denied us, these corruptors [sic] of American life are now engaged in the promoting of 350,000 acres, erecting 100 buildings and building a large volume of equipment and machinery in a number of Mid-Western States for the production of this narcotic (dope) plant product, all of which must reach the staggering cost of $500,000,000 and end in catastrophic failure. A number of land-grant educational institutions are in on this racket. The Commodity Credit Corporation and the War Production Board and the Defense Plant Corporation, through their own created socalled [sic] “War Hemp Industries, Inc., Agency,” something new in the New Deal bureaucratic set-up, are running this (dope) narcotic show with private racketeers as undercover men. Large profits have been made already by them on the seeds by cheating and gipping [sic] the government. The financial ‘kill’ is figured to be colossal for all the participants. The kill to agriculture, industry, (the choicest and most fertile land or soils are being demanded) and health and welfare of the American people is going to reach disastrous proportions from which recovery may never be found possible. Congressman Hampton P. Fulmer, Chairman, Agricultural Committee, and Congressman Paul Brown, overseeing the Commodity Credit Corporation, and certain other members of the Congress, among them Senators Harry S. Truman and Scott W. Lucas, and Donald M. Nelson, Chairman, War Production Board, and John R. Hutson, President of the government Commodity Credit Corporation, Agricultural Adjustment Administration, etc. (the latter active participant) are acquainted with the facts as are being described here and have been presented to them in detail. The power-pressure of the participants in this narcotic (dope) racket is obviously superior to the best interests of the American people even during these dangerous times of their sacrifices and sufferings at home and on the battle front. The truth of the above report is vouched for. Do you want this (dope) narcotic in your community? You are lined up for it. It is to be noted that increased acreage for guayule rubber has been stopped because of the acute food shortages but though rubber scarcities exist yet.

HOWARD D. SALINS, Managing Director
Flax and Fibre Institute of America,
6423 North Newgard Avenue
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

NOTE:—This whole hemp marijuana racket will be dumped out of existence right after the war is over in accordance to with [sic] a statement from Washington, D.C., but obviously not before the ‘kill’ in taxpayers’ money has been made and the narcotic has been spread to dope them.

This author’s attitude at the resurrection of an old nemesis may be intelligible in light of the decline flax was suffering as synthetics took over the paint markets, and as the use of hempseed for its drying oil was attracting new attention.159 One thing flax did not need was another competitor. Salins held some patents on flax processing equipment.

While the author of this diatribe accuses the War Hemp Industries of wasting strategic resources, according to Walter Wilcox, author of The Farmer in the Second World War:

“The outstanding example of misused human and other resources in agriculture during the war effort occurred in the Cotton Belt. Although the acreage of cotton dropped some 17 percent during the war, production was maintained at far higher levels than was required for the war effort… Although the acres of cotton fertilized decreased each year [under the USDA quota program], this was largely offset by heavier rates of [fertilizer] application.”160

Pounds of fertilizer used per cotton acre increased from 277 in 1940 every year to 335 by 1945. This resource, Wilcox points out, would have been better used on strategic crops, which short staple cotton was not. Southern legislators fought to get quotas removed from cotton production. When the war began there was a surplus of 12,900,000 bales of cotton. When it ended there were still 11,000,000 bales.

Cotton was continuing to lose markets to new synthetic fibers. Technological progress was stimulated by the war and when it ended synthetic fiber had conquered cotton’s biggest market:

One of the most significant developments during the war in rayon was the sharp increase in United States production of high tenacity rayon for use in tire cords. Prior to the beginning of the war this was not only the largest single domestic outlet for cotton but was a field in which there was practically no competition.161

By 1949, rayon had taken two-thirds of this market. Rayon’s price had fallen substantially through the war years, so “In November, 1950, cotton cost the mills 45.3 cents a pound, as compared with 32.9 cents for a comparable quantity of rayon staple fiber.”162 And chemists were finding new synthetic fibers: nylon, fiberglass, fibers from milk and corn protein.

Cotton was also suffering losses in its second biggest market: bags. “The output of paper for shipping sacks increased from 195,000 tons in 1940 to 667,000 tons in 1948.”163 That same year, cotton’s use in bags hit an all-time low: 383,000 bales. Paper was also replacing cotton for “towels, handkerchiefs and napkins, window shades, plastics, twine, and draperies.”164 In the previous century, most paper had been made from recycled cotton rags. Rags accumulated after Charles Herty at the Georgia State Department of Forestry invented a process by which southern pines could be pulped.

After the war, as cotton’s dominance diminished, the economic condition of the South gradually improved, due in large part to war reductions in farm population which allowed farm acres per capita to increase to a point where efficiency was possible. Mechanical cotton pickers came into increasingly widespread use. The effect of mechanization was “to shift the relative profitableness of cotton from one geographical area to another-from parts of the South where cotton acreages per farming unit are small to other areas, including the West, where acreages per farming unit are large and where irrigation is a factor.”165 Many southern farms finally succeeded in diversifying away from cotton monoculture. Today, pulp is the leading export for five southern states. Southern tobacco growers also prospered as hundreds of thousands of soldiers returned home addicted to nicotine as a result of government assisted cigarette give-aways.

