Myth, Magic & Medicine
by Jack Herer
A Look at the Sociology of Cannabis Use Throughout World History
Contrary to popular perception,” marijuana” is not a phenomenon rooted in the 1960s.
Cannabis hemp is part of our global heritage and was the backbone of our most stable and longest surviving cultures.
Recent psycho-pharmacological studies have discovered that THC has its own unique receptor sites in the brain, indicating man and marijuana have a pre-cultural relationship—indeed, human culture could very well prove to be the blossom of our symbiosis with cannabis.
What’s in a Name?
The following is derived from the 1913 USDA Agriculture Yearbook section on hemp by Lyster Dewey, p. 283-293:
The name “hemp,” from the Old English “hanf,” came into use in Middle English by 1000 A.D. and still belongs primarily to cannabis sativa. It is also used to designate the long fiber obtained from that plant: the earliest, best-known and, until recently, the most widely used textile fiber on Earth.
It has long been regarded as the standard among long fibers. As such, its name has come to be used as a generic term for all long fibers, whereas Indian hemp or true hemp denotes cannabis hemp. Now, commodity markets list names like “Manila hemp,” abacá; “sisal hemp,” sisal and henequen; “Mauritius hemp,” for Furcraea fiber; “New Zealand hemp,” phormium; “Sunn hemp,” Crotalaria; and “India hemp,” for jute. All these plants are unlike true hemp in appearance and in economic properties. Curiously, the name hemp is never applied to flax, which is more nearly like hemp than any other commercial fiber. True hemp is known in different languages by the following names: cannabis, Latin; chanvre, French; cañamo, Spanish; canhamo, Portuguese; canapa, Italian; canep, Albanian; konopli, Russian; konopi and penek, Polish; kemp, Belgian; hanf, German; hennup, Dutch; hamp, Swedish; hampa, Danish; tai-ma, dai-ma and tse-ma, Chinese; asa and taima, Japanese; nasha, Turkish; kanabira, Syrian; kannab, Arabic.
First Known Cannabis Users
Ancient and modern historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and philologists cite physical evidence (artifacts, relics, textiles, cuneiform, languages, etc.) indicating that cannabis is one of mankind’s oldest cultivated crops. The weaving of hemp fiber as an industry began 10,000 years ago, at approximately the same time as pottery-making and prior to metal working.*
*Columbia History of the World, Harper & Row, New York, 1981.
By the 27th century B.C., the Chinese cultivated “Ma” (cannabis hemp) for fiber, medicine and herbal use. Approximately 3,700 years later (circa 1000 A.D.), China called cannabis “Tai-Ma,” or “great hemp,” to differentiate it from the minor fiber plants, which were now grouped under the generic fiber term “Ma.” Their pictogram for true or great hemp is a large “man,” indicating the strong relationship between man and hemp.
From at least the 27th century B.C. until this century, cannabis was incorporated into virtually all cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, Europe and Africa.
Between 2300 B.C. & 1000 B.C.:
Nomadic tribes, probably from central Asia and Persia (Iran and Iraq), referred to in legend as “Aryans,” invaded and overran virtually the entire Mediterranean and Middle East and spread out over the Caucasus and west into Europe.
In the course of these movements and invasions, the nomads introduced cannabis and its various uses north and west through Greece, Europe, the Middle East, to Egypt and Africa, as well as south and east over the Himalayas to India.
Hemp was incorporated into the cultures of the Middle East and India for its vast food, oil, fiber, medicinal and drug uses. Not only was hemp a staple of everyday life; hemp medicines and drugs were a ritual link to the gods.*
*Generally, those who grew and/or used hemp for everyday industrial uses did not know and were not taught (by religious law/threat/taboo) that their priest/shaman/witch doctor/etc. used different extractions from different parts of the exact same plant for sacrament, medicine, unguent, and as a commune with the gods.
Hemp & the Scythe
Cannabis was undoubtedly used by the Scythians for many reasons. For example, the ancient Scythians grew hemp and harvested it with a hand reaper that we still call a scythe. Cannabis inhalation by the Scythians in funeral rituals was recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus in the early 5th century B.C. The nomadic Scythians introduced the custom to other races such as the Thracians.
(Emboden, W.A., Jr., Flesh of the Gods, Praeger Press, NY, 1974.)
From at least the 27th century B.C. up until this century, cannabis was incorporated into virtually all the cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, Europe, and Africa for its superior fiber, medicines, oils, food and for its meditative, euphoric, and relaxational uses.
