The history of cannabis suppression is complex, especially over the last 80 or so years, and this documentary sheds some light on the hemp plant’s countless uses and how nearly every culture throughout history has utilized it. Hemp fiber is one of the strongest natural fibers known and resistant to rot, which gives it thousands of uses in the textile industries. Also known as marijuana, this versatile plant can be made into soap, rope, paper, clothing, building material, burnable fuels, detergents, tools and even weapons, medicine of all sorts and so much more. Seeds can be made into a highly nutritious protein food source, all without the need of pesticides. The Magic Weed documentary shows us that it is time for humans to recognize and understand that this plant could literally save the world from the greed driven corporations such as the cotton, polymer plastics and pharmaceutical industries that were largely responsible for the propaganda and illegalization.
Cannabis Sativa is one of the most ancient plants cultivated by mankind. Hemp processing was already developed in China 8000 years before Christ was born. Hemp was first harvested for its seeds, a rich source of amino acids used for food. Then it was discovered that by breaking the stalks, they could use the fibers to make paper, as well as fishing nets and up to 5000 Hemp related products, including of course textiles. The ancient Chinese called their country The Land of Hemp and Mulberry. Mulberry leaves were used to feed silk worms from which was produced the precious silk that only the rich and powerful could afford. Everyone else wore hemp clothing. Hemp was called “ma” by the Chinese, literally meaning plant with two forms, male and female. The Chinese had originally used bamboo to make bow strings, but then they discovered the hemp fiber was stronger and lasted longer. Imperial decrees ordered that certain areas of the land would be exclusively used to grow hemp.
England has been using hemp as a strategic material for centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century, ropes and sails for ships were exclusively made from hemp. But 90% of this hemp was imported from Italy and Russia. The United Kingdom was seriously worried about maintaining its hemp supplies during the expansion of the Napoleonic empire. King George III of England decided to increase the cultivation of hemp and develop its production in the sea ports along the south coast of Britain.
Now, Bridport is a most remarkable seaport. It’s been making, growing, manufacturing hemp, flax, sail cloth, ropes, twines, nets of every conceivable description since time out of mind. And I use the phrase time out of mind because it was used in a charter by King John in 1213 where he wrote to the Bourgeois of Bridport and exhorted them night and day to make cables and ropes of every description. There were frequent wars with France, certainly from early medieval times until of course Napoleonic Wars. And Bridport took part in that span of history.
In 1803 the British navy organized a blockade against France. Napoleon counteracted by signing an agreement with Czar Alexander I. This contract was called the Tilsit Treaty and it explicitly forbade any export of hemp to England and America, therefore depriving them both of the use of hemp towards their sail cloth, rope, and other hemp product used in the war effort. Despite Napoleon’s protests, Alexander I allowed merchants to smuggle hemp to Britain. This is one of the reasons why Napoleon decided to invade Russia. But the severe winter of 1912 forced him to withdraw his troops and led to the end of his empire.
A real fashion began with this look on hemp. Hemp has become so popular in Germany that the market today is very good for us. Some of our textiles come from eastern Europe, from Hungary, Romania, very few from China because we are not yet satisfied with the quality. And we have also our own textiles directly produced here in Germany. I hope it will soon be legal to grow hemp in Germany because a lot of European countries already do it. We still have a very strong bureaucratic system in Germany and for this reason we are not yet allowed to grow hemp. But I think hemp growing will soon be legalized here too.
The main difference is certainly that hemp is an ecological culture. Hemp growing doesn’t need any weed killing, no pesticide. Its raw material grows naturally and it doesn’t need chemical intervention. This is surely the most important thing.
In France you can even build houses out of boards made from hemp fiber. The producers ensure that they are protected against fire and rot. This material is long lasting, has good insulating properties and strong and flexible.