America’s new dependence on pre-rolled cigarettes also benefited the flax industry when the leftover flax straw found a use in cigarette paper.166 Dr. Bob Robinson (not to be confused with B. B. Robinson), now retired from the University of Minnesota, told the author a fascinating tale regarding this industry. Huge mounds of flax straw generally remained after seed harvest in western Minnesota. The Schweitzer company had developed a cigarette paper producing operation in Windom, Minnesota, to use this byproduct. But when the flax acreage moved west into North Dakota and Saskatchewan in the Sixties, Schweitzer was left without its primary fiber source. An idea occurred to the plant manager: grow hemp as a dual purpose crop–for birdseed and stem fiber– for his paper mill. He contacted Dr. Robinson who handled miscellaneous crops at the University of Minnesota. Robinson jumped through the DEA’s hoops to obtain seed and run variety trials at the University’s experiment farms. Having grown up on an Iowa farm that grew hemp during the war, Robinson was familiar with the crop and viewed it as an alternative which could fit selected niche markets. He had researched hemp and knew that Cannabis was recognized to contain three types: fiber, seed and drug. If the hemp could be used as a dual purpose crop (as is frequently done in Europe and Russia), then the stem would be a byproduct for paper production. Several varieties from Europe were tested (because Kentucky hemp by this time was already lost). Birds were a pest on the crop, Robinson tells, but when all was said and done, the plant manager was very pleased with the results. However…

Recounting this episode to the author, Dr. Robinson explained that, meanwhile, in neighboring North Dakota an aspiring politician heard of this experiment and decided this was a fine idea which his state might also put to good use. His stumping for hemp was picked up by the Wall Street Journal which ran a story to the effect that the candidate was supporting legalization of marijuana. Kimberly-Clark, the paper giant which happened to own Schweitzer, upon seeing the WSJ article, put the kabosh on the plan and that was the last time anyone has grown hemp for paper in the US. The year was 1968. Kimberly-Clarke makes paper from hemp in France and is an active supporter of DARE in the US. It has also been revealed recently that Kimberly-Clarke acquired the Schlichten technology.167

Following the war, the South’s hegemony in agricultural policy continued.168 So, while hemp and flax were desperate for markets, the USDA initiated a program in Florida, in 1943, to study the value of a native fiber-yielding grass, Sansevieria., also known as bow-string hemp. Programs investigating other long fiber plants were also begun with specific interest in papermaking potential. Although hemp was cited for tear-resistant paper, the selection of species for further research focused on two southern plants: ramie and kenaf. Efforts directed at these plants utilized hemp technology:

No harvesting machinery has been designed especially for ramie, but several reaper-type harvesters built for other crops can be adapted. The war-time hemp cutter has been combined with the hemp pick-up binder to make a complete cutting and binding machine.169

Kenaf was subsequently selected

“…for developmental studies. These include the preparation and use of mechanical pulps, chemi-mechanical pulps, semi-chemical pulps, and high grade bleached chemical pulps. So far as strength is concerned, experimental kenaf bleached pulps have been superior to commercial hardwood pulps and, except for resistance to tear, comparable to softwood kraft pulps and superior to softwood sulfite pulps.170

Kenaf will not flower if grown in the North. It will produce fiber there, but it is not on the scale of southern production. Yields in research plots have varied from 2.5 ton/acre (dry matter at Rosemount, Minnesota) to 15 ton/acre (College Station, Texas).171 “Today [1991] research and development continues, primarily in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Southeastern U.S.A., with emphasis on development for newsprint manufacture.”172 Reflecting on the difficulties in introducing a new fiber, one researcher candidly revealed his experience of Fiber Wars:

New product development (and this includes improvement of old products) is absolutely essential if plant fibers are to remain competitive with other fibers. Much of this research will be done by governmental institutions and by various associations of producers, ginners, etc., who have a vested interest in cotton.173

With the effort to identify new sources of long fibers at the USDA, it might seem that the hemp industry was already history by 1950. The ‘unorthodox’ industry in Minnesota was gone before 1940, its very existence buried beneath the sands of time, as were the words of Billy Hale and Wheeler McMillan. But the ‘conventional’ industry continued in Wisconsin and Kentucky. The Rens Hemp Company operated five mills in eastern Wisconsin. A scutching unit was capable of handling 6000 to 7000 pounds of dry stalks, yielding 800 to 1000 pounds of clean fiber per hour. Approximately a dozen men working two shifts throughout the year were capable of handling the production of 4000 acres,174 but actual acreages were much less than this capacity. This ‘conventional’ industry, producing fiber for a small and dwindling demand, was not a threat to anyone.

The company still obtained seed from Kentucky which it distributed to growers. The equipment to harvest the crop was owned by the mill,alleviating the capital equipment burden on farmers. Matt Rens’ son, Willard, kept the business going until the 1957 crop was sold out in 1958. He says, “I don’t think I would have enjoyed being in the business another five years because of the marijuana problem.” Mr. Rens says he never smoked any of the crop, his growers were surprised to learn they were growing marijuana, the heinous drug plant. Now retired and living in Arizona, he is the last man to grow hemp commercially in the US.

The tax, he says, was not a big deal to their operation. It cost each farmer $3.00, and the company had to buy a special license to be a seed distributor. There was some additional paperwork, but they were never visited by any inspectors. However, he recalls hearing of a mill near St. Paul, Minnesota, that was forced to close. He thought it was in the early fifties. He recalls it was an autumn when there was insufficient moisture for dew-retting, so when the stems came into the mill, leaves were still attached. As has been noted, normally hemp returns to the field the bulk of the nutrients it uses for growth when the leaves fall off during the retting process. But, in this instance, the leaves came in and so did the FBN and halted operation for over a year, forcing the mill into insolvency.

The author has been unable to find any record of this event. It is possible Mr. Rens is mixing in his memory rumors he may have heard of what happened years earlier in Minnesota to the Chempco and Cannabis, Inc., ventures.

