Grow More Pot
by Jello Biafra
on I Blow Minds for a Living (1991)
Does anybody out there know that for the first time in American history the U.S. Army was used in a war operation against the American people? Right near here, up in Humboldt County about 200 miles north of San Francisco right near a town called Shelter Cove, get this: three- to four-hundred American G.I.s dressed with automatic rifles and fully armed for battle, fanned out on maneuvers through the woods, backed up by a dozen Blackhawk attack helicopters. The mountain people up there were frightened out of their wits! They thought there was a war going on, especially the ones that had soldiers kicking in the doors to their cabins and putting guns to their heads in front of their children.
Why!? Who was the enemy in this war? Not the communists! Not Saddam Hussein! Not Earth First! or even the spotted owl. No! The enemy they called out the army to put down, secretly, so few people outside of Humboldt would get alarmed as possible, it wasn't even a person or an army or a terrorist group! It was a plant, the marijuana plant.
And they actually did manage to find a few for the G.I.s to pull up, and then they had to fly in more from the government stash so the pile would look big enough when they lit the bonfire for the network TV news cameras, so that they could say "Yes! Another triumph in the Drug War!"
Drug War. War. The American army sent to war against the American people. And we're supposed to feel relieved and secure and protected. Protected from what?!
A lot of people with more guts than I'll ever have risked their life and limb all last summer at the Earth First! Redwood Summer Action up in Humboldt County. They were chaining themselves to redwoods that were three times wider than they were, 800 years old, they were spread-eagled, as the saws buzzed right over their heads. They stood in the dirt as the bulldozers charged them and stopped right at their toes. Or people waved clubs at them, charged them with logging trucks, shotguns, you name it. All to try to save some of the last unspoiled virgin forest we have left anywhere in this country from being chopped down and turned into toilet paper, TV Guides and the Weekly World News.
On the other side the loggers saying "What about our jobs!? What about our families!? What about our lives?! You needed wood and cardboard to make those protest signs!"
We need fuel! We need paper! It's almost gone! Where are we gonna get more? The answer, for centuries, has been right under our nose: grow more pot!
If we're serious about saving the earth, saving the ozone and our freedom to go about saving the earth and the ozone, we should start by paying all those dirt-poor coca farmers in South America and out-of-work loggers in Fortuna and Eureka, and Midwest family farmers and rust-belt families too, to all get together and grow more pot!
Why? Get ready for this...! There's a book out called The Emperor Wears No Clothes. The author's name is Jack Herer. It's published by Queen of Clubs, and I think there's ads for it in High Times, or NORML, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, could direct you to a copy I'm sure, and in this book, among other places, it is written that before the 20th century, the marijuana plant provided almost all the world's paper, all the world's clothing and textiles, and almost all the world's rope.
According to none other than the U.S. Department of Agriculture you can make four times as much paper from one acre of hemp plants as you can from an acre of trees. And instead of chopping down all the redwoods in Humboldt County and turning Northern California, Oregon and Washington and Appalachia into the Sahara Desert, if you do it with hemp plants, you can just grow another crop a few months later and make more paper! At one-quarter the cost of making paper from wood pulp and only one-fifth the pollution. The ancient Romans knew this and grew it, Henry VIII made each farmer in old England grow their share, because they knew if you want the strongest natural fiber there is, you all have gotta do your part for the King and grow more pot!
And we did, too! Guess what Levi jeans were originally made out of? And guess what American flags used to be made out of? And guess what the early drafts of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were written on? And if that's too un-Christian for you, guess what they made Guttenberg and King James Bibles out of? Guess what you can use to power a car? You can get at least four times as much cellulose to make gasohol or methanol from hemp stems as you can from a corn stalk. Which along with solar energy would be a great way to avoid dying for oil in Saudi Arabia.
In the 1920s and 1930s most American cars and farm machinery had the option of running on gas or on methanol; most racing cars still do run on methanol. And George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis on their plantations and smoked it, too!
