As I sit here in July 2007, putting the final touches on this 11th edition, 16th printing of the Emperor, I find myself reflecting again upon all the changes that have occurred since 1985 when the first edition of this book was released.
Hemp awareness has increased dramatically since then – easily 10,000 fold. In 1985, aside from those few items in Captain Ed’s and my store, there were virtually no hemp products for sale in the western world and not many in the eastern part of the globe either. Today, in July 2007, multitudes of hemp products are sold in thousands of stores across America and many more thousands throughout the world, with more stores jumping on the hemp bandwagon every day.
The variety of goods on sale is almost as limitless as the uses of hemp itself: paper, clothing, fiber, fabric, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, body oils, machine lubricants, plastics, and a wide variety of foods of the highest nutritional value.
I am optimistic that cannabis medicines will soon be legal federally and join this list, as it has become legal medicine in 10 states through voter initiatives and in two states, Hawaii and New Mexico, through state legislation. New Mexico’s law went into effect this month, July 2007.
International firms like The Body Shop, with its approximately 1,600 stores, have put their full weight behind hemp, and manufacturers like Hanf Haus, Two Star Dog, Hempstead and Hempy’s, et al., are becoming more prominent every day.
Magazines like High Times (USA), Cannabis Culture (Canada), and Hanf (Germany), Treating Yourself (Canada), etc. provide up-to-the-minute perspectives on the growing battle for utilization and legalization.
But despite all the positive changes these days, it doesn’t take a weatherman, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, to know which way the wind is blowing.
I’m sitting here in Northern California amidst the hottest decade on record – after 15 consecutive years of worldwide record breaking heat. My legal medical marijuana joint is in my hand. Global warming and the Greenhouse Effect, because of the arrogant indifference of government scientists, is increasing by the day, the month, the year.
The Antarctic ice cap, which contains 90% of the world’s ice, is said to be melting 10 times faster than was estimated just 25 years ago. If this continues at the present rate, our oceans won’t be just 1-3 feet higher in 30 years, but as much as 20 to 40 feet higher! Shades of the Kevin Costner, 1995 film Waterworld!
I am very deeply saddened and outraged by the thought that this senseless, exponential destruction of our environment could long ago have been avoided, and possibly even stopped by simply cultivating hemp for our paper, plastics, fiber and energy needs, as the U.S. Government advised us in 1916 to do in Bulletin 404, pages 150-155, and in the February 1938 Popular Mechanics, and in 1942 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s war movie, Hemp For Victory.
In 1970, the major media outlets were bemusedly tolerant of pot. The youth culture was on the upswing and the meek seemed poised to inherit the Earth from the military-industrial complex. By 1983, avaricious, conscienceless “me-generation” capitalism had turned back the humanist tide. Now in 2007, because of the internet, we once again have hope!
In 1978, after 202 years of Nationhood, there were approximately 300,000 Americans in state and federal prisons and another 150,000 in county jails (for all crimes)! There were only 45,000 prison/jail guards nationwide; approximately one guard per 10 prisoners. At that time, the construction of schools and universities was a thriving growth industry. At least five times more was being spent on building schools than on building prisons.
Suddenly, amazingly, in 1978, the new prison guard trade publication led the new leadership in prison guards unions and correctional officers associations, etc. and molded the previously ineffectual guards into one of, and in some states, the most politically powerful lobbying blocks in the country.
What the new leadership guards wanted in 1978 was longer and longer determinant sentences for less and less serious crimes, and with virtually no time off for good behavior to assure rapidly growing prison populations. In the Reagan years they got
In the last 29 years, these powerful correctional officers unions became the largest single contributors to state legislators – and mostly to the Republican Party. Now in 2007, there are almost 2 million people in prison, 800,000 in jail and the penal system supports 300,000 jail guards, approximately 1 guard per 8 prisoners!
In the last two decades, prison construction and prison employment have been among the largest growth industries in the U.S., while federal and state spending for new schools has dwindled to less than one-fifth that of prison building expenditures. The United States of America (the Land of the Free) has only five percent of the world’s population. And yet, out of all the people incarcerated throughout the world, 25 percent are incarcerated in the U.S. The percentages are out of balance.
What kind of society would rather build jails than schools?
In 2007, the courts are endeavoring to fill up prison cells – literally cramming them full – faster than they can be made available. On average, these mostly non-violent offenders are being held (depending on individual state law) for 2, 3, and 4 times longer than they were in 1978, and 2, 3, and 4 times longer than violent offenders in their state.
In November 1996, California passed the statewide Medical Marijuana Initiative Prop 215 by 56 percent, despite the non-stop personal urgings (on radio, TV, newspapers and magazines) of presidents Ford, Carter, Bush and Clinton, along with Nancy Reagan and Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, who traveled up and down the state imploring Californians to reject the measure. Despite their efforts, the measure passed, giving rise to a multitude of cannabis growers clubs. Today, these clubs have almost all been closed at one time or another by the federal government in blatant defiance of state law and the California voters’ overwhelming majority mandate! Almost all of these clubs have re-opened, after huge legal expenses. Now in 2007, there are over 600 legal medical marijuana clubs in the state of California, and more opening every day.