I found the Articles of Incorporation for these companies which identify the men who were involved. There were five at Cannabis, Inc.: Dr. J. T. Schlesselman, President, Harry Pribnow and F. E. Holten, all listed as being from Mankato, Minnesota; C. F. Witt of Winona and D. L. McDonald of Burt, Iowa. Dr. Schlesselman was an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist at the Mankato Clinic. A long-time resident of the area, he was for many years the only doctor available to the rural residents; a man active with the Boy Scouts, a pillar of the community. According to his son, Edmond, a doctor himself, now residing in California, Dr. Schlesselman got interested in the hemp idea from a fellow traveling through the area (Anslinger’s ‘promoter?’). Edmond Schlesselman who still remembers the episode well, recognized Holten as the man’s name. The man had an invention, he recalls, a decorticator. At Cannabis, Inc., they were making mops, and they were very interested in the hurds. When asked what he remembers about why the venture failed, he said it was because at every step it needed official approval from the narcotics people. Pressed as to whether he is saying, unequivocably, that the failure of this effort, as he witnessed it as a young man in his twenties, was a result of government anti-marijuana red tape, he said, ‘Yes.’ He elaborated further that an agent had to be called to okay every move of the operation: the planting, the harvest, movement of the crop from field to mill. He said it was unworkable because of the government’s obstruction.175

This testimony confirms that the chemurgic effort to revivify hemp agriculture in Minnesota was the object of special scrutiny which the traditional industry in Wisconsin–we know from Willard Rens–did not receive. By the time the War Emergency called for increased hemp acreage, the Minnesota experiment had already failed. They did not participate in the shortlived War Hemp Industries expansion. The Marihuana Tax Act was the tool used to target and encumber this undertaking.

It was different in Wisconsin. According to Mr. Rens, the final demise of the Wisconsin hemp industry occurred because it was unable to beat its competition, not directly because of the drug issue. A local newspaper article revisiting the ‘Hemp King’ explained that “Willard Rens operated the plant until 1957, when synthetic fibers took over the market.”176 This industry was in slow decline already and it was not exploring new uses for the crop.

Moreover, the crop from the Wisconsin industry was shipped to the east coast to be made into cordage, an economic disadvantage since substantial transportation costs were incurred. This disadvantage undermined hemp’s ability to compete with the tropical fibers delivered by ship, other markets having been lost to the synthetics (twines and carpet backing). Clearly, to be economical, the end-use of the crop needed to be located nearer the mills, such as in Wisconsin’s paper industry. Mr. Rens says that there was some interest in the fiber for paper in his time, but not the hurds. But this use never developed since supplies of wood pulp in the state had not become limiting, and, in those years, sulfate pulping was developing.

The fresh vegetable canning industry in Wisconsin took over the hemp acreage when the industry was gone.

With the final, complete elimination of commercial hemp production, there remained no commercial interests to restrain anti-cannabis political action. Legislation tightened on cannabis with a death grip.177 In the United States, as a result of regulations enacted in the 1970s, a plant with any detectable THC is now classified as a Schedule One narcotic, joining a list of chemically synthesized substances which have no redeeming utility.


Chapter 10: The Extinction of Kentucky Hemp

The tragic element of this story is that as a result of the pariah status to which hemp was relegated in the US, Kentucky hemp is now extinct. The germplasm produced in Dewey’s breeding program and all that collected by the USDA is lost. The National Seed Storage Laboratory, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, is charged with the preservation of germplasm as a safeguard against national disaster, such as nuclear war. In the early 1960s, ten bags of hemp seed, the only known remnant of the Kentucky hemp varieties, were transferred there from the USDA. A USDA Yearbook report noted that "Flax and hemp are no longer produced for fiber in this country, but seed stocks of the best varieties that have been developed by research agencies are maintained."178Fortunately for flax, a responsible effort was made to preserve its germplasm. Sadly, the hemp remnant was neglected. At the request of the author, NSSL searched and found these bags of hempseed. Apparently, they were never logged in as accessions of the lab. Consequently, they were not properly preserved. The bags are only labeled with numbers whose import was not recorded, so we cannot know which varieties they might have been. The seed was last grown, as far as can be determined, in 1948. It’s dead!179

This completes the extinction of Kentucky hemp and its derivatives. Nor is this germplasm found in the collections of other nations, as far as I have been able to determine.180 DeMeijer and van Soest, writing of the Cannabis germplasm collection in Holland, say, "Lacking in the collection are fiber cultivars grouped under the name Kentucky hemp which were cultivated until the nineteen-fifties in the USA… It is doubtful whether viable germplasm of these cultivars still exists."181 All that remains of this genetic resource is the feral hemp which our National Guard is seeking with helicopters (to the chagrin of at least one Wisconsin dairy farmer).

In 1929 three selected varieties of hemp-Michigan Early, Chinamington and Simple Leaf-were grown in comparison with unselected common Kentucky seed near Juneau, Wis. Each of the varieties had been developed by 10 years or more of selection from the progeny of individual plants. The yields of fiber per acre were as follows: Simple Leaf, 360 pounds; Michigan Early, 694 pounds; Chinamington, 1054 pounds; common Kentucky, 680 pounds.182

These and the other varieties, Ferramington, Kymington, and Minnesota 8 among them, the entire lineage of Kentucky hemp, our unique American hemp, are lost, their only survivors reduced to ditchweed. When Mr. Rens closed his doors in 1958, the government required that the hemp seed remaining in his possession be sterilized to kill it before it could be sold to birdseed suppliers.

Today, a great deal of attention is given to the loss of germplasm in tropical rainforests. It is in the context of that concern for global genetic resources that the loss of Kentucky hemp should be framed. Our chemically-dependent, petroleum-addicted world is not sustainable. Inevitably, we will be forced to return to agricultural sources for our material and energy needs. The chemurgic vision will ultimately triumph and hemp will once again be called upon. But it is a long way from ditchweed to an agricultural crop.

The process of becoming weedy is a degenerative process from the point of view of plant breeding. Traits, such as fiber to hurd ratio, selected by the plant breeder through many generations are degraded as natural selection takes over emphasizing weedy characteristics. And hemp has an extremely malleable genetic makeup. The once valuable germplasm has been eroded in the feral state. We cannot know how "wild" this germplasm has become until it can be studied in an agricultural setting.

The loss of this germplasm is a setback to hemp in North America. The situation from a plant breeding point of view is roughly equivalent to turn-of-the-century. If hemp varieties adapted to North America are to be recreated, we will have to start over with the feral germplasm and plant introductions from China, Italy, and the former Soviet block. Since all domestic long-fiber spinning machinery was sold off for scrap metal, for this, too, we will have to look to the East.

