"He that controls the Past --- Controls the Future"
"He that controls the Present --- Controls the Past"
George Orwell -- 1984


Although the word "Marijuana" can be found in Mexican literature as early as the 1880's, to the best of our knowledge, it isn't until 1897 that the word (spelled) "Mariguana" first appears in English in a syndicated article, which appeared in numerous newspapers such as the Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) in Dec. 6 of that year.   But (again to the best of our knowledge) it isn't until 1910 that the word first makes its way into a Dictionary and then only as a short mention about a Mexican Drug.

Surprisingly enough, Encyclopedias themselves, would not even mention the word until well after the passage of the M.T.A.   (Marihuana Tax Act) of 1937.   Thus when looking at pre-reefer madness era encyclopedias, one must use older, more traditional words, such as Cannabis (the scientific name for Medical Marihuana) or Hemp (today known as Industrial Hemp) to find any information on the subject:
CANNABIS: (also spelled Cannibis, Cannubis etc.)   Is the actual scientific name for Medical Marihuana, and so it should come as no surprise that its usage was confined almost exclusively to medical dictionaries.   Usually only its medical properties or medicines made from it were discussed, but occasionally its relation to Hashish was also mentioned.

HASHISH: (also spelled Hasheesh)   Nearly all pre-reefer madness era encyclopedias, defined this word by invoking images of the Middle East or of the Arabian nights.   One can almost see someone riding on top of a camel, either that or sitting down somewhere in the middle of a Harem smoking a hookah pipe etc.

ASSASSIN(s):   Due to the myths created around Hassan Ibn Saban (the old man of the mountain), this word was (and in some cases still is) irreparably linked to and with the word "Hashish".   It seems that Hassan would take young man up unto his fortress up in the mountains and feed them Medical Marihuana to turn them into cold blooded killers.   Or at least that is what the encyclopedias would have you believe.   Some of them even went so far as to state that the word assassin is derived from the Arabic word for Medical Marihuana.   Yeah right!

Marco Polo:   While his book, "The Travels of Marco Polo" clearly state that the drug used by the, Old man of the Mountain, was opium and NOT Medical Marihuana, for whatever reason, most pre-reefer madness encyclopedias subscribed to the myth that it was.   This point is then used to add credence to the Assassin myth.

HEMP: (now known as Industrial Hemp)   Because of the economic importance of the plant ALL pre-Reefer madness era encyclopedias had devoted quite a bit of space to the subject.   Almost all of it was devoted to its growth and cultivation or to its industrial uses.
The following example is taken directly from a web page from the "Schaffer Library."   It provides a typical example of an encyclopedic definition of the word HEMP.   Note that some negative connotations (associated with Hashish) can be found in the last paragraph.   But these must be seen in light of the vast amount of literature on the subject.   Before the reefer madness campaign, there was freedom of speech, and the encyclopedias reflected that.   During the Campaign, this freedom was taken away, you either went along with the campaign or else.

From the Schaffer Library

From The Children's Encyclopedia,1909; pp. 321-324
"We all know hemp as a roadside weed, tall, straight, with whorls of spreading, lady-finger leaves, all pitched at a downward slant, the flowers clustered at the bases of the leaves, as happens with all members of the stinging nettle family, to which hemp belongs.

Wild hemp, as it grows escaped from cultivation, and in its native region, western Asia, has poor fibre.   But in the hemp fields of Russia, Austria, Turkey, Italy, China, Japan, and the United States, it may reach ten, and even twenty feet in height.

The fibres of the inner bark, when properly separated, come out creamy-white, soft, pliable, and with a silky sheen.   It is substituted for linen in all but the better grades in the north of Italy, where methods of cultivation and curing produce the best quality of fibre.

The great hemp region of this country is the Blue Grass region in Kentucky, where a rich, moist, well-drained loam overlies limestone.   The seed is sowed and rolled, but not cultivated after it comes up.   The vigorous plants get the start of the weeds and kill them out.   The roots plow deep, and the stems soar.

When the flowers appear and the tops turn yellow, then comes the harvest.
The stems are cut as low as possible, for the best fibre is at the base.   The September sun dries the stalks that lie with butts down hill on the grass.   In a week they are gathered into small bundles, tied, shocked, or stacked.

In November the stems are spread for two months so that moisture and frost rot the outer bark and woody center of the stems from the fibrous layer.   This "retting" is sometimes done in water.

When the fibre separates easily, the stalks are set up to dry.   The old-fashioned hand-breaks are used to "decorticate" the fibre, and clean it of the fragments of bark and wood left after the breaking is done.   The freed fibre is tied in hanks, and these are baled for market.   After being hackled it goes to the twine factory.   Often the hemp-grower clears $30 to $60 an acre, after cost of growing is deducted.   And the land is left in better condition than before the hemp was planted.

The British navy consumes a quantity of hemp fibre in the manufacture of the bags in which coal is carried.   Sail cloth, coarse sheetings and canvas, carpet warp and rugs, fish lines and nets, and all kinds of twines and ropes are made of hemp.   Hemp seed is not ripe when the canes are right for fibre, so special plots are grown for seed, which is valuable as poultry food.   Oil for paint is extracted from the seed.   The plants are best grown in hills so that they have room to branch and produce the greatest amount of seed.   The seed crop often nets the farmer almost as much as if he grew hemp fibre.

In the Far East the resinous substance in flowers and leaves of hemp is a commercial product in great demand.   In various forms, to drink, to chew, and to smoke, the intoxicating drug is universally used.   The bhang is the dried leaves and fruits.   It may be mixed with tobacco, for smoking, or with honey and spices, for a kind of candy, or steeped like tea.   Hasheesh is the name it is known by in Turkey and Syria.   Hasheesh cakes, often huge in size, are sold in the bazaars.   The effect of hasheesh is pleasantly stimulating at first; then follows loss of sensation, dulling of pain, and sleep with pleasant dreams.   The result of constant use of the drug may be insanity."



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World Book






Before The
Reefer Madness Era