The masses of people, “the commons,” were kept in check through a dual system of fear and enforced ignorance. All learning except the most rudimentary was controlled and strictly regulated by the priests.
The commons (about 95% of the people) were forbidden to learn to read or write – not even an alphabet – and often were punished or put to death for doing so.
To prohibit knowledge, people were literally kept in the dark, without a piece of paper to write on. The monasteries preserved and guarded hemp’s secrets. They saw that cannabis held two threats to this policy of absolute control: papermaking and lamp oil.