Because of the legal definition of hemp as a drug plant, all hemp used in the US is imported. Nonetheless, trade is exploding for articles made with hemp. Beginning as a means to vote against prohibition when public discussion is suppressed, people are rediscovering the attributes of this durable natural fiber. And there is a great deal of interest in hemp’s potential for building materials and, of course, paper. Hemp might also be grown for fiber on polluted lands as part of the remediation process.183 It has also been discussed as a potential source of biomass energy because of its high productivity.184 For its unique ability to suppress weeds alone, hemp has a place in the crop rotation, particularly in sustainable and organically-oriented farming systems.185

Growing public weariness with crime which always attends a prohibition may soon result in the rationalization of laws affecting hemp agriculture. Such changes are already underway in England, Canada, Australia and Germany. But the forces which found it necessary to force hemp into the "drug" classification still hold sway in the US. As awareness spreads, exposing the misinformation, grassroots efforts are moving to save the endangered Kentucky hemp germplasm. Hopefully, it is not too late to recover Kentucky hemp from the feral populations.

A 1975 study of feral cannabis growing in Kansas reported:

The major hallucinogen, delta-9-THC, occurred in all plant parts and ranged from 0.0001 to 0.06% of plant dry matter in the time study. Concentration was highest in flowers, leaves, petioles, stems, seeds, and roots, respectively. Plant parts containing the most delta-9THC also contained the most CBD, but delta-9-THC concentrations were ten times lower than CBD in all plant parts. Delta-9-THC and CBD in leaf tissue exhibited similar seasonal changes, except that delta-9-THC fluctuations came about two weeks later than those of CBD and had the lowest concentration (0.004%) in mid March and the highest (0.046%) in early July.186

The highest THC levels (0.046%) reported by this study for feral hemp is far below the 0.3% internationally accepted threshold for drug potential.

In 1992, a retired IBM employee with a hobby-farm in Kentucky was arrested for cultivating a Schedule One drug when 5000 cannabis plants were found in one of his fields. The charges were subsequently dropped (after $15,000 in legal fees) when lab results came back showing the plants had 0.05% THC. This case confirms that Kentucky hemp never did have drug potential. The THC percentage of the feral hemp from Kansas and Kentucky are equivalent, 0.05%, an order of magnitude below the international standard. (The Kansas study had a high mean THC percentage of 0.5%, but the highest THC in the timeline experiment– a subset of the larger survey of feral hemp in one Kansas county–was 0.05%.) There is not, nor was there ever, a need "to free hemp of the drug marihuana." The promulgation of this misinformation was a hoax perpetrated by an agency of government for reasons not yet fully revealed. All we know for sure is that during the 1930s, a branch of Henry Morgenthau’s Treasury Department targeted a specific group of companies to entangle in government redtape. We know that hemp’s association with marijuana was forced at that time because it was expedient. The bias in the enforcement of the Tax Act is exposed by the fact that the Wisconsin industry was spared while the Minnesota industries were overrun by FBN agents. We know the public was misled. What motivated this subterfuge remains a matter for speculation.


