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Debunking the Hemp Conspiracy Myth | The NORML Stash Blog

I am the producer of The NORML Network, the host of the NORML SHOW LIVE and The NORML Stash Blog, and NORML's Outreach Coordinator. I'm married, live in Portland, Oregon, and I am a registered medical marijuana caregiver in this state. I've worked days as an IT geek and nights as a professional musician. Previously, I have been the host of my own political talk radio show on satellite radio. I've been the High Times "Freedom Fighter of the Month" and I travel across the country to educate people on marijuana reform. I've dedicated my life to bringing an end to adult marijuana prohibition and re-legalizing cannabis hemp, and I'm honored to be chosen by NORML to give voice to the Marijuana Nation and to speak for those who can't speak up.

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8 responses to “Debunking the Hemp Conspiracy Myth”

  1. Hemp Patriot

    The “debunking” article is pompous and pretentious. If the writer’s attitude and purpose weren’t so self-serving it could have been an excellent article instead of an okay one. If the title and intent were more like “ADDING MORE DEPTH AND DIMENSION TO THE HEMP CONSPIRACY” it wouldn’t be so disappointing. Wishnia brings up aspects that are very much a part of the bigger issue, but ultimately, he is only bringing the same type of half-truths to the table that he is trying to dismiss himself. I think Radical Russ said it best in that it is a combination of BOTH racism and profit. I’d also add power and control to the mix, as well as a few other reasons we’ve yet to uncover. Also kudos to SHAN CLARK for making clear that the original aspects of the conspiracy are still valid and have their place in the larger picture. To this very day, Monsanto is still at it by helping to bring about the Gulf Oil spill and cashing in on the “clean up” that is really further toxification of the situation. Also, GM just got a patent on a soy-based Omega 3 & 6 compound. A compound that HEMP, and the fish that once lived in the Gulf, make perfectly and naturally. You have to follow the money trail and the people that work for these criminal organizations a.k.a corporations, however, they are very clever about destroying records, changing names, and switching members yet these connections can still be uncovered and made. Several members of BP have also worked with or for Monsanto and GM. Wishnia bite off more than he could chew by attempting to “debunk” instead of integrating his research with the already substantial evidence. I’m sick of seeing “know-it-all”s like Wishnia use trend words like “debunking” in an attempt to be impressive. It’s insulting and weakens his purpose which seemed more about trying to be some hot-shot writer and less about bringing more truth to the situation.

  2. Bingo

    You’re naïve. Profits trump racism. You’re also young and too young to be lecturing me about what I should and should not be perceiving as conspiracy theory, that tired old baseball bat from the 90s intended to eliminate strenuous debate.

    I follow the money. Believe me, no one have a damn about blacks in the 30s, and the mob didn’t realize they were a cash cow for drugs until the late 50s.

  3. Andrew

    I am a bit confused that you have found no evidence to support this so called “Hemp Conspiracy Myth” I have done a substantial amount of research on the subject and have found much conclusive evidence. Also, it is worth pointing out that Mitch Earlywine published a book through Oxford University Press called “Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence” and in this book evidence of the conspiracy, as well as many references to William Randolph Hearst’s involvement are included. I would be willing to say that this is no longer a conspiracy.

  4. Chad

    Ha ha, I wrote that before I heard Paul Armentano today, Feb. 26th, speak about responsible imbibing and refraining from driving.

    Good Job!


  5. Chad

    Hi Russ,

    I agree that marijuana reformers should be credible in their arguments.

    On that note, it bothers me when reformers point to alcohol as violence-inducing. Used in moderation, alcohol, particularly red wine, has health benefits.


    How about excessive alcohol may induce violence in a minority of people who use or abuse alcohol? Or violent people tend to abuse alcohol.

    I’d be curious to know what Maia Szalavitz would say about alcohol and violence.

    Please imbibe responsibly.

    Tucson, AZ

  6. Jack Herer

    Man-Made Fiber – The Toxic Alternative to Natural Fibers

    The late 1920s and 1930s saw continuing consolidation of power into the hands of a few large steel, oil and chemical (munitions) companies. The U.S. federal government placed much of the textile production for the domestic economy in the hands of its chief munitions maker, DuPont.

    The processing of nitrating cellulose into explosives is very similar to the process for nitrating cellulose into synthetic fibers and plastics. Rayon, the first synthetic fiber, is simply stabilized guncotton, or nitrated cloth, the basic explosive of the 19th century.

    “Synthetic plastics find application in fabricating a wide variety of articles, many of which in the past were made from natural products,” beamed Lammot DuPont (Popular Mechanics, June 1939).

    “Consider our natural resources,” the president of DuPont continued, “The chemist has aided in conserving natural resources by developing synthetic products to supplement or wholly replace natural products.”

