Category Archives: Historical

Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

March 26, 2018

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The Industrial Revolution, which brought together large-scale coal-based industries like mining, steel, pottery, and textiles, helped create the foundation of modern society and wealth. At the same time, the early industrial economies that formed in this era were also associated with brutal working and living conditions. Our research, recently accepted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that areas where coal was king may still be feeling the effects.

In countries like the UK and the U.S. that industrialized early, coal now plays only a minor role in the economy. For example, in the U.S. today, the entire coal industry employs about 53,000 people, with only about 11,000 of those working in extraction. Coal production and consumption have also declined markedly. Yet prior research has found that in the areas of the U.S. and UK where coal still is a major industry, it affects local populations in a profound way. For example, people who live in areas with active coal mining today often experience greater risk of mental and physical health issues, such as depression, anxiety, COPD, and asthma, than people in other regions. Research also shows that besides the occupational health risks that miners face, these regions pose increased population-wide health risks due to pollution and economic hardship.

Today, millions of people live in such regions that once brought together large-scale coal-based industries, for example in the old industrial north of the UK and the so-called Rust Belt in the U.S. Given that these historical industries had dominated the economic and social life of these regions for such a long time, we wanted to explore whether they continue to influence the people currently living there. Our research suggests that the massive industrialization of the 19th and 20th centuries had long-term psychosocial effects that continue to shape the well-being, health, and behaviors of millions of people in these regions today.

Our study, an interdisciplinary collaboration between psychologists, historians, and economic geographers, examined whether people in former industrial regions in the U.K. and the U.S. demonstrated more markers of “psychological adversity” (i.e., higher neuroticism, lower conscientiousness, lower aspects of extraversion, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy) than people in other regions. To reach back to the Industrial Revolution, we had to examine different sources of unique historical data on regional industry structure — one source, for example, was baptism records from 1813-1820 that stated the occupation of the father. We were able to determine the share of employment in large-scale coal-based industries, such as coal mining, and in steam-powered manufacturing industries that used coal as fuel, such as pottery, textile production, and metal manufacturing. This was our measure for the historical concentration of large-scale, coal-powered industries in a region.

We also used existing online surveys to collect personality trait data from 381,916 current residents of England and Wales and 3,457,270 residents living in the U.S., looking at which regions had more people reporting so-called unhappy personality traits: higher neuroticism (characterized by greater emotional instability, worrying, anger), lower conscientiousness (less self-control and self-management), and lower extraversion (less sociable, outgoing, and fun-oriented). These have been tied to lesser psychological well-being and poorer health behaviors. We also studied life satisfaction and life expectancy across regions.

Our research shows that a region’s historical industries leave a lasting imprint on the local psychology, which remains even when those industries are no longer dominant or have almost completely disappeared. We found that in regions like Blaenau Gwent in the UK and the Rust Belt in the U.S., people reported more unhappy personality traits, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy than otherwise similar regions where these industries did not dominate (think Sussex and Dorset in the non-industrial South of England and regions in the American West). For example, in the UK, neuroticism was 33% higher, conscientiousness 26% lower, and life satisfaction 29% lower in these areas compared with the rest of the country. This effect was robust even when controlling for other historical factors that might have affected the well-being of regions, such as historical energy supply, education, wealth, geology, population density, and climate.

To come to more causal conclusions, we needed to determine that a region’s industrial history is what caused residents to have these personality traits today, rather than regions with a certain personality structure attracting large-scale industries during the Industrial Revolution. We employed an instrumental variable analysis, using the natural location of coalfields in the year 1700. The early industrial centers often emerged near coalfields because coal was expensive to transport and plants were mostly powered by steam engines that required large amounts of cheap coal. Even among these industrial centers — which are likely to have emerged owing to their proximity to coal, and not to any pre-existing personality trends — we observed lower well-being and more adverse personality traits, consistent with idea that a region’s industrial history affects its personality structure.

Since the historical industries appear to exert long-term psychological effects, our next task was understanding the mechanisms driving this. We’ve long known that work and living conditions were bad in old industrial centers — the daily work in the plants and mines was often highly repetitive, stressful, and exhausting, not to mention dangerous, and child labor was very common. We also know from psychological and sociological studies that specific work characteristics, such as a lack of autonomy and complexity at work, can shape the personality of workers in a negative way, for instance by lowering intellectual flexibility and personal initiative. Adam Smith had even argued in 1776 that the division of labor, resulting in highly-specialized and repetitive work tasks, comes with detrimental psychosocial effects for the workers.

Other studies have shown how work characteristics of parents, such as self-direction and conformity at work, get “transmitted” to their children via parenting practices and a socialization of values and norms that leads them to mirror these characteristics. For example, highly repetitive, exhausting, and low-autonomy work can affect the values of workers, in that they put less value on intellectual virtues and critical thinking, and these values then often get transmitted to the children of these workers as well. In addition to these socialization mechanisms, we also know that personality has a genetic basis, which may help certain traits persist across generations.

Finally, we also know that personality is shaped by local institutions such as schools, local attitudes, and social standards. For example we know that school students’ attitudes about unhealthy behaviors and alcohol are influenced by their friends’ and neighbors’ attitudes about these issues. So it’s possible that even people who moved to old industrial regions, versus those whose families had always been there, would be affected by prevailing personality traits and values.

