The hemp plant has had a curious relationship with the worlds legal codes throughout the ages. As noted before, it has variously been illegal to grow hemp and not to grow it at different times. But hemp has also played a direct role in law enforcement.
For example: The most serious punishment/rehabilitation meted out in many African tribes for capital crimes was forcing the transgressor to smoke massive amounts of dagga (cannabis) non-stop for hours on end in a small, enclosed hut until he passes outliterally unconscious from inhaling the fumes. The equivalent of a year or twos supply for a heavy American smoker is consumed in just an hour or so. Does it work? African users say the rate of repeat criminal offenses after dagga treatment is virtually non-existent.
European and American cultures used hemp to enforce their laws in a more terminal form of capital punishment: the hangmans noose* of hempen rope.
* Merry boys are we / As ere did sing / In a hempen string / Under the gallows tree. John Fletcher Rollo, Duke of Normandy; Act III, sc. 3; 1639. Were bound to stop this business, or hang you to a man / For weve hemp and hand enough in town to hang the whole damn clan. From a horse thiefs tombstone in Rapid City, SD, 1877: Shushan, E.R.; Grave Matters; Ballantine Books, NY, 1990. Also see Hemp for Victory, USDA film; 1942.
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