The hemp plant has had a curious relationship with the world’s legal codes throughout the ages. As noted before, it has been illegal to grow hemp at different times. But hemp has also played a direct role in law enforcement.
For example: The most serious punishment/rehabilitation meted out in many African tribes for capital crimes was forcing the transgressor to smoke or consume massive amounts of dagga (cannabis) non-stop for hours on end in a small, enclosed hut until he passes out literally unconscious from inhaling the fumes. The equivalent of a year or two’s supply for a heavy American smoker is consumed in just an hour or so. Does it work? African users say the rate of repeat criminal offenses after dagga treatment is virtually non-existent.
European and American cultures used hemp to enforce their laws in a more terminal form of capital punishment: the hangman’s noose* of hempen rope.
*”Merry boys are we…As e’re did sing… In a hempen string… Under the gallows tree.” John Fletcher Rollo, Duke of Normandy; Act III, sc. 3; 1639. “We’re bound to stop this business, or hang you to a man… For we’ve hemp and hand enough in town to hang the whole damn clan.” From a horse thief‘s tombstone in Rapid City, SD, 1877: Shushan, E.R.; Grave Matters; Ballantine Books, NY, 1990. Also see Hemp for Victory, USDA film; 1942.