We speculated that migration patterns would contribute to industrialization affecting future personality traits. There are a couple reasons to think this: First, during the Industrial Revolution there might have been a certain “genetic founder effect” at play — that is, the massive influx of a specific personality type into the emerging and quickly growing industrial centers. For the U.K., there are historical analyses arguing that the emerging industrial centers were mainly populated by people from neighboring rural areas who had suffered economic and psychological hardship, such as major famines in Ireland. Such a massive influx might have established an initial level of psychological adversity in these industrial regions during the Industrial Revolution, which would affect and shape the personality structure of subsequent generations in these regions.

Second, people with happier personalities might move away from these regions, which could boost the concentration of unhappy personality traits there today. We found support for this in our data. When we compared people who grew up and stayed in old coal regions with people who grew up there but later left, we found that those who left scored lower in neuroticism and higher in conscientiousness and in aspects of extraversion.

In sum, the effect of the Industrial Revolution seems to be more toxic and far-reaching than previously thought. While massive industrialization brought unprecedented technological and economic progress, it also left a psychological legacy that continues to shape the personality traits and well-being of people currently in these regions. Regional personality, which can provide a sense of local identity and pride, can still reflect the historical hardships and difficult work and living conditions of past generations. Without a strong orchestrated effort to improve economic circumstances and people’s well-being and health in these regions, this legacy is likely to persist.

This research should remind us that the dominance of a certain industry or type of work can have unexpected, long-term effects on the personality structure of regions — and these can be felt long after they change.

CONTINUE READING…

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The Origin of the Word ‘Marijuana’

Anna Wilcox

The word “marijuana” plays a controversial role in cannabis culture. Many well-known organizations such as Oakland’s Harborside Heath Center have publicly denounced “the M word” in favor of our favorite plant’s Latinate name, cannabis. Even Salon Magazine, a major press outlet outside of the cannabis industry, published an article titled “Is the word ‘Marijuana’ racist?” last year.

As mainstream culture becomes a little more herb-friendly, the terminology used by the industry is coming to center stage. But, why exactly does the term “marijuana” cause so much debate? Even worse, why has the word gained publicity as a racist term?

To save you from reading those lengthy history books or some boring academic articles, we’ve created this brief timeline to give you the low-down on “marijuana”’s rise to popularity in the United States. Here’s what you need to know:

The Mexican Revolution

1840-1900:

Prior to 1910, “marijuana” didn’t exist as a word in American culture. Rather, “cannabis” was used, most often in reference to medicines and remedies for common household ailments. In the early 1900s, what have now become pharmaceutical giants—Bristol-Meyer’s Squib and Eli Lilly—used to include cannabis and cannabis extracts in their medicines.

During this time, Americans (particularly elite Americans) were going through a hashish trend. Glamorized by literary celebrities such as Alexander Dumas, experimenting with cannabis products became a fad among those wealthy enough to afford imported goods.

1910:

Between the years of 1910 and 1920, over 890,000 Mexicans legally immigrated into the United States seeking refuge from the wreckage of civil war. Though cannabis had been a part of U.S. history since the country’s beginnings, the idea of smoking the plant recreationally was not as common as other forms of consumption. The idea of smoking cannabis entered mainstream American consciousness after the arrival of immigrants who brought the smoking habit with them.

1913:

The first bill criminalizing the cultivation of “locoweed” was passed in California. The bill was a major push from the Board of Pharmacy as a way to regulate opiates and psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and seemingly did not stem from the “reefer madness” or racialized understanding of “marijuana” that paved the way to full-on prohibition in the 1930s.

The Aftermath

1930s:

The Great Depression had just hit the United States, and Americans were searching for someone to blame. Due to the influx of immigrants (particularly in the South) and the rise of suggestive jazz music, many white Americans began to treat cannabis (and, arguably, the Blacks and Mexican immigrants who consumed it) as a foreign substance used to corrupt the minds and bodies of low-class individuals.

In the time just before the federal criminalization of the plant, 29 states independently banned the herb that came to be known as “marijuana.”

Harry Anslinger:

It would not be an overstatement to say that Harry Anslinger was one of the primary individuals responsible for creating the stigma surrounding cannabis. Hired as the first director of the recently created Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, Anslinger launched a vigilant campaign against cannabis that would hold steady for the three decades he remained in office.

A very outspoken man, Anslinger used the recent development of the movie theater to spread messages that racialized the plant for white audiences. In one documented incident, Anslinger testified before Congress, explaining:

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”

In another statement, Anslinger articulated: “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

In retrospect, Anslinger’s efforts with the Bureau of Narcotics were the reason “marijuana” became a word known by Americans all over the country. When making public appearances and crafting propaganda films such as Reefer Madness, Anslinger specifically used the term “marijuana” when campaigning against the plant, adding to the development of the herb’s new “foreign” identity.

Cannabis was no longer the plant substance found in medicines and consumed unanimously by American’s all over the country.

1937:

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the culmination of Anslinger’s work and the first step to all-out prohibition. The bill federally criminalized the cannabis plant in every U.S. state. In order to discourage the production of cannabis use, the Tax Act of 1937 placed a one dollar tax on anyone who sold or cultivated the cannabis plant.

On top of the tax itself, the bill mandated that all individuals comply with certain enforcement provisions. Violation of the provisions would result in imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Though the word “marijuana” is the most common name for cannabis in the United States today, its history is deeply steeped in race, politics, and a complicated cultural revolution. Some argue that using the word ignores a history of oppression against Mexican immigrants and African Americans, while others insist that the term has now lost its prejudiced bite. Regardless of whether or not you decide to use the word yourself, it’s impossible to deny the magnitude and racial implications of its introduction to the American lexicon.

