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57071.  Sun Mar 05, 2006 8:04 am Reply with quote

Question: What were the first drug criminals in America jailed for?

Answer: For NOT growing marijuana.

The first drug law ever passed in America, was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It ordered all farmers to grow at least 100 hemp plants, some farmers were jailed for breaking this law during the nation’s hemp shortage of the 1760s.

After the conquest of South America, the Spanish conquistadors were sending back great hauls of gold and silver from the new world. England also hoped to find such booty in the North of the continent, but while it did not materialise, in the early 17th Century, hemp became the most important commodity of the new world, used to make rope, cloth and canvases.

In 1611 Sir Thomas Dale, colonial governor of Virginia, told a gathering of colonists that the King expected them to grow hemp for the motherland and by 1616 the hemp of Jamestown was described as “none better in England or Holland”. However, it was not long before the demand for tobacco outstripped the demand for hemp, and farmers obviously decided to turn their attention to the more profitable plant. To combat this, America’s first ever drug law was passed in 1619, stating that every colonist in Jamestown should "set 100 [hemp] plants and the governor to set 5,000".

Obviously this hemp was not used for smoking, and indeed it wouldn’t be until the start of the 20th century that laws banning the smoking of marijuana came into force. Marijuana smoking in Mexico, especially among the revolutionary fighters who occasionally spilled over the border, had become widespread, and became associated with the fear and prejudice against Spanish speaking immigrants. When a group of Mormons arrived back from Mexico smoking the plant in 1915, the church decided to pass the first law prohibiting the drug. Other states soon followed suit.

57258.  Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:53 pm Reply with quote

Elizabeth I passed a similar law in this country in 1563 - see post 16191 from last year...

Frederick The Monk
57305.  Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:03 am Reply with quote

Money for new rope!

The US repealed its ban on growing hemp during WWII as manila hemp was all grown in Japanese controlled area and they were getting a little short. Here's a 'Marihuana' production permit to grow it from that time.

64268.  Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:56 am Reply with quote

Speaking of Jamestown ... in 1676 a company of soldiers mistook Datura stramonium (known in the UK as Thorn-apple, and in the US - after 1676 - as Jimsonweed) for an edible wild fruit, and bunged it in a salad. “The men were rendered helpless as they staggered round for eleven days in an inebriated state before they recovered completely.” The plant can, however be fatal. It “contains many of the same alkaloids as Deadly Nightshade and was grown during the Second World War in Britain as a source of these compounds for medicinal use.”

It is occasionally found growing in people’s gardens, along with hemp, as a result of spillage from birdseed.

Source: Bird Table, Spring 2006.

207736.  Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:14 am Reply with quote

I don't quite get it... why people are so interested about some stupid law 400 years back when our issues are right now, present time etc.
Some people want marijuana to be legalized. I agree that everyone should speak their mind. Let's just hope that we wont see every friend of ours in a drug treatment center.

207766.  Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:17 am Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum anyway mola.

207775.  Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:03 am Reply with quote

I don't quite get it... why people are so interested about some stupid law 400 years back...

Because it is Quite Interesting that such a law existed, given modern society's current view on drugs and the growing of said plants.

The site is called, after all. Oh, and welcome to the site, mola.




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