  1. Pioneer Press, St Paul, MN. Aug. 5, 1993. p.1B
  2. Prescott Journal, Prescott, WI, Aug. 1, 1991. p. 1A.
  3. Cannabis is used when referring to the botanical genus; cannabis, when referring to the plants of this group in a generic sense, including hemp and marijuana types.
  4. Prior to 1915, Kentucky had been the major hemp producing state, with Missouri second. The industry in Kentucky has been thoroughly covered in Hopkins, J. F. 1951. A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky. University of Kentucky Press, Lexington.
  5. A broader discussion of this history and related matters can be found in: Herer, J. 1992. The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Queen of Clubs Publ. Van Nuys, CA; and, Conrad, C. 1993. Hemp–Lifeline to the Future. Creative Xpressions Publ. Los Angeles, CA.
  6. Merlin, M. D. 1972. Man and Marijuana. Assoc. Univ. Presses. Cranbury, NJ.
  7. Manila hemp (abacá, Musa textilis), sisal hemp (Agave sisalana, or henequen, Agave fourcroydes), Mauritius hemp (Furcraea gigantea), New Zealand hemp (Phormium tenax), sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea), Indian hemp (jute, Corchorus capsularis or C. clitorus), bow-string hemp (Sansevieria cylindrica). (Over thirty ‘hemps’ are listed by Montgomery, B. 1954. The bast fiber. In H. R. Mauersberger (ed.), Matthews’ textile fibers. Wiley, N.Y. p. 257-359.)
  8. Dodge, Bertha. 1984. Cotton: The Plant That Would Be King. University of Austin Press. Texas. p. 16.
  9. Scherer, J. A. B. 1916. Cotton as a World Power. Frederick A. Stokes Co. New York. “Who knew before the Great War, that the world’s cotton crop, of which three-quarters, or thereabouts, is produced in the United States of America, exceeds in value the whole world’s output of the precious metals by fifty per cent?” p. 2.
  10. North, D. C. 1966. The Economic Growth of the United States: 1790-1860. The Norton Library, USA. p. 67.
  11. Dodge,B., p. 52.
  12. USDA. 1877. Flax and flax products in the United States. Report of the Statistician. p.175.
  13. Dodge, C. A. 1896. A report on the culture of hemp and jute in the United States. USDA Office of Fiber Investigations. Report No. 8. p. 21.
  14. Robinson, B. B. 1943. Hemp. Farmer’s Bulletin no. 1935. USDA.
  15. Mauersberger, H. R. 1954. Matthew’s Textile Fibers. John Wiley and Sons.
  16. Fuller, W. H. and A. G. Norman. 1944. Nature of the flora on field-retting hemp. Proc. Soil Sci.Soc Am. 9:101-105.
  17. Bidwell, P. W. and J. I. Falconer. 1941. History of Agriculture in the Northern United States: 1620-1860. Carnegie Inst. Washington, D.C. p.365.
  18. Dodge, C.A. 1896, p. 16.
  19. Weil, A. 1989. Therapeutic Hemp Oil. Natural Health, The Guide to Well-Being. Mar-Apr. Also see Proc. 55th Flax Institute of America. Fargo, ND, Jan. 27-28, 1994.
  20. A representative of Scherwin Williams Paint Co. testified at the House Marihuana Tax Act hearing that his company was using hempseed oil in its paints.
  21. Comparative nutrient withdrawal of hemp and grain crops: The figures for maize are not contemporary, leaving doubt as to the value of this data.
    Crop YLD N(kg/ha) P2O5(kg/ha) K2O(kg/ha)
    Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) NA 102.0 66.0 117.0
    Maize (Zea mays L.) 3,000 kg grain 48.0 18.5 5.2
    Wheat (Triticum sp.) 2,000 kg grain 42.0 21.0 12.5
    Rye (Secale cereale L.) 2,000 kg grain 43.0 10.7 10.7
    Oats (Avena sativa L.) 1,500 kg grain 29.0 11.5 8.9
    From Dempsey, J. M. 1975. Fiber Crops. University of Florida Press.
  22. USDA. 1940. Yearbk of Agric.p. 213.
  23. USDA. 1879 Our flax and hemp industries. Report of Commissioner of Agriculture. p. 606.
  24. Benedict, M. K. 1953. Farm Policies of the US: 1790-1959. The 20th Century Fund, N.Y.
  25. Dodge, 1896, Report No.8. p. 15.
  26. The short, tow fibers were used for oakum. Sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea), another tropical fiber, competed with hemp for this market.
  27. Commissioner of Agriculture. 1879. Our flax and hemp industries. Report on Vegetable Fibers. USDA. p. 565.
  28. Dodge, C. A. 1896, p. 22.
  29. Dodge, C. A. 1890. Report of the Special Agent in Charge of Fiber Investigations. Report of the Sec. of Agric. p. 453.
  30. Dodge, C. A. 1893. Report of the Special Agent in Charge of Fiber Investigations. Annual Rept. of Dept. of Ag. p. 577
  31. Dodge, 1890, p. 455.
  32. Commissioner of Agriculture, 1879, p. 582.
  33. Dodge, 1893, p. 577.
  34. USDA. 1905 Report of Office of Fiber Investigations. Bureau of Plant Industry. p. 145.
  35. Fite, G. C. 1984. Cotton Fields No More: Southern Agriculture 1865-1980. The University of Kentucky Press, p. 27, 28, 85.
  36. Fite, p. 34.
  37. Fite, p. 84.
  38. Fite, p. 34.
  39. Dodge, 1893, p. 567.
  40. Allen, J. L. 1900. The Reign of Law: A tale of the Kentucky hemp fields. The MacMillan Co. Norwood, MA. p.52.
  41. Dodge, C. A. 1890. The Hemp Industry. USDA Division of Statistics 1: 64-74.
  42. Dodge, C. A. 1895, p. 216.
  43. Dewey, L. H. 1901. The Hemp Industry in the United States. USDA Yearbk of Agric., p. 541-555.
  44. Dodge, C. A. 1896. USDA Yearbk of Agric., p. 235.
  45. USDA. 1899. Hemp. USDA. Yearbk of Agric. p. 64.
  46. USDA. 1902. USDA. Yearbk of Agric. p. 23.
  47. Wright, Andrew. 1918. Wisconsin’s Hemp Industry. Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin # 293. p.5.
  48. Wright, p. 8.
  49. USDA. 1921. Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture: Hemp. p. 46.
  50. Dewey, L. H. 1901. The Hemp Industry in the United States. USDA Yearbk of Agric. p. 541-555.
  51. Dewey, L. H. 1943 Fiber Production in the Western Hemisphere. USDA Misc. Publ. no. 518.
  52. USDA. Bureau of Plant Industry. Inventory of Seeds and Plants Imported. For example, nos. 35251, 37721, 38466, 62165. No. 38466: “From Sianfu, Shensi, China. Collected January 24, 1914. A variety of hemp, said to produce very strong fiber.” No. 37721: “Kashgar hempseed. The hempseed was requested as the variety from which hashish or bhang is made.” This type was probably sought for its widespread use in veterinary medicine. There is a clear indication from these notes as to the type and use of the cannabis being acquired that varietal difference was recognized.
  53. Dodge, 1896, Report No. 8. p. 7.