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In Praise of Hemp

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by Jim Prues / September 29th, 2010

Hemp use predates the Agrarian Age, as hemp fibers have been found in pottery in China and Taiwan dating to 7,000 years ago. The classical Greek historian Herodotus (ca. 480 BC) reported that the inhabitants of Scythia would often inhale the vapours of hemp smoke, both as ritual and for their own pleasurable recreation. So presumably the Scythians were the first recorded stoners.

 

In Europe, hemp growing and production became quite popular during the Medieval Age, having disseminated in that direction along with much of the technology of the Arabic Golden Age in Northern Africa. In Europe hemp seeds were used for food and oils, the leaves for teas and the stalks for fibres, including rope, clothes, sails and paper. Estimates put the number of Europeans actively involved in hemp growing and production in the 15th and 16th century at well over 50%.

Hemp has a strong historical influence on every continent, with varied cultural and religious traditions. Many African spiritual practices involve consuming hemp smoke to enhance awareness and generate visions like the Dagga ‘cults’.

The Spaniards brought hemp to the Western Hemisphere and cultivated it in Chile starting about 1545. However, in May 1607, “hempe” was among the crops Gabriel Archer observed being cultivated by the natives at the main Powhatan village, where Richmond, Virginia is now  situated; and in 1613, 

Samuell Argall reported wild hemp “better than that in England” growing along the shores of the upper Potomac. As early as 1619, the first Virginia House of Burgesses passed an Act requiring all planters in Virginia to sow “both English and Indian” hemp on their plantations. The Puritans are first known to have cultivated hemp in New England in 1645.

In more modern times, hemp was a popular crop in antibellum Kentucky and other southern states. It was commonly used for a variety of products, most notably the paper on which the U.S. Constitution was written. Several of our founding fathers were hemp farmers.

All this changed with William Randoph Hearst, who began demonizing hemp in order to leverage his great tracks of forest for paper production instead of needing to buy hemp from other farmers. His effort to demonize the plant was also instigated by his racism, as many hispanics and blacks used hemp for recreation. The word, marijuana, is the hispanic term for that form of hemp which has psychoactive ingredients.

There are several varieties of hemp, most of which have very little THC [tetra-hydro-cannabanoid], the mind-effecting component. For most of U.S. history, the distinction was well-understood and laws reflected that awareness. Like so many with the power of media, however, Mr. Hearst did his best to cloud that distinction, as he was against hemp in any form. Indeed, industrial hemp was referred to as ‘ditchweed’, while hemp for medicinal or recreations purposes has come to be known as marijuana.

An analogy would be poppies, where you have the breadseed poppy seeds that can be found on bread or rolls, in contrast to the opium poppies grown to create morphine and heroin.

As reference, the timber and lumber industries, textile and petro-chemical industries are the most influential in keeping hemp illegal. As usual, we can follow the money. Then for pot there’s the pharmaceutical industry, the alcohol lobby and all those anti-drug agencies with self-preservation interests. We learn much from understanding these connections.

With this background, let’s consider how hemp might again play a pivotal role in our culture.

Assuming access to air and water, our most regular needs are for food and energy. In the World4 culture, these needs, at least for the industrialized world, are met through global corporations like ADM, Monsanto, BP and Exxon. And of course, hemp is illegal to grow in much of the industrialized world and particularly the United States.

But as noted above, hemp is easily grown with little required in the way of fertilizer or pesticides. As such, hemp typifies a sustainably-oriented plant. Corn, by comparison, requires heavy doses of fertilizer, especially nitrogen, and requires a good deal of pesticide use, with Roundup often used to kill weeds, and genetically modified corn seed that is resistant to the effects of Roundup. With the vast expanses of corn grown in this country, it should be no surprise that the runoff from these chemicals has created a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. And let us not forget that our tax dollars subsidize these efforts through farm and energy subsidies.

With hemp, we have a low-impact, high-yield crop that can be used for a variety of uses. The stalks and fiber can used for composites that can be a wood substitute in an array of products. They can also be processed to create ethanol. They can be burned as a carbon-neutral resource, since the carbon they release is but the carbon the plant ingested during it’s life. Durable, light-weight, and strong, it’s difficult to imagine all the uses for industrial hemp were we to focus on designing and building hemp-based products.

With hemp oil we have another energy-rich resource, which can be used in cooking, as lamp oil and as a medicinal, as its high concentration of essential fatty acids is great for the skin and overall health.

Hemp seed can be used as a food as well. The roasted seeds are crunchy, they can be used in soups and casseroles, mixed with cereals or other foods. They’re highly nutritious, have a good deal of protein and again, are positive-impact environmentally.

Hemp has remediation properties too. It absorbs heavy metals in the soil, reducing their toxicity and harmful environment effects. There are vast expanses of hemp in the area of the Chernobyl nuclear accident for just that reason.

Hemp can be grown successfully in nearly every state in these United States. One can imagine a culture where locally produced hemp provides a good portion of the energy, food and product needs for our communities. This methodology would provide employment in both production and processing of the plant. It would reduce the environmental damage caused by our overused, subsidized corn. [Corn syrup is a cheap, low grade sugar that’s in a ton of processed foods.] Re-integrating hemp into our culture is just good, common sense.