    DuPont’s scientists were the world’s leading researchers into the processes of nitrating cellulose and were in fact the largest processor of cellulose in the nation in this era.

    The February 1938 Popular Mechanics article stated “Thousands of tons of hemp hurds are used every year by one large powder company for the manufacture of dynamite and TNT.” History shows that DuPont had largely cornered the market in explosives by buying up and consolidating the smaller blasting companies in the late 1800s. By 1902 it controlled about two-thirds of industry output.

    They were the largest powder company, supplying 40% of the munitions for the allies in WWI. As cellulose and fiber researchers, DuPont’s chemists knew hemp’s true value better than anyone else. The value of hemp goes far beyond line fibers; although recognized for linen, canvas, netting and cordage, these long fibers are only 20% of the hemp stalk’s weight. Eighty percent of the hemp is in the 77% cellulose hurd, and this was the most abundant, cleanest resource of cellulose (fiber) for paper, plastics and even rayon.

    The empirical evidence in this book shows that the federal government – through the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act – allowed this munitions maker to supply synthetic fibers for the domestic economy without competition. The proof of a successful conspiracy among these corporate and governing interests is simply this: in 1997 DuPont was still the largest producer of man-made fibers, while no American citizen has legally harvested a single acre of textile grade hemp in over 60 years (except during the period of WWII).

    An almost unlimited tonnage of natural fiber and cellulose would have become available to the American farmer in 1937, the year DuPont patented Nylon and the polluting wood-pulp paper sulfide process. All of hemp’s potential value was lost.

    Simple plastics of the early 1900s were made of nitrated cellulose, directly related to DuPont’s munitions-making process. Celluloid, acetate and rayon were the simple plastics of that era, and hemp was well known to cellulose researchers as the premier resource for this new industry to use. Worldwide, the raw material of simple plastics, rayon and paper could be best supplied by hemp hurds.

    Nylon fibers were developed between 1926-1937 by the noted Harvard chemist Wallace Carothers, working from German patents. These polyamides are long fibers based on observed natural products. Carothers, supplied with an open-ended research grant from DuPont, made a comprehensive study of natural cellulose fibers. He duplicated natural fibers in his labs and polyamides – long fibers of a specific chemical process – were developed. (Curiously, Wallace Carothers committed suicide in April of 1937, one week after the House Ways and Means Committee had the hearings on cannabis and created the bill that would eventually outlaw hemp.)

    Coal tar and petroleum-based chemicals were employed, and different devices, spinnerets and processes were patented. This new type of textile, Nylon, was to be controlled from the raw material stage, as coal, to the completed product: a patented chemical product. The chemical company centralized the production and profits of the new “miracle” fiber. The introduction of Nylon, the introduction of high-volume machinery to separate hemp’s long fiber from the cellulose hurd, and the outlawing of hemp as “marijuana” all occurred simultaneously.

    The new man-made fibers (MMFs) can best be described as war material. The fiber-making process has become one based on big factories, smokestacks, coolants and hazardous chemicals, rather than one of stripping out the abundant, naturally available fibers.

    Coming from a history of making explosives and munitions, the old “chemical dye plants” now produce hosiery, mock linens, mock canvas, latex paint and synthetic carpets. Their polluting factories make imitation leather, upholstery and wood surfaces, while an important part of the natural cycle stands outlawed.

    The standard fiber of world history, America’s traditional crop, hemp, could provide our textiles and paper and be the premier source for cellulose. The war industries – DuPont, Allied Chemical, Monsanto, etc., – are protected from competition by the marijuana laws. They made war on the natural cycle and the common farmer.

    By Shan Clark


    Encyclopedia of Textiles, 3rd Edition by the editors of American Fabrics and Fashions Magazine, William C. Legal, Publisher Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1980; The Emergence of Industrial America Strategic Factors in American Economic Growth Since 1870, Peter George State University, NY; DuPont (a corporate autobiography published periodically by E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co., Inc., Wilmington, DE.; The Blasting Handbook, E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Co., Inc., Wilmington, DE; Mechanical Engineering Magazine, Feb. 1938; Popular Mechanics, Feb 1938; Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol. 47, 1984; Polyamides, the Chemistry of Long Molecules (author unknown); U.S. Patent #2,071,250 (Feb. 16, 1937), W.H. Carothers; DuPont Dynasties, Jerry Colby; The American Peoples Encyclopedia, the Sponsor Press, Chicago, 1953.

    (The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Chapter 4)

  7. Dixon George

    Hey Russ,

    Very good point about the article on Alternet. As I read it, I thought that the movement needs more of exactly this kind of thorough research, and of course, thinking such as this leads to further refinements of our argument, which has to be so good, even our worst enemies have to admit the reasonableness of our claims.

    Keep up the good work!
    Dixon George

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