HISTORY OF CANNABIS

RESPECT THE PEOPLE | RESPECT THE PLANT

RESPECT THE PEOPLE

RESPECT THE PLANT

HISTORICAL CANNABIS USAGE

THE CANNABIS PLANT HAS A LENGTHY AND COMPLEX PAST.

Archaeologists are locked in debates as to when humans began growing cannabis. The earliest evidence of the plant’s use by humans dates back approximately 8,000 years ago to Neolithic pottery discovered in modern day Taiwan, which showed markings of a cord suspected to have been made from hemp. Many scientists have speculated that the cannabis plant is one of the first cultivated crops in human civilization.

Throughout history, the plant has been used for its fibres in rope and paper production, and for its psychoactive and healing properties for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational use. 

 

In ancient China, the first documented use of cannabis as a medicine dates back to 4000 BCE, as an anesthetic during surgery. Shinto priests in Japan used hemp fibres ceremonially for its perceived cleansing abilities and its association with purity. Traces of cannabis pollen and other cannabinoids have also been discovered in the tombs of Egyptian rulers, including Ramses II, who governed during the 19th dynasty (approximately 1200 BCE); eight millenniums later, hashish was used by medieval doctors throughout the Middle East. In 16th and 17th century England, cannabis hemp became a large component of the British economy, as the demand for rope and sail cloth for the growing British navy increased.

THE CANNABIS PLANT HAS A LENGTHY AND COMPLEX PAST.

Archaeologists are locked in debates as to when humans began cultivating cannabis. The earliest evidence of the plant’s use by humans dates back approximately 8,000 years ago to Neolithic pottery discovered in modern day Taiwan, which showed markings of a cord that is suspected to have been made from hemp. Many scientists have speculated that the cannabis plant may have been one of the first cultivated crops in human civilization.

Throughout history, the plant has been used for its fibres in rope and paper production, and for its psychoactive and healing properties for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational use. 

In ancient China, the first documented use of cannabis medicinally dates back to 4000 BCE, as an anesthetic during surgery. Shinto priests in Japan used hemp fibres ceremonially for its perceived cleansing abilities and its association with purity. Traces of cannabis pollen and other cannabinoids have been discovered in the tombs of Egyptian rulers, including Ramses II, who governed during the 19th dynasty (approximately 1200 BCE); eight millenniums later, hashish was used by medieval doctors throughout the Middle East. In 16th and 17th century England, cannabis hemp became a large component of the British economy, as the demand for rope and sail cloth for the growing British navy increased.

Over the past hundreds of years, cannabis has played a role in colonialism, repression, and racism.

In the early 20th century, cannabis was used as a tool by authorities to target marginalized communities in North America. Attitudes towards the plant were derived from thinly veiled racist fears of immigrants, with many people pouring into southwestern United States to escape the violence of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1911. Prejudices were inflamed by reactionary news stories falsely linking cannabis use to immorality, violence, and crime; anti-cannabis propaganda posters like the one on this page typically displayed a pretty white woman being seduced by a devil-like figure, often dark-skinned, demonstrating how specific gender and ethnic categories were used to further this bias. The colloquial term “marijuana” was popularized instead of the scientific name “cannabis” as it helped portray the plant as a foreign substance and further stigmatized it as a dangerous drug invading peaceful North American homes.

In 1923, cannabis was outlawed in Canada without any public discussion and added to the Opium and Narcotic Control Act, along with heroin and codeine. The prohibition era and punitive laws surrounding cannabis use resulted in crowded jails, disproportionately filled with ethnic minorities.

The truth about marijuana a vicious racket with it’s arms around your children! The smoke of hell! Devil’s Harvest 

POSTER FOR 1942 FILM "DEVIL'S HARVEST"

​”The probable consequences of legalization seem to me to be less harmful than the evils of prohibition. Prohibition is very expensive economically socially and morally. It undermines the educative value of the law.”

Marie-Andrée Bertrand, in her report for the Le Dain Commission. She was the only dissenting member of the Commission to recommend full legalization of cannabis.

Criminalization wasn’t formally questioned until 1969, when the Le Dain Commission investigated the non-medical use of cannabis. In 1973, the Commission recommended that cannabis possession and personal cannabis cultivation be decriminalized, and called the penalties surrounding the current legislation at the time “grossly excessive” and “completely unreasonable”; however, the zero-tolerance policy wasn’t truly challenged until the turn of the century in R. v. Parker decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal. In this monumental decision, the Court found that prohibition was unconstitutional, as it forced people who used the plant medicinally to choose between their health or jail time, violating their right to liberty and security of person.

What followed were the first versions of Canadian cannabis law, beginning with the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), which allowed Canadians with an authorized medical need access to cannabis through the sole Health Canada-approved licensed producer or home growing. The MMAR was replaced in 2013 with the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which pushed the industry away from home growing and solidified Canada’s commercial cannabis market. Finally, due to the ruling of Allard v. Canada, which determined that the MMPR violated Canadian’s rights to reasonable access to medical cannabis, the system was adjusted once again in 2016 to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which allowed medical cannabis users to grow at home once again.

Criminalization wasn’t formally questioned until 1969, when the Le Dain Commission investigated the non-medical use of cannabis. In 1973, the Commission recommended that cannabis possession and personal cannabis cultivation be decriminalized, and called the penalties surrounding the current legislation at the time “grossly excessive” and “completely unreasonable”; however, the zero-tolerance policy wasn’t truly challenged until the turn of the century in R. v. Parker decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal. In this monumental decision, the Court found that prohibition was unconstitutional, as it forced people who used the plant medicinally to choose between their health or jail time, violating their right to liberty and security of person.