And then there’s marijuana. The heathen devil-weed [a term coined by Heart’s yellow press] was blamed for all sorts of bad behavior as part of the demonization process. But as usual, someone who smokes pot and acts badly likely acts badly anyway, with marijuana as the straw man. Marijuana reduces aggressive behavior, unlike alcohol. This slander against the singular most influential plant in human history is but one example of the dysfunctionality of our culture.

Weed does indeed have psychotropic properties of note. Being stoned has a curious effect on the mind. Most say it tends to enhance whatever we feeling or experiencing at the time, offering a heightened experience of music or games or food [the proverbial munchies]. It is often used as a mind-quieting agent as well, as the stream of thoughts so constant to most of us becomes less pressing in a marijuana state of mind. In our fear-ridden, highly-stressed culture that alone could be of great value.

It’s worth noting that marijuana has not been placed as the medical cause in a single death in this country. Compare that with alcohol, tobacco, or the host of concoctions the pharmaceutical industry markets to us constantly. Mary Jane is decidedly benign.

As a medicinal, hemp oil has the afore mentioned essential fatty acids that are very effective for skin issues like excema and when ingested enhances body health. Medical marijuana is much in the news these days, being legal in California and a handful of other states. It’s value in alleviating the worst effect of cancer treatments,  chronic back ache and other issues is well-documented. Imagine if our culture actually encouraged research on medical marijuana. Not likely when the legal drug cartel we call the pharmaceutical industry has so much influence in government.

Proposition 19 is a measure on the ballot in California this fall that makes hemp legal. It merits our support for all the reasons indicated in this writing. Perhaps with this ballot measure passing we can begin to reverse the foolishness that has withheld leveraging this marvelous plant for the last 100 years.

Perhaps one of the most beneficial characteristics of this renewable resource is that the hemp plant can be used in its entirety, and that a streamlined life-cycle assessment yields positive impacts on the environment throughout the growth, harvest, and production stages. The industrial hemp plant offers a wide variety of high performance applications through the many aspects of community design, and will help strengthen our local economy, return power back to our local agricultural industry, and restore the environment as it grows. – Scott Blossom

Well said, Mister Blossom. Perhaps this fall [in California Ballot Measure Prop 19] we’ll begin to see a return to sanity in our policies toward this marvelous and versatile plant. And wouldn’t it be just swell to see this happen in the wider context of a return to localism. Very World Five – dude.

Jim Prues is the founder of World 5.0, a new cultural operating system based on peace and love. He can be reached at jim@world5.org. Read other articles by Jim, or visit Jim’s website.

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Hemp in Mason County

MARLA TONCRAY marla.toncray@lee.net

 

Ground Work02

 

It may look like similar to a marijuana plant, but industrial hemp is quite different from its relative.

Industrial hemp production in Kentucky is back under a pilot program introduced in the Farm Bill legislation of 2014.  Under the language of that law, farmers in Kentucky and other states began growing industrial hemp through research pilot programs at the state’s universities and Department of Agriculture.

Locally, Mason County farmer Joe Collins is growing five acres of hemp under the pilot program.  As the guest speaker recently of the Maysville Rotary Club, Collins explained industrial hemp contains only 0.3 percent of THC (tetrahydrocannabinoids) while marijuana has anywhere from 5-10 percent of THC.

And therein lies the difference: industrial hemp doesn’t get a person “high” and can be used in the manufacture of commodities like clothing and rope.

The first hemp was grown in Kentucky in 1775 in Danville on Clark’s Run Creek. There was a reemergence of hemp production during World War II, but it wasn’t long after that the plant was outlawed and considered a controlled substance.

Kentucky’s earlier settlers brought hemp to the area. Hemp, as well as flax and wool, were the best options for fabric in a region of the country where cotton didn’t grow well.

Counties producing the most hemp were located in the Bluegrass region of the state and were either near or along the Kentucky River. Fayette, Woodford, Shelby, Clark, Scott, Bourbon, Jessamine, Mason, Franklin, Boyle and Lincoln proved to be the largest hemp-producing counties during the 19th century.

During the 1830s, Maysville was the state’s second largest producer of hemp products, bags, rope and twine.

The Old Hemp Warehouse once stood at the corner of Sutton and West Third streets.  The building was constructed sometime in the 1840s and later became the Leslie H. Arthur American Legion Post 13.

Research on the property shows that William Phillips sold the property in 1837 to Thomas Shreve for $15,000.  In his 1902 will, O.H. P Thomas left the property, then called Wells Warehouse, to his wife, Mary.  It was conveyed to the American Legion in 1933 from the Maysville Produce Company.

In 1996, the building and its history were at the center of controversy, when the Mason County Fiscal Court, after seeking other alternatives, voted to have the building razed for a new justice center.  The old courthouse was out of space and the Administrative Office of the Courts in Frankfort financed the construction of the new building. 

Newspaper accounts at the time show a divided community, with members of the Mason County Historical Society and the community battling local officials or supporting them. 

And although Danville had converted its old hemp warehouse into a student center, no alternative uses could be found for the hemp warehouse in Maysville.

The following history on hemp in Mason County is taken from History of Maysville and Mason County., Ky by G. Glenn Clift, published in 1936.

Unfortunately, the history is brief and doesn’t illustrate just how much this particular crop infused the local economy until its gradual decline following the American Civil War.