  54. USDA. Bureau of Plant Industry. 1917. Report of the Chief. p. 12.
  55. USDA. Bureau of Plant Industry. 1918. Report of the Chief. p. 28. Water-retted hemp from Italy was the standard for quality fiber.
  56. USDA. Bureau of Plant Industry. 1919. Report of the Chief. p. 21.
  57. USDA. Bureau of Plant Industry. 1920. Report of the Chief. p. 26.A detailed description of four varieties developed by Lyster Dewey’s federal hemp breeding program is included in the 1927 Yearbook of Agriculture.
  58. Small. E. 1979. The Species Problem in Cannabis. Corpus, Canada.
  59. USDA. 1929. Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture: Hempseed. p. 26.
  60. Dewey, L. H. 1927. Hemp varieties of improved type are result of selection. USDA Yearbk of Agric. p. 358-361.
  61. Dillman, A. C. 1936. Improvement in Flax. USDA Yearbk of Agric. p. 749.
  62. Dillman, 1936, p. 748.
  63. Today, Canada is the largest producer of linseed oil, exporting nearly half a million tons in 1993. Markets for the industrial oil continue to decline and acreage is shifting to canola. Interest in ‘flax oil’ as a nutritional amendment is growing.
  64. USDA. 1909. Utilizing wood waste. Annual Report of Forest Service. p. 406.
  65. Dewey, L. H. and J. L. Merrill. 1916. Hemp hurds as papermaking material. USDA Bulletin No. 404.
  66. USDA. 1917. Bureau of Plant Industry, Annual Report: Hemp hurds. p.25.
  67. Wirtshafter, D. 1994. Vanishing Act: The Story of George Schlichten. High Times 223:36 (March). Wirtshafter, D. 1994. The Schlicten Papers. This book is the first printed in the US on hemp paper in this century. Obtainable from The Ohio Hempery, Inc., 7002 State Route 329, Guysville, OH 45735. 1-800-BUY HEMP.
  68. One conspiracy theory holds that newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst was heavily invested in pulpable woodlands and connects this to the yellow-journalistic campaign of his newspapers against marijuana. Schlicten’s machine may have gone to Minnesota.
  69. Today, Wisconsin’s paper industry, the largest in the country, imports into the state 30% of the pulp it uses. The rest comes from its own forests. The prospect of annual plants producing on-farm raw material for the paper industry continues to attract attention. For the North, hemp is the premier annual plant for this purpose. Moreover, since it fits well into rotations with corn, small grains and alfalfa while reducing the need for herbicides, hemp can be used as an alternative to crops with surpluses in a sustainable system of agriculture. But prohibition precludes such developments.
  70. He lists the locations as Waupon, Alto, Brandon, Fairwater (2 mills), Markesan (2 mills), Union Grove, and Iron Ridge, with plans for additional mills in Milton and Picketts. From 1921 until at least 1926, a mill owned by the Hemp Company of America, a Chicago-based corporation, was operating just outside Roberts, WI, on the western side of the state. (G. Gardiner, Roberts, WI, pers. comm.)
  71. Wright, p. 37.
  72. Wright, p. 14.
  73. Dewey, L. H. 1931. Hemp fiber losing ground, despite its valuable qualities. USDA Yearbk of Agric. p. 284. The uses for hemp Dewey lists as: “Wrapping twines for heavy packages; mattress twine for sewing mattresses; spring twines for tying springs in overstuffed furniture and in box springs; sacking twine for sewing sacks containing sugar, wool peanuts, stock fed, or fertilizer; baling twine, similar to sacking twine, for sewing burlap covering on bales and packages; broom twine for sewing brooms; sewing twine for sewing cheesecloth for shade grown tobacco; hop twine for holding up hop vines in hop yards; ham strings for hanging up hams; tag twines for shipping twines; meter cord for tying diapharams in gas meters; blocking cord used in blocking men’s hats; webbing yarns which are woven into strong webbing; belting yarns to be woven into belts; marlines for binding the ends of ropes, cables and hawsers to keep them from fraying; hemp packing or coarse yarn used in packing valve pumps; plumber’s oakum, usually tarred, for packing the joints of pipes; marine oakum, also tarred for calking the seams of ships and other water craft.” p.285.
  74. McMillan, W. 1950. New Riches from the Soil. Nan Nostrand, New York, 2nd ed. p. 17.
  75. Butterfield, R. 1957. The American Past. Simon and Schuster, N. Y. p. 391.
  76. Fite, p. 71.
  77. Fite, p. 150.
  78. Young, T. M. 1903. The American Cotton Industry. Chas. Scribner’s Sons, N. Y., p. 106.
  79. Fite, p. 184.
  80. See, for example, the depiction of the destruction of the environment around the Aral Sea in the former Soviet Union which resulted from intensive cotton agriculture in that area. Ellis, W. S. and D. C. Turnley. 1990. The Aral: A Soviet Sea Lies Dying. National Geographic 177(2):73-93.
  81. Fite, p. 109, a quote from the Ada, Oklahoma, Bulletin.
  82. Wilcox, W. W. 1947. The Farmer in the Second World War. The Iowa State College Press. Ames, IA. p. 220.
  83. Wilcox, p. 220.
  84. Puterbaugh, H. L. 1964. Plant fibers-some economic considerations. Econ. Bot. 19(2):184-187.
  85. Fite, p. 120.
  86. The American Cotton Association, The American Cotton Grower’s Exchange, The American Farm Bureau Federation.
  87. Fite, p. 178.
  88. Fite, p. 129.
  89. Agricultural Adjustment Admin. 1934. Questions and answers covering 1934 and 1935 cotton acreage reduction plan. USDA. AAA was later declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, but was reincarnated under the mechanism of soil conservation programs which will, for instance, pay cotton farmers $2.2 billion for 1993 and 2.4 billion for 1994 not to plant. (Congressional Budget Office estimates) The hegemony of southern interests persists in agricultural policy to the present and is reflected in such legislation as the 1985 Food Security Act: which “prohibits imposition of offsetting compliance as a condition for participation in the [subsidy] programs for rice and cotton .” (Allen, K. 1990. Agricultural Policies in a New Decade. Nat’l Center for Food and Agricultural Policy: Resources for the Future & Food and Agriculture Committee, Nat’l Planning Assoc. “Under offsetting compliance, a farmer may not participate in a government program for a given crop unless all of the farms operated by that individual are enrolled in the program for that crop. This prevents a farmer from offsetting mandated reductions in production on one farm with expanded production on other farms outside the program.”)