What followed were the first versions of Canadian cannabis law, beginning with the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR), which allowed Canadians with an authorized medical need access cannabis either through the sole Health Canada-approved licensed producer or home growing. The MMAR was replaced in 2013 with the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), which pushed the industry away from home growing and solidified Canada’s commercial cannabis market. Finally, due to the ruling of Allard v. Canada, which determined that the MMPR violated Canadian’s rights to reasonable access to medical cannabis, the system was adjusted once again in 2016 to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which allowed medical cannabis users to grow at home once again.

​”The probable consequences of legalization seem to me to be less harmful than the evils of prohibition. Prohibition is very expensive economically socially and morally. It undermines the educative value of the law.”

Marie-Andrée Bertrand, in her report for the Le Dain Commission. She was the only dissenting member of the Commission to recommend full legalization of cannabis.

CANNABIS IN CANADA TODAY

BILL C-45, THE CANNABIS ACT

While several bills were proposed and died in the years following R. v. Parker, on October 17th, 2018, the Cannabis Act came into effect and cannabis was legalized for recreational use nationwide. The Act was created with two primary objectives: protecting public health and reducing the black market.

The framework of legalization is a shared responsibility between the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to control the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis in Canada. While the retail framework differs between all provinces and territories, cultivation, processing, research, and medical sales are all still regulated by Health Canada. 

AND THE INDUSTRY IS STILL GROWING...

Our cannabis consultants are experienced in navigating this developing and complex industry. At Purple Camas Consulting, we offer a variety of packages tailored specifically for cannabis.

Drop us a line, we would love to be a part of your team!


SOURCES

  • Cheng, T.-K. “Archeology in China: Vol. 1 – prehistoric China.” W. Heffer and Sons Ltd., 1959, pp. 11-168. 
  • Abel, E. “Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years.” Springer Science and Business Media, 2014.

  • Russo, E. “History of Cannabis as a Medicine.” Medicinal Uses of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, edited by G. Guy, B. Whittle and P. Robson, London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2004, pp. 1-16.

  • Clarke, R., and M. Merlin. “Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany.” University of California Press. 2013. 

  • Rosenthal, F. 1971. “The Herb: Hashish versus Medieval Muslim Society.’ Brill Classics in Islam, Vol 7, edited by Dimitri Gutas, Brill Press, 2014, pp. 131-334

  • Mills, J. “Cannabis Britannica: Empire, Trade and Prohibition 1800–1928.” Oxford University Press, 2005.

  • Bonnie, R., and C. Whitebread. “The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge: An Inquiry into the Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition.” Virginia Law Review, Vol 56, No 6, Virginia Law Review, 1970, pp. 971–1203.

  • Galliher, John F., and Allynn Walker. “The Puzzle of the Social Origins of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.” Social Problems, Vol 24, No 3, 1977, pp. 367–376. Web. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/800089. Accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • Canada. Health Canada. Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs. “Final report of the Commision of Inquiry into the Non-medical Use of Drugs / Gerald Le Dain, chairman.” Ottawa – Ontario: Health Canada, 1973, http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.699765/publication.html accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • R. v. Parker, 2000, 135 OAC 1, Web. CanLII, http://canlii.ca/t/1fb95 accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • Allard v. Canada, 2016, FC 236, Web. CanLII, http://canlii.ca/t/gngc5 accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • Warf, B. “High Points: An Historical Geography of Cannabis.” Geographical Review, Vol 104, No 4, Wiley Subscription Services Inc., 2014, pp. 414-428, Web. Research Gate accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

AND THE INDUSTRY IS STILL GROWING...

The Purple Camas Consulting team is experienced in navigating this developing and complex landscape, and offer a variety of consulting packages tailored specifically for cannabis.

Drop us a line, we would love to be a part of your team!

SOURCES

  • Cheng, T.-K. “Archeology in China: Vol. 1 – prehistoric China.” W. Heffer and Sons Ltd., 1959, pp. 11-168. 

  • Abel, E. “Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years.” Springer Science and Business Media, 2014.

  • Russo, E. “History of Cannabis as a Medicine.” Medicinal Uses of Cannabis and Cannabinoids, edited by G. Guy, B. Whittle and P. Robson, London: Pharmaceutical Press, 2004, pp. 1-16.

  • Clarke, R., and M. Merlin. “Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany.” University of California Press. 2013. 

  • Rosenthal, F. 1971. “The Herb: Hashish versus Medieval Muslim Society.’ Brill Classics in Islam, Vol 7, edited by Dimitri Gutas, Brill Press, 2014, pp. 131-334

  • Mills, J. “Cannabis Britannica: Empire, Trade and Prohibition 1800–1928.” Oxford University Press, 2005.

  • Bonnie, R., and C. Whitebread. “The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge: An Inquiry into the Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition.” Virginia Law Review, Vol 56, No 6, Virginia Law Review, 1970, pp. 971–1203.

  • Galliher, John F., and Allynn Walker. “The Puzzle of the Social Origins of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.” Social Problems, Vol 24, No 3, 1977, pp. 367–376. Web. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/800089. Accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • Canada. Health Canada. Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs. “Final report of the Commision of Inquiry into the Non-medical Use of Drugs / Gerald Le Dain, chairman.” Ottawa – Ontario: Health Canada, 1973, http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.699765/publication.html accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • R. v. Parker, 2000, 135 OAC 1, Web. CanLII, http://canlii.ca/t/1fb95 accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • Allard v. Canada, 2016, FC 236, Web. CanLII, http://canlii.ca/t/gngc5 accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

  • Warf, B. “High Points: An Historical Geography of Cannabis.” Geographical Review, Vol 104, No 4, Wiley Subscription Services Inc., 2014, pp. 414-428, Web. Research Gate accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

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