“Hemp was formerly the staple crop of the county, reaching its highest yield in 1847. From that time the acreage gradually declined, and today cultivation has entirely ceased.”

“Agricultural interests were boosted in Mason County with the introduction, in the spring of 1853, of a new species oh hemp, the seed for which was brought by L. Maltby from abroad.”

Maltby was in France in 1851 and learned there had been introduced the So-ma or Chinese Hemp, which was found to yield much more than the Russian.  It required longer and warmer seasons than those of France to mature the seed, and consequently the seed was raised in Algiers and imported into France to be sown for lint, as it gave a yield one-third greater than the Russian hemp. 

He communicated this information to the Maysville press.

“…I brought the seed to this country and in the spring of ’52, Mr. C. A. Marshall and myself both planted seed of it, and I sent some to Louisiana. Mr. M. succeeded in raising seed there, finding it mature about three weeks later than the native plant. In Louisiana it was easily raised…This spring (1853) Captain Peyton J. Key, near this place (Washington) sowed about an acre with this seed. The hemp is now standing, and is some two feet higher than the native hemp sown on the same day in an adjoining piece of ground.  It will average nearly ten feet in height, stand thicker on the ground and will not be ready to cut till next week (September 1) – some ten days later than the hemp sown by the side of it.  It is of a light green, with a narrow leaf, of deep indentation. It promises to lint very heavily. As far as any comparison can be made with the old variety, in the present green state of both, some farmers think it will give double the lints…”

In 1854, the area suffered a severe drought, which forced higher prices locally….in January 1855, an agent was sent (by farmers) to France and Russia for the express purpose of buying in those countries 30,000 bushels of hemp seed.  So severe had been the drought that seed enough could not be found in the United States.  The agent was able to procure only 4,000 bushels, which was imported to Mason County at Maysville…”

The following is taken from the Explore Kentucky History website:

“Kentuckians also manufactured hemp into marketable products. The largest use of hemp was in making rope and the woven bagging that bundled cotton bales. Ropewalks turned out thousands of yards of hemp cordage, and factory looms in Lexington, Danville, and Frankfort wove the bagging. Another significant consumer of Kentucky hemp was the United States Navy, which used the rope for ships’ rigging.

Hemp production declined during the Civil War. Although some hemp was still grown in Kentucky at that time, the cotton market in the deep South, and, therefore, the market for cordage and bagging, was cut off. Farmers instead looked to other crops that were more marketable. After the war, the hemp market fluctuated with the cotton market. With slavery abolished, finding labor proved difficult.

Hemp made a strong comeback during the Spanish-American War and again during World War One and World War Two. Although the production of hemp became illegal during the latter part of the 20th century, recent years have seen an increased interest in producing industrial hemp in Kentucky.”

Research for this article conducted at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, Clift’s History of Maysville and Mason County and www.explorekyhistory.ky.gov.

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Locust Grove offers hemp education for a second year

Thursday, February 4, 2016

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Locust Grove offers hemp education for a second year

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Historic Locust Grove, located in Louisville, will be participating in the hemp pilot program for a second year. Last season, the historic site planted the first hemp crop in Jefferson County since World War II. While there are no immediate records showing hemp was ever a significant part of Locust Grove’s history, the area is known for hemp farming and manufacturing.

Last year, Locust Grove hosted a Hemp Festival for the community to celebrate hemp’s heritage in the bluegrass. Vendors from across the country joined to offer a hemp educational experience everyone enjoyed. We enjoyed our day educating others about the past, present and future of the Kentucky hemp industry at our booth! 

We’re looking forward to partnering with Locust Grove to host the Hemp Festival for a second year, and offer additional educational opportunities and workshop’s throughout the season! Stay tuned for event details and ways you can get involved.

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Kentucky hemp was king before steamships, free trade and reefer madness

Widely used fiber plant was key to Lexington’s early wealth and prosperity

Ropewalks and bag factories once stood amid city’s historic neighborhoods

FBI later went to UK historians seeking evidence slaves, field hands got high

 

 

By Tom Eblen

teblen@herald-leader.com

 

Hemp has been branded an outlaw for decades because it looks like its mind-altering botanical cousin, marijuana. But before steamships, free trade, synthetic fibers and reefer madness, this useful plant was Kentucky’s biggest cash crop.

Kentucky grew most of America’s hemp throughout the 1800s, but it was often a tortured relationship.

An undated postcard shows a Kentucky hemp field.

An undated postcard shows a Kentucky hemp field. University of Kentucky Special Collections

“Except for the history of tobacco, no other Kentucky field crop has undergone so many frustrating turns of fortune or come under such intense scrutiny,” the late state historian Thomas D. Clark wrote in 1998, describing hemp’s “aura of romance and … cloud of evil.”

Kentucky’s earliest settlers brought hemp seeds over the mountains with them. Archibald McNeill planted the first recorded crop in 1775 near Danville. Farmers soon realized that Central Kentucky’s rich soil and plentiful rainfall made it an ideal place to grow the most widely used fiber for rope, sailcloth and industrial bags.

Kentucky hemp farmers were never trying to get high — just rich.

John Wesley Hunt, Kentucky’s first millionaire and builder of the Hunt-Morgan house, made his fortune in the hemp industry, as did his next-door neighbors, Thomas Hart and Benjamin Gratz. Hart’s son-in-law, the politician Henry Clay, was a big hemp grower and advocate for the crop in Congress.

Several Bluegrass plantation owners named their mansions Waveland because they were surrounded by fields of lacy-topped hemp waving in the breeze.

