The fight for the right to use hemp and laugh at one’s rulers has been happening constantly for centuries. The desire for a central authority to control and regulate the natural interconnectedness of living creatures stems from the fact that life is naturally awesome. According to the Book of Genesis in the King James Bible — the Judeo-Christian story of the creation of the universe — in the beginning, “the Earth brought forth grass and herb-yielding seed after its kind and the tree-yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
Life’s natural order is pleasurable and perfect enough to make a central authority unnecessary and irrelevant to the point that the authority must interrupt the natural flow of life to make itself seem more important. Without such artificial fear of loss, the central authority would quickly seem like arbitrary rules to the mind of the people. The Bible even predicts the attempts by some people to restrict the natural order and prohibit certain substances. “In latter times, some shall … speak lies in hypocrisy … commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.”
Religious beliefs across the world incorporate cannabis into their rituals and beliefs, yet our governing authority speaks of the plant as if it is evil. In ancient Japan, according to legendary hemp scholar Jack Herer in his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, cannabis was used for the binding together of married couples to drive away evil spirits and was thought to create laughter and happiness in marriage.
For the Buddhists in China, India and Tibet, many traditions, writings and beliefs indicate that “Siddhartha” (the Buddha) himself used and ate nothing but hemp and its seeds for six years before announcing his truths and becoming the Buddha.
In pre-Christian Persia, the Zoroastrians used cannabis as their chief religious sacrament. It served as a painkiller, a commune with the gods and a raw material for lamp oil. In the Zoroastrian religion, humans bear ultimate responsibility for all situations they are in and for the way they act toward one another. Reward, punishment, happiness and grief all depend on how individuals live their lives. The three “Magi,” or wise men, who attended the birth of Christ were likely cult references to the Zoroastrians.
People all across the ancient world have recognized the value of hemp. The Essenes, an ancient sect of Jews, used hemp medicinally, as did other early Jews on Friday night services when they brought thousands of cannabis incense burners to “hotbox” the Solomon’s Temple. Naturally, they would then go home to devour the largest meal of the week.
In the Middle East, the Sufis of Islam were mystical priests who used cannabis for divine revelation, insight and oneness with Allah. They have been blazing for well over a millennium. In the centuries since, new and creative ways have been devised by the central authority to interrupt the flow of life and exercise tyranny over the stoned mind of man.
Cannabis as a holy sacrament leads a user to find a personal truth that may or may not align with the truth ordained by the central authority. Because of this, all sorts of silly thoughts have been introduced by the authority in order to make cannabis seem dangerous or unnatural.
While embracing wine as a sacrament and tolerating beer and hard liquor, the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church outlawed cannabis ingestion in Spain in the 12th century and France in the 13th. Many other natural remedies were simultaneously banned. Anyone using hemp as a remedy or sacrament was labeled “witch.” In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII singled out cannabis healers and other herbalists, proclaiming hemp an unholy sacrament of the second and third types of Satanic mass. This persecution lasted for more than 150 years.
Despite this centuries-long attack by the most powerful political and religious force in Western civilization, hemp cultivation continued in Northern Europe, Africa and Asia. While the church persecuted cannabis users in Europe, the Spanish Conquistadors were busy planting hemp everywhere around the world to provide sails, rope and clothing.
Human society is capable of sustaining itself on nothing more than the simple fruits of God’s creation, such as cannabis. We only need a nanny state to take care of us because we have become disconnected from our natural niche within nature. We only need billions of dollars of spending on health care because we as a population have no idea what constitutes a natural healthy condition. These days, we only fight wars because we still rely on a finite, petroleum-based economic paradigm.
We don’t need welfare. We don’t need war. What we need is our hempseed back and legal.
Daily Nexus drug columnist Kevin W. McCarty is a pot prophet.