Tag Archives: history of cannabis

FAA releases Documents About Cannabis

It came to light recently, via an article by Tom Angell “The Obscure 45-Year-Old-Law Exempts State-Legal Marijuana” ,  that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had a rule regarding Cannabis.

The Rule authorizes the transportation of Cannabis when authorized by the State or Federal government.

Sec. 91.19 — Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate a civil aircraft within the United States with knowledge that narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances as defined in Federal or State statutes are carried in the aircraft.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to any carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances authorized by or under any Federal or State statute or by any Federal or State agency.

This article sent us on a document hunt with the FAA.  We wanted to see why the FAA made this rule change.

It appears from the documents revealed that the FAA had a regulation which made it a violation to transport against Federal Law and between the US and Mexico.  They wanted to update the regulation to include those that violated a state law as well.  The purpose was to be able to remove licenses of those convicted of federal or state law.

However the way it ended up, the wording is clear that State Legal Cannabis is EXEMPT from Federal Aviation Regulations.  It makes sense that they allowed this change too.  If a State Law Agency needed to transport something via Air it needs to be allowed.  However they didn’t include that provision in the regulation.  This leaves open the legal door to legally be allowed to transport cannabis so long as your following state laws, and if you are your EXEMPT from federal law.

You can view the original filing and final rule change announcements made in the Federal Register back in 1973 in our FOIA documents section, specifically the FAA page.

DEA Information Removed From Site

Back in January ASA filed a suit against the DEA about information that was on the Public Website for the DEA that was faulty.  The DEA removed information from the site.

We were interested in what did the DEA remove from it’s website.  We filed a FOIA request with them and received a response.  In the response it appears the DEA has only removed two documents from it’s website.  The total content of materials removed constitute about 17 pages mostly dealing with Medical Cannabis.

The Documents they released are here at this link 17-00351-F documents

While this is a small victory it could lead to additional victories against other agencies which use essentially the same information on their sites.

If you would like to see the other information we have collected from the DEA and other agencies check this link - DEA FOIA -

The History of Hemp For Victory

The history of the re-discovery of USDA film “Hemp for Victory.”  The 1942 film encouraging the nations farmers how they could help the Allies win World War II by growing hemp to make rope and other materials for Military and Civilian Uses.
As far as has been documented by The Institute we determine that William Conde in Oregon found a copy of the film Hemp for Victory and informed Jack Herer who at the time was in the final edits of his book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”.  Copies of this film were distributed by coping copies and passing them on.
the_emperor_wears_no_clothesIn 1989, Jack Herer, together with Chris Wright, went to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. to locate the original copy of the obscure propaganda film.  After several days of physically searching for the film they were unable to locate anything within the National Archives.
The Institute began looking for a copy of the film after getting one of these hand-me-down copies.  We first searched the University of Minnesota Agricultural Library system and were told they did at one time have the film but “it had been removed from the library.”  Other paper documents from the War era showed that the film had been made.
The Institute called the USDA in DC and began the process of going from office to office and forwarded and forwarded until finally someone said that any material that old would have been turned over to the National Archives.
The Institute called the National Archives and spoke with an archivist.  At first the archivist needed an ID number or something to search their database for.  Having no number made it difficult.  John asked them to search for the word Hemp in the film archive.  BINGO, Hemp for Victory was discovered.  In an instant a copy of the film was ordered to be made from the original 35mm Films held by the Archive.
In May of 1990 a copy of the film from an official government source was uncovered and revealed to a waiting world

Specific Media Type: Film Reel
Color: Black-and-White
Dimension: Film: 35 mm
Format: Film: MPC
Reel/Tape/Disc Number: 1
Element Number: 1
Specific Media Type: Film Reel
Color: Black-and-White
Dimension: Film: 35 mm
Footage: 690
Format: Film: MPC
Reel/Tape/Disc Number: 2
Element Number: 1

The History of Cannabis

Cannabis use can be documented as far back as 2700BC(1) in ancient Chinese writings.  These writings tell us that cannabis was used by the Chinese for a variety of uses.  These included fiber, oil, and as a medicine.  By 450bc history tells us that cannabis was being cultivated in the mid-east region.  From Afghanistan to Egypt hemp was cultivated for its fiber, medical and recreational use.  It appears that Cannabis was first introduced into Europe around 500AD.  It is known that cannabis was in wide cultivation in Europe by the 16th century.  It was cultivated for it’s fiber and seed.  The seed was cooked with barley and other grains and eaten.

In 1537 Dioscorides called the plant Cannabis Sativa, the scientific name that stands to this day as the plant’s true name.  He notes it’s use in “the stoutest cords” and also its medicinal properties(2)

Cannabis was introduced into Chile about 1545(3) where it was grown for fiber.  Cannabis was introduced into New England soon after Puritan Immigrants settled, noting that it grew “twice so high”(4)

In Virginia the early legislature passed many acts to promote the cannabis industry.  Before the revolution cannabis seems to have flourished in the area around Lancaster PA.

Cannabis was first grown in Kentucky in 1775(5).  In 1802 two extensive Ropewalks were built in Lexington Kentucky to make rope from the cannabis being grown in the area.  There was also announced a new machine that could break “eight thousand weight of hemp per day”(6), a huge quantity and step forward for the cannabis fiber industry.

Cannabis spread to other states including Missouri by 1835, Illinois by 1875, Nebraska by 1887, California by 1912(7) Minnesota by 1880(8), Wisconsin and Iowa by the early 1900’s.

The industrial cultivation was stalled by Federal legislation in 1937 bu the imposition of a heavy tax on producers known as the Marijuana Tax Act.

By 1940 the US Government reduced the tax so that production could take place during WWII.  During WWII the industry flourished in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Kentucky where farmers were encouraged to grow it for the war.  The Film “Hemp for Victory” produced by the USDA explained to farmers the need for hemp for the war effort.

After WWII with the heavy tax back in place the commercial cultivation declined until the last documented crop was grown at the University of Minnesota in 1968 (9).

1 - Yearbook of the Department of Agriculture, L Dewey, 1913 pg 296

2- Dioscorides. Medica Materia, li bri sex, 1537, page 147

3- USDA Bureau of Plant Industry, Bulletin #153, Husbands, Jose D, 1909, page 42

4- Yearbook of the USDA Dewey, 1913 pg 291

5- A study of the past, the present and future of the hemp industry in Kentucky, Moore, Brent, 1905, page 16

6- Travels to the West of the Alleghenies, Michaux, Andre, 1805 page 152

7- Yearbook of the USDA, L Dewey, 1913 page 293

8- Hemp in Minnesota during the War Time Emergency, Schoenrock, Ruth, 1966, page 15

9 - Robinson, Bob, Dr.  Hemp Experimenter at UofM 1960-1968 199