  90. Newsweek. 1995.
  91. Fite, p. 144.
  92. Fite, p. 164.
  93. USDA. 1935. Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture, p.6.
  94. Food stamps are still administered by the USDA. For a broader discussion see Solkoff, J. 1985.The Politics of Food. Sierra Club Books, San Francisco.
  95. In the early 1960’s a researcher at Berkeley was given a grant to develop a strain of Fusarium fungus which would be lethal to hemp, to be used for eradication.
  96. Eastman, W. 1968. The History of the Linseed Oil Industry in the United States. T.C. Denison & Co., Inc. Minneapolis. p. 99.
  97. Hale, W. J. 1934. The Farm Chemurgic. The Stratford Co. Boston. p. 11.
  98. Wright, David E. 1993. Alcohol wrecks a marriage: The Farm Chemurgic Movement and the USDA in the alcohol fuels campaign in the Spring of 1933. Agricultural History 67:36-66.
  99. McCune, W. 1956. Who’s Behind Farm Policy? Praeger Publ. p. 346.
  100. Wellman, F. L. 1961. Coffee: Botany, Cultivation, and Utilization. Interscience Publ., New York. p23.
  101. The Chemurgic Digest, May 30, 1942 & Nov. 15, 1944. Hemp Industry’s Future.
  102. Popular Mechanics. 1938. The Billion Dollar Crop.
  103. The Winona Republican-Herald. December 31, 1937. 2 Hemp Processing Compnies. p. 3.
  104. Garvan died of pneumonia following influenza. McMillan describes his death as ‘sudden.’ No one has suggested anything but natural causes. Newspapers of that year report an epidemic of deaths from this flu/pneumonia complex. Garvan’s personality and influence had been crucial to the Chemurgic Movement, his passing was a set back.
  105. USDA. 1937. Annual Report of the Department of Agriculture, p. 7.
  106. Musto, D. 1973. The American Disease: The Origins of Narcotic Control. Yale Univ. Press. p. 224.
  107. Dillman, 1936, p. 779.
  108. Founded March 9, 1931, in Minneapolis.
  109. Eastman, p.100.
  110. Recently, there have been attempts by law enforcement to have existing laws rewritten to make any part of the cannabis plant verboten. There was an initial success in Kentucky, but a recent move to change the Minnesota law failed. The Attorney General of Kentucky admitted that rendering such materials illegal was not the intent of the law. (G. Galbraith, pers. comm.)
  111. Grinspoon, L. 1971. Marihuana Reconsidered. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Mass.
  112. Subcommittee on Finance. US Senate. July 12, 1937. H.R. 6906. An act to impose an occupational excise tax upon certain dealers in marihuana, to impose a transfer tax on certain dealings in marihuana, and to safeguard the revenue therefrom by registry and recording. Subcommittee on H.R.6906. Prentiss M. Brown (Michigan), Chairman. Congressional Record.
  113. Dewey, 1913, Plate XLII, Fig. 2.
  114. Wright, p. 13.
  115. Dempsey, J. M. 1975. Fiber Crops. The Univ. Presses of Florida. Gainsville.
  116. Dillman, 1936, p. 761.
  117. Broom-rape is a parasitic plant with a seed similar in size to hempseed which can become a problem in hemp fields. Hemp is actually a superior weed control agent.
  118. Fiber types are high in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid which is actually antagonistic to THC and has been shown to have medicinal effects for such conditions as epilepsy (Carlini, E.A., and J.A. Cunha. 1981. Hypnotic andAntiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol. Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 21: pp. 417S-427S.)
  119. USDA. 1938. Bureau of Plant Industry, Annual Report, p. 7.
  120. USDA. 1939. Bureau of Plant Industry, Annual Report, p. 9.
  121. The proceedings of this conference were never published. However, R. J. Bonnie and C. H. Whitebread II preserved the transcript they found while researching their history of cannabis prohibition, The Marijuana Conviction. It is held in the University of Virginia Law School Library.
  122. Marihuana Conference, p. 22.
  123. Marihuana Conference, p134.
  124. Mechoulam, R. 1968. Hashish XIII: On the nature of the Beam Test.Tetrahedron 24:5615-5624 .
  125. Merlin, M. D. 1972. Man and Marijuana. Assoc. Univ. Presses. Cranbury, NJ.
  126. Watt, George. 1889. Dictionary of the Economic Products of India. Calcutta 2:105.
  127. Miller, R. L. The Question of Marijuana: Still Unanswered.
  128. Marihuana Conference, p. 21.
  129. Marihuana Conference, p. 31.
  130. Marihuana Conference, p. 45.
  131. Popular Mechanics. 1938.
  132. Marihuana Conference, p. 23.
  133. Marihuana Conference, p. 24.
  134. Marihuana Conference, p. 48
  135. Quoted in Bonnie and Whitebread. 1972. The Marijuana Conviction. University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville.
  136. Bonnie and Whitebread, p. 220. The letter is hand written and ‘Mexico’ is in parenthesis for unknown reasons. Further on in the letter its author refers to ‘this Mexican weed.’ It is possible the parentheses were added by someone else. In any case, the Mexican source was clearly indicated.
  137. Bonnie and Whitebread, 1972. p. 220
  138. Warmke, H .E. 1944. Use of the Killifish, Fundulus heteroclitus, in the Assay of Marihuana. J. Amer. Pharm. Assoc. Sci. Ed. 33:122-126.
  139. Bredemann, G., F. Schwanitz, and R. Van Sengbusch. 1956 Problems of modern hemp breeding with particular reference to the breeding of varieties of hemp containing little or no hashish. Bull. Narcotics 3:31-34.
  140. Agra Europe #1447. July 5, 1991.
  141. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannibinol, the principal psychoactive component of hemp’s complex biochemistry, identified in 1963.
  142. DeMeijer, E.P.M., H. J. van der Kamp and F. A. van Eeuwijk. 1992. Characterization of Cannabis accessions with respect to other plant characters. Euphytica 62: 187-200.
  143. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 1993. OECD schemes for the varietal certification of seed moving in international trade: List of cultivars for certification, Cannabis sativa. OECD, Paris. The following cultivars are eligible for support payments in the UK: Carmognola; CS; Delta-Llosa; Delta-405; Fedora 19; Fedrina 74; Felina 34; Ferimon; Fibranova; Fibrimon 24; Fibrimon 56; Futura.