Slavery was as important to Kentucky’s hemp industry as rich soil and plentiful water. Harvesting and preparing hemp before modern processing machines was difficult, back-breaking work that few people did by choice.

After growing tall in summer, hemp stalks were cut at first frost, shocked and then spread out on the ground to begin to rot. After this curing, a device called a hemp brake was used to separate fiber from the stalk. The fibers were then twisted into rope or spun into fabric.

During the half-century before the Civil War, hemp was Lexington’s biggest industry. The city had 18 rope and bag factories in 1838 that employed 1,000 workers — an impressive number for a city of 6,800 people.

Long sheds or open-air “ropewalks” were built around town for hemp fibers to be twisted into rope. An 1855 Lexington map shows several ropewalks and bag factories in the blocks north of Short Street.

Future Confederate general John Hunt Morgan and his wife’s brother, Sanders Bruce, who would become a Union colonel, had one of the city’s largest hemp factories on East Third Street behind the mansion now called Carrick House.

One of Lexington’s last remnants of the antebellum hemp industry is a small brick cottage on East Third Street, across from the log cabin on Transylvania University’s campus. It was the office of Thomas January’s ropewalk, which spread out behind it.

The biggest markets for hemp were sailcloth and rigging for ships and the growing Southern cotton trade, which used hemp rope and bags to package cotton bales. The Navy was a large but fickle client, despite the political clout Kentuckians wielded in Washington.

The peak years of hemp production, in the 1850s, saw Kentucky produce 40,000 of the 71,500 tons of hemp fiber grown in America. The Civil War began a great unraveling of Kentucky’s hemp industry and its biggest client, the Southern cotton industry, both of which depended on slave labor. Then things got worse.

Sailing ships were soon replaced by steamships, causing the sailcloth market to plummet. But the biggest blow was free trade agreements that removed tariffs on Asian jute, which was much cheaper to grow and process than hemp.

The hemp industry shrunk considerably, but Kentucky still dominated it. Ten Central Kentucky counties produced 90 percent of America’s hemp in 1889. Hemp remained the state’s biggest cash crop until 1915, when tobacco became king.

But more trouble was ahead. After Prohibition’s repeal in 1933, reformers focused on outlawing narcotics. Hysteria surrounding this first war on drugs included the famous 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film, Reefer Madness. Hemp was swept up in a 1937 marijuana law, although it got a reprieve in the early 1940s when Kentucky farmers were encouraged to grow hemp because World War II prevented the import of Asian jute.

Hemp contains little of the psychoactive chemical THC found in marijuana. Still, soon after World War II, the FBI asked the University of Kentucky’s History Department for evidence that slaves and field hands had tried to get high by smoking hemp leaves and blooms, wrote Clark, a history professor at the time.

“A case of a slave smoking hemp in the neighborhood of Owensboro could be documented,” he wrote, “but there was a vagueness about other instances.”

Tom Eblen: 859-231-1415, teblen@herald-leader.com, @tomeblen

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Hemp planted at Locust Grove

Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal 10:10 p.m. EDT June 5, 2015

 

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"Today hemp is grown mostly in Canada. and the seeds and oil are imported for culinary purposes, but historically hemp was cultivated mainly for use in canvas and rope."

Locust Grove will have a hemp festival on Aug. 9. It will include a hemp village where products can be purchased, a hemp café with foods made from hemp oil and seeds, rope and paper making demonstrations, and talks by experts on hemp.

Also at the festival two films will be shown — "Hemp for Victory," a World War II-era short documentary, and "Bringing It Home," a film about the modern benefits of hemp.

Sponsors of the festival include Rainbow Blossom, Caudill Seed & New Earth. Admission to the festival is $5 per person.

Locust Grove is a 55-acre, 18th-century farm site and National Historic Landmark at 561 Blankenbaker Lane, just off River Road. The site has a mansion that was the home of the Croghan family. It served as a gathering place for George Rogers Clark and his associates and was visited by several presidents.

The property has a welcome center with a gift shop, museum and meeting space.

Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at (502) 582-7089. Follow him on Twitter at @sheldonshafer.

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JIM HIGHTOWER: Cannabis Americas common sense

 

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015 11:00 am

In 1914, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst mounted a yellow-journalism crusade to demonize the entire genus of cannabis plants. Why? To sell newspapers, of course, but also because he was heavily invested in wood-pulp newsprint, and he wanted to shut down competition from paper made from hemp – a species of cannabis that is a distant cousin to marijuana but produces no high.

Hearst simply lumped hemp and marijuana together as the devil’s own product, and he was not subtle about generating public fear of all things cannabis. As Mother Jones reported in 2009, Hearst’s papers ran articles about “reefer-crazed blacks raping white women and playing ‘voodoo satanic’ jazz music.”

Actually, while hemp had been a popular and necessary crop for decades before the crackdown on all cannabis plants, marijuana was largely unknown in America at the time and little used, but its exotic name and unfamiliarity made it an easy target for fear mongers. The next wave of demonization came in 1936 with the release of an exploitation film classic, “Reefer Madness.” It was originally produced by a church group to warn parents to keep their children in check, lest they smoke pot – a horror that, as the film showed, would drive kids to rape, manslaughter, insanity and suicide.