In the 1760s in the American colonies you could even be jailed for not growing pot! Because that was part of the key to becoming economically independent from Britain. Hemp was legal tender in the Americas, a substitute for money, from 1630 clear up to the early 1800s. And hemp seeds are a great source of protein, better than soybeans, and it's cheaper than soybeans, too. Or so says the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Marijuana is legal for medical use in 34 states used to treat glaucoma and pain caused by cancer, and you can digest more protein from a hemp seed than a soybean seed. It's even shown some signs at being able to combat herpes. And, guess what kind of a parachute Mr. Drug War Junta-Man himself George Bush used when he bailed out of that bomber in World War II?
Hemp was illegal by then, but farmers were briefly ordered to grow it again in this country for the war effort and all, and the U.S. Army had their own stash all along in the colonies in the Philippines.
So, how did everything get turned around so damn bad? Doesn't it strike you as a little dumb that we burn oil and choke ourselves and chop down all our trees and ruin innocent people's lives by branding them criminals and throwing them in jails, or sending them off to drug camps, or taking all their property and selling it before they're brought to trial? In the process, making crack and heroin cheaper and easier to get than pot? Why do we do this when we don't have to?
Meanwhile the Police Chief of L.A., Darryl Gates gets front page approval for telling a U.S. Senate committee that pot smokers should be shot on sight. Because smoking pot is treason because, after all, it's illegal.
Why was marijuana cracked down on? And why was it done so violently? Well ... Ready?!
In 1936 Popular Mechanics magazine hailed the invention of a new machine to process hemp, predicting that marijuana/hemp would once again become the world's largest cash crop. This did not at all sit well with people like Hearst Paper Manufacturing or Kimberly-Clark or other cutthroat multinationals who happen to have large timber holdings. It didn't sit to well with tobacco barons for obvious reasons, and it sure as hell didn't sit too well with old buddies Du
Pont. Hemp processing uses only one-fifth the chemicals need to process wood pulp, and Du
Pont had just patented a new wood pulp sulfide process, and Du
Pont's patented plastic fibers had just passed up hemp as the No. 2 fiber, next to cotton, and they wanted to keep it that way!
And the last thing the big drug companies wanted was to lose their share of the ever lucrative disease industry market, to more affordable medicine made from marijuana or other natural ingredients because, check this out, you can't own and make money off a patent for medicine in this country, unless the medicine has chemicals in it. If it's all natural ingredients, you can't patent it. Maybe that's why we don't have access to a cure for cancer or AIDS, or why the health food store I go to keeps getting harassed by federal authorities for selling herbal medicines.
Meanwhile, guess who owns Congress? So marijuana was outlawed in 1937 and they fanned the racism fires playing the racism card just like they do when they want to crack down on rock-and-roll or rap or hip hop or something like that. They said that smoking marijuana might cause you to fall under the influence of listening to jazz! I believe that it was even said on the floor of Congress that marijuana had to be banned because smoking it might make a black man look at a white woman twice. And let's not forget that U.S. Treasury Department funded documentary film, called, "Reefer Madness!" So marijuana was outlawed as devil weed in 1937. Only 53 years ago it was legal. Need I say more, on why our beloved fearless leaders go out of their way to censor our access to information so damn much? Can you imagine the mass outrage if this kind of stuff ever really got out? And people knew that this big drug problem that they keep reading about and hearing about is being caused by the government themselves? And people knew how easily each one of us individually could turn our ecological and human crisis around without resorting to Nazi bullshit like oil wars and drug wars by just saying no! to George Bush.
And if people knew that the very companies that provide us with such crucial conveniences as Kleenex, paper towels and junk mail, have systematically and brutally rearranged every single one of our lives so that we are literally wiping our ass with out own future?
And it doesn't have to be this way! I mean, I'll tell you, I do feel kind of funny saying all this because I used to be a pothead and I hate smoking the stuff, and the whole low-energy stoner Deadhead vibe that comes with it. But, you don't need to smoke pot to realize that the real drug problem in this country is not the drugs. And we can help solve drug problems, crime problems, environmental problems - even our racial problems if we say no to George Bush and get together and grow more pot!