Findings show that cannabis is one of the oldest and most versatile crops. It was cultivated around 12,000 years ago in what is now Iran and also in China. The seeds of the plant were eaten, pressed into oil (which, by the way, is very rich in omega 3 and unsaturated fatty acids) or used ground for baking bread and much more. The resin, on the other hand, was successfully used for healing purposes long before the development of modern medicine because of its ingredients.
But the rest of the plant was not thrown away or fed to animals, for example. The fibers contained in the stems were far too valuable, from which not only excellent clothing could be made.
In 1455 Gutenberg’s first book, a Bible, was printed on hemp paper. In 1492, Christopher Columbus swung himself from his Santa Maria on a hemp rope onto (Central) American soil and when, 284 years later, Jefferson and Co. tore themselves away from the British motherland, they naturally did so with a declaration of independence made from hemp.
A plant as a true green all-rounder, so to speak, which is also very frugal. So it’s no wonder that the herb began its triumphal march around the world. Apparently unstoppable – until industrialization.
This gave cotton, which is easier to process by machine, the decisive advantage. And competition from new processes and raw materials also grew in other sales markets.
But that wasn’t enough, the now growing cotton lobby saw its chance to finally throw the unpleasant competitor out of the running, to divide up the market among themselves and to make real gravel. The pretext was quickly found and cannabis was labeled an intoxicant.
There was also no shortage of important supporters. Harry J. Anslinger, the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, was virtually unemployed and looking for new enemies of the state after the catastrophically failed alcohol prohibition was abolished. Cannabis came in handy and all of a sudden you realized that its use is “maddening”, “driving high school kids to suicide” and “blacks” and “Mexicans” attacking “white women”. After 12,000 years of cultivation, of course, absolutely credible – but good.
In any case, it was the window of opportunity to grab cannabis by the roots and pull it up. And they did.
To this day, the UN Convention against Narcotic Drugs, the main features of which can also be traced back to Anslinger (although ultimately too inconsistent), is in force and cannabis is outlawed.
But the herb is tough – slowly it takes back what was stolen from it. Namely its social status and the recognition of its diverse positive benefits – especially in the medical field.
It is now common sense that cannabis can be used very successfully in pain therapy – especially in chronic cases.
But people with tumor diseases, AIDS, Tourette’s, paralysis and multiple sclerosis can also benefit from (accompanying) treatment – usually without any side effects.
It is therefore only logical that the United Nations removed the herb from the list of dangerous drugs after 59 years and that more and more countries in the world are following this decision with increasing liberalization steps.
In the area of medical use – because it is simply unethical to withhold potentially helpful therapy from patients for political and ideological reasons and as a stimulant for adults – because this prohibition also showed that the social “benefit” in no way justifies the effort.
The latest case of liberalization: our big brother Germany. There, the newly formed Ampelkoalition of SPD, Greens and Free Democrats decided to introduce a “controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption in licensed shops” and thus not only to control the quality of the “substance” already in circulation, but also that To ensure the protection of minors, to dry up the black market and to top it all off, to earn up to 5 billion (!) Euros in additional tax income. Almost as if our neighbor wanted to smoke weed out of the crisis. Well, almost.
But anyone who now comes up with the idea that Germany, as with so many political directional decisions, could also indicate the way for our blessed Alpine republic here runs the risk of being disappointed.
In view of the dramatic collapse in turquoise polls and an increasing red-green axis, it seems much more likely that Schallenberg, Kurz and Co. are looking for a demarcation on this also symbolic question in order to bind conservative voters.
One will therefore rather follow the Bavarian CSU model and urgently warn against “dangerous experiments” – although it should be clear to everyone in which direction this train is inexorably going.