Then Congress enthusiastically climbed aboard the anti-pot political bandwagon, passing a law that effectively banned the production, sale and consumption of marijuana and by default hemp. Hearst finally got his way, and the production of cannabis in the U.S. was outlawed. Signed by FDR on Aug. 2, 1937, this federal prohibition remains in effect today. Although it has been as ineffectual as Prohibition, the 1919-1933 experiment to stop people from consuming “intoxicating liquors,” this ban, for the most part, continues despite its staggering costs.

Until recent years, prohibitionists had been able to intimidate most reform-minded politicians with the simple threat to brand them as soft on drugs. But finally, with the help of some reform-minded activists and the general public, our politicians are starting to come to their senses on cannabis.

At the state level, 32 states have legalized medical marijuana in some form or another. And Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have legalized recreational uses of marijuana. While these are huge steps, what is truly remarkable is what has taken place in Congress just in the last year.

Tucked deep in the 2013 Farm Bill was a little amendment introduced by Representatives Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, and Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky. The amendment allows universities, colleges and State Agriculture Departments to grow industrial hemp for research in states that have made it legal to do so. California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia already have laws on their books to allow for this.

The most recent step forward to come out of Congress was in the last-minute federal spending bill in December. Democratic Rep. Sam Farr and Republican Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, both from California, included a provision in the bill to stop the DEA and DOJ from going after states that legalize medical marijuana. They can no longer conduct raids on licensed marijuana outlets that service patients who use marijuana to treat everything from the side effects of cancer treatments to epileptic seizures. The marijuana farmers are now safe to cultivate the plant, and the patients themselves are now safe from prosecution for possessing it.

Marijuana Policy Project and Vote Hemp are two organizations that are working tirelessly with the public and our lawmakers to change the laws and regulations surrounding cannabis. To learn more about how these groups are making a difference and to help get involved, connect with them at www.mpp.org and www.VoteHemp.com.

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Gatewood Galbraith: The Man Who Brought Hemp to Kentucky

 

 

By Sarah Baird on January 12, 2015

After decades of being demonized and damned, hemp is now officially sprouting its way back into Kentucky’s good graces.

Since the successful cultivation of the state’s first small-but-mighty legal “research” hemp crop early last year, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been eating hemp bars, talking about hemp-powered cars and exploring how hemp oil can help ease the pain of debilitating seizure disorders. There’s a new fervor around everything that could possibly be crafted with hemp — from rope to clothes — as the crop positions itself to potentially be the tobacco-replacing cash crop dreamed about by struggling farmers.

For those who have been watching the battle unfold, it seems to be a cruel twist of fate that hemp has gained thoroughbred-like momentum in the state two short years since the death of its colorful, decades-long champion: Gatewood Galbraith.

The pop music scene and art world have their fair share of celebrities famous enough to go by a single name, from Beyoncé to Bono. In Kentucky, Gatewood was the only man in the state (and perhaps, all of politics) to find mononymous notoriety. All Kentuckians knew Gatewood, but many did not know his last name.

In Kentucky, Gatewood was the only man in the state (and perhaps, all of politics) to find mononymous notoriety.

Gatewood was nothing short of a cult figure. Known far and wide as the hemp-promoting, pro-gun, big-grinning, marijuana-loving lawyer — who ran unsuccessfully for governor five times — Gatewood was a perennial character in Kentucky politics who refused to be boxed into party lines. Above all else, Gatewood believed the two-party system had failed the working class people and farmers of the state. With his lilting drawl, gentle demeanor and signature (completely non-hipster) fedora, the gangly, Ichabod Crane-like man was a 6’4″ fixture at intersections and street fairs for more than 40 years, shaking hands and talking — mostly — about the virtues of hemp as a cash crop.

“When I first met Gatewood, it was at his election night party in 2002 when he ran for Congress,” says former Kentucky Democratic Party Executive Director Jeremy Horton. “It was two rooms connected at the old-school Continental Inn [in Lexington]. About an hour in, I found my way into his room. There were about ten people inside and Gatewood was sitting on the bed, shirtless, wearing a sombrero, smoking a cigar and talking about farm subsidies.”

Born in the bucolic town of Carlisle and educated at the University of Kentucky for both his undergraduate degree and law school, Gatewood was consistently a man before his time. His positions on key environmental, farming and rural issues often positioned him as a zany outlier in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, many of his views seem downright mainstream: from hemp as a cash crop to medicinal marijuana to supporting and promoting small farmers. In retrospect, it’s easy to see Gatewood as a kind of pied piper on these issues, attracting Kentucky politicians slowly and steadily over the years with his song until, eventually, some of them joined the march.

Between campaigns for statewide office, Gatewood made a name for himself as a defense attorney, including serving as pro bono counsel in the country’s first felony medical marijuana case. He fought against the spraying of paraquat in the Daniel Boone National Forest in the 1980s, gaining national attention for his prescient opposition to the toxic herbicide. (The New York Times referred to him in 1983 as, “…an unsuccessful candidate for state agricultural commissioner … who favors legalizing marijuana.”) He opposed the mountaintop removal method of mining in Eastern Kentucky, noting that it had caused “unsurpassed environmental damage” across the region. His real calling card, however, was hemp.

“Cannabis is to hemp as Dennis Rodman is to Danny DeVito. They’re both adult males, but if you can’t distinguish between the two you don’t belong in law enforcement,” Gatewood famously told a Lexington, Kentucky. alt-weekly in 2000, his gently ribbing nature softening a hard-hitting truth.

Photo courtesy Kentucky Educational Television.