  144. Small, E., H.D. Beckstead, and A. Chan. 1975. The evolution of cannabinoid phenotypes in Cannabis. Econ. Bot. 29(3): 219-232.
  145. Clarke, R. C. 1981. Marijuana Botany. Ronin Publ. Berkeley, CA. Based on Small, E. and H. D. Beckstead. 1973. Cannabinoid phenotypes in Cannabis sativa. Nature 245:147-148.
  146. Goldstein, A. 1994. Addiction: From Biology to Drug Policy. W. H. Freeman & Co. NY. p. 171.
  147. Simmonds, N. W. 1984. The Evolution of Crop Plants: Hemp. Longman, London. p. 203.
  148. DeMeijer, E.P.M. 1993. Hemp variations as pulp source researched in the Netherlands. Pulp and Paper, July: 41-43.
  149. Clarke, R. C. and D. W. Pate. 1994. Medical marijuana. J. International Hemp Assoc. 1:9.
  150. Dodge, C. A. 1895, p. 216.
  151. In 1991, acreage and yields for hemp in Russia and eastern Europe were:
    Country Hectares tons/hectare
    Russia 60,000 4
    Romania 24,000 4
    Yugoslavia 700 8
    Poland 2,500 4
    Hungary 720 9
    (H. Spelter, Forest Products Lab, Univ. of Wis., pers. comm.).
    Food production has tended to displace fiber crops as a priority in these countries.
  152. Annual Report of DuPont Chemical Co.1937. In Herer, 1992. Today, cannabis is attacked by way of the drug connection and the generosity of major corporations ensures that this association remains intact in the public awareness. The nefarious behavior and social degradation associated with cocaine use provides indisputable evidence of the threat of drugs to the social order. Were it not for cocaine and the common label of ‘drugs,’ the cost of marijuana prohibition would be difficult to justify. In this regard, ‘crack’ cocaine has been even more efficacious. The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation estimates that decriminalization of cannabis would create a $67 billion industry and that taxes, fees and licensing could net $20 billion a year. This does not consider the potential value of fiber hemp for fabric, building materials and paper.
  153. WW2 Wisconsin hemp mill sites: De Forest, Cuba City, Darien, Union Grove, Hartford, Ripon. Much of the labor was provided by German POWs and Japanese-Americans relocated from the internment camps. Many of the structures are still standing and occupied by other industries.
  154. Robinson, 1943.
  155. The existence of this film was denied by the USDA until it was found by Jack Herer in 1989. In 1994, an Arizona high school principal refused to allow the showing of “Hemp for Victory” on the grounds that it encouraged drug use.
  156. Wis. Dept. of Agric. 1945. Wisconsin Agriculture in WW2. Crop Rep. Serv. Bull. #243. p.28.
  157. Ash, A. L. 1948. Hemp -production and utilization. Econ. Bot. 2:158-169.
  158. Reproduced in Barash, L. 1971. A Review of Hemp Cultivation in Canada. MS.
  159. Barre and Robinson, 1942.
  160. Wilcox, p. 64.
  161. Wilcox, p. 222.
  162. Evans, R. B. 1951. The utilization of American cotton. USDA Yearbk of Agric. p. 384.
  163. Evans, p. 385.
  164. Evans, p. 384.
  165. Puterbaugh, p. 186.
  166. “Arthur C. Dillman… has worked closely with the several State and Canadian experiment stations and with the linseed industry and the manufacturers of cigarette papers. At the beginning of the cigarette-paper industry, he suggested the use of a portable ‘flax break’ or decorticating machine to process flax straw on the farm, thus effecting savings in the cost of shipping the bulky straw to tow mills.” (Dillman, A. C. 1947. Paper from flax. USDA Yearbk of Agric. 1943-47. p. 752.)
  167. D. Wirtshafter, pers. comm.
  168. Essentially due to the fact that there was more frequent replacement of northern congressmen by voters, while southern congressmen rose to committee chairs.
  169. Byrom, M. H. 1951. Progress with long vegetable fibers. USDA Yearbk of Agric. p. 475.
  170. Clark, T. F. 1964. Plant fibers in the paper industry. Econ. Bot. 19:394-405.
  171. LeMahieu, P. J., E. S. Oplinger, and D. H. Putnam. 1991. Kenaf. In, Alternative Field Crops Manual. Wisconsin Agricultural Extension Service, Madison, WI.
  172. LeMahieu, et al., p. 3.
  173. Puterbaugh, p. 186.
  174. Weindling, L. 1947. Long Vegetable Fibers. Columbia Univ. Press.
  175. The author has obtained a taped deposition from Dr. E. A. Schlesselman recounting these events.
  176. Delafield, P. 1971. Wisconsin’s ‘Hemp King:’ His Rise and Decline. View Magazine, Jan 31, 1971: 9-12.
  177. Readers interested in the history of drug enforcement in the United States can find detailed histories in Musto, D. 1973. The American Disease: The Origins of Narcotic Control. Yale Univ. Press; and Epstein, E. J. 1977. Agent of Fear. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, N.Y. The latter examines the origins of the DEA in E. Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy’s attempt to create a presidential secret police force under the guise of attacking heroin until its exposure with the Watergate scandal.
  178. Waddle, B. M. and R. F. Olwick. 1961. Producing seeds of cotton and other fiber crops. USDA Yearbk of Agric.: Seeds. p. 192.
  179. Had any of the seed grown, the NSSL could not have handled them because of drug licensing requirements (Loren Weisner, NSSL, pers. comm.).
  180. Neither is it to be found in the Vavilov collection.
  181. DeMeijer, E. P. M. and L. J. M. van Soest. 1992 The CPRO Cannabis germplasm collection. Euphytica. 62:201-211.
  182. USDA. 1929. Bureau of Plant Industry, Annual Report. p. 27.
  183. Mankowski, J., L. Grabowska, and P. Baraniecki. 1994. Hemp and flax cultivated on the soil polluted with heavy metals-A biological purification of the soil and a raw material for the pulp industry. Abstract from: Alternative oilseed and fibre crops for cool and wet regions of Europe, a conference at Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands, Apr 7-8, 1994.
  184. Martin, A. 1991. Petro-chemical alternative. Garbage 3(6):44-49 (Nov-Dec).
  185. Lotz, L. A. P. 1991. Reduction of growth and reproduction of Cyperus esculentus by specific crops. Weed Research 31:153-160.
  186. Latta, R. P. and B. J. Eaton. 1975. Seasonal fluctuations in cannabinoid content of Kansas marijuana. Econ. Bot. 29:153-163.

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