Photo courtesy Kentucky Educational Television.

Everywhere he traveled, Gatewood touted the economic benefits of industrial hemp as a cash crop, citing Kentucky’s long and successful history as a hemp-producing state prior to its prohibition in 1937. He found allies in nooks and crannies not often touched by politics, from elderly farmers whose families had successfully grown hemp in the early part of the 20th century to enterprising entrepreneurs who could see how the legalization of hemp could jumpstart stagnant rural economies.

“One hundred years ago, the farmer produced all of the fiber, all of the medicine, all of the fuel and all of the food that society consumes,” Gatewood told a team of documentarians in the 1990s. “Does the government have the right [today] to tell man or woman that they cannot plant a seed in God’s green earth and consume the green natural plant that comes up out of it? That seems such an inalienable right.”

Of course, the virtues of marijuana were also never far from his rhetoric. Old ladies would frequently clutch their pearls when Gatewood openly discussed smoking weed — which he claimed cured his asthma as a young man — and called to end the prohibition of marijuana in the state for medicinal purposes.

State Senator Perry Clark of Louisville honored his late friend posthumously in 2013 by introducing the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, which aimed to loosen regulations around the prescription of marijuana. While the bill didn’t pass, it served as a call to action and a tribute to Gatewood’s trailblazing ways.

“For the better part of 40 years, [Gatewood] has been talking about the benefits of medical marijuana,” Clark told The Daily Chronic in 2012. “And right now there are hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who are suffering and they need and deserve access to this plant that our grandfathers and our great grandfathers grew by the thousands of acres.”

Gatewood’s left field stances and larger-than-life persona also attracted a number of celebrity friends and admirers. In 1991, Gatewood appeared — a toothy grin spread wide across his face — on the cover of High Times with friend and fellow pot-smoking icon Willie Nelson, who campaigned on his behalf from Louisville to Lexington. When Woody Harrelson was arrested in 1996 for planting four hemp seeds in Lee County, Kentucky as a deliberate challenge to state cannabis laws, Gatewood was right by his side in support. Four years later (after Harrelson was acquitted) the two starred in the 2003 film, Hempsters: Plant the Seed.

Sometimes, the cold, hard facts rattled off by Gatewood were overshadowed by his flamboyant stump-speaking mannerisms and propensity for offbeat humor. Gatewood was often known to refer to politicians (particularly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) as “aliens” and believed firmly in “the petro-chemical-pharmaceutical-military-industrial-transational-corporate-fascist-elite-bastards” complex, which he frequently referenced at speaking engagements and in his now infamous book, The Last Free Man in America: Meet the Synthetic Subversion.

“The problem is that the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries control this country,” Gatewood said in a 1991 interview. “Hemp is the greatest product. Hemp is petroleum. It’s no coincidence that in 1937 when hemp was outlawed, nylon was patented. The true battle on this planet today is between the naturals and the synthetics.”

A consummate advocate for family farms and policies to help reconnect individuals to the land, it’s almost impossible to imagine that Kentucky’s current bipartisan bear hug of hemp would’ve happened without Gatewood’s maverick campaigning.

“He arrived [at a Tea Party function] and everyone said, ‘Oh, Gatewood, you know, thank you so much for coming. It’s wonderful to have you here,’” Galbraith’s 2011 gubernatorial running mate, Dea Riley, told NPR in 2012 after his death. “And Gatewood responded, ‘What are you talking about? I’ve been here for 30 years. Where have you people been?’”

The tide may be turning for Gatewood to get his due as the bullhorn that paved the way for the state’s recent hemp victories. A dedicated group of hemp advocates and Gatewood devotees are planning the first ever “Kentucky HempFest” for September 2015 in honor of their late, great patron saint.

The event’s alternative name? Gatewoodstock.

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Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970

Shortly after the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act went into effect on October 1, 1937, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Denver City police arrested Moses Baca for possession and Samuel Caldwell for dealing.

 

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^ "The First Pot POW". Retrieved 2011-03-18. "On the day the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was enacted — Oct. 2, 1937 — the FBI and Denver, Colo., police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed labourer and Moses Baca, 26. On Oct. 5, Caldwell went into the history trivia books as the first marijuana seller convicted under U.S. federal law. His customer, Baca, was found guilty of possession."

 

 

Baca and Caldwell’s arrest made them the first marijuana convictions under U.S. federal law for not paying the marijuana tax.[19] Judge Foster Symes sentenced Baca to 18 months and Caldwell to four years in Leavenworth Penitentiary for violating the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

After the Philippines fell to Japanese forces in 1942, the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Army urged farmers to grow fiber hemp. Tax stamps for cultivation of fiber hemp began to be issued to farmers. Without any change in the marijuana Tax Act, 400,000 acres (1,600 km2) were cultivated with hemp between 1942 and 1945. The last commercial hemp fields were planted in Wisconsin in 1957.

In 1967, President Johnson’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of justice opined, "The Act raises an insignificant amount of revenue and exposes an insignificant number of marijuana transactions to public view, since only a handful of people are registered under the Act. It has become, in effect, solely- a criminal law, imposing sanctions upon persons who sell, acquire, or possess marijuana."

In 1969 in Leary v. United States, part of the Act was ruled to be unconstitutional as a violation of the Fifth Amendment, since a person seeking the tax stamp would have to incriminate him/herself. In response the Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.[23] The 1937 Act was repealed by the 1970 Act.

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