Hemp to Enforce the Law
The hemp plant has had a curious relationship with the world’s legal codes throughout the ages. As noted before, it has been illegal to grow hemp 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 or consume massive amounts of dagga (cannabis) non-stop for hours on end in a small, enclosed hut until he passes out literally unconscious from inhaling the fumes. The equivalent of a year or two’s 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 hangman’s noose* of hempen rope.
*”Merry boys are we…As e’re did sing… In a hempen string… Under the gallows tree.” John Fletcher Rollo, Duke of Normandy; Act III, sc. 3; 1639. “We’re bound to stop this business, or hang you to a man… For we’ve hemp and hand enough in town to hang the whole damn clan.” From a horse thief‘s tombstone in Rapid City, SD, 1877: Shushan, E.R.; Grave Matters; Ballantine Books, NY, 1990. Also see Hemp for Victory, USDA film; 1942.
Cannabis Herbal Medicines
The secret art of hemp medicine was found effective as wound healer, muscle relaxant, pain reliever, fever reducer and unparalleled aid to childbirth, not to mention hundreds of other medicinal applications.
(Mikuriya, Tod H., M.D., Marijuana: Medical Papers, 1839-1972, Medi-Comp Press, Oakland, CA, 1973; Shultes, R.E., Harvard Botanical; Ency. Brittanica; Abel, Ernest, Marijuana: The First 12,000 Years;. Plenum Press, 1980; Vera Rubin, Cannabis and Culture, Institute for the Study of Man, 1968-1974 and second studies 1974-1976; et. al.)
The division of information about this sacred herb and its industrial hemp uses were strictly maintained by the priests for thousands of years, up until the last few centuries. Those outside the priestly class who possessed drug knowledge were considered (by the priests, of course) to be witches/soothsayers/outlaws and the ilk, and were often condemned to death.
The Mystic Philosophers
Cannabis legend and consumption are fundamental aspects of many of the world’s great religions. For example:
SHINTOISM (Japan) – Cannabis was used for the binding together of married couples, to drive away evil spirits, and was thought to create laughter and happiness in marriage.
HINDUISM (India) – The God Shiva is said “to have brought cannabis from the Himalayas for human enjoyment and enlightenment.” The Sadhu Priests travel throughout India and the world sharing “chillum” pipes filled with cannabis, sometimes blended with other substances. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna states, “I am the healing herb” (Ch.9:16), while the Bhagarat-Purana Fifth Canto describes hashish in explicitly sexual terms.
BUDDHISM (Tibet, India and China) – from the 5th century B.C. on ritually used cannabis; initiation rites and mystical experiences were (are ) common in many Chinese Buddhist Sects. Some Tibetan Buddhists and lamas (priests) consider cannabis their most holy plant. Many Buddhist traditions, writings, and beliefs indicate that “Siddhartha” (the Buddha) himself, used and ate nothing but hemp and its seeds for six years prior to announcing (discovering) his truths and becoming the Buddha (Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path).
Regarding the ZOROASTRIANS or Magi (Persia, circa 8th to 7th Centuries B.C. to 3rd to 4th Centuries A.D.), it is widely believed by many Christian scholars, commentators, etc., that the three “Magi” or Wise Men who attended the birth of Christ were cult references to the Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrian religion was based (at least on the surface) on the entire cannabis plant, the chief religious sacrament of its priest class, and its most important medicine, (e.g., obstetrics, incense rites, anointing and christening oils), as well as lighting or fire oils in their secular world. The word “magic” is generally considered derived from the Zoroastrians “Magi.”
The ESSENES (ancient Israeli sect of extreme Hebrewites, approx. 200 B.C. to 73 A.D.) used hemp medicinally, as did the:
THERAPUTEA (Egypt), from whom we get the term “therapeutic.” Both are believed by some scholars to be disciples of, or in a brotherhood with, the priests/magicians of the Zoroastrians.
EARLY JEWS As part of their holy Friday night services in the Temple of Solomon, 60-80,000men ritually passed around and inhaled 20,000 incense burners filled with kanabosom (cannabis), before returning home for the largest meal of the week (munchies?).
SUFIS OF ISLAM (Middle East) – Moslem “mystical” priests who have taught, used and extolled cannabis for divine revelation, insight and oneness with Allah, for at least the last 1,000 years. Many Moslem and world scholars believe the mysticism of the Sufi Priests was actually that of the Zoroastrians who survived Moslem conquests of the 7th and 8th Centuries A.D. and subsequent conversion (change your religion and give up liquor or be beheaded).
COPTIC CHRISTIAN (Egypt/Ethiopia) – Some sects believe the sacred ”green herb of the field” in the Bible (“I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more” Ezekiel 34:29) and the Biblical secret incenses, sweet incenses and anointing oils to be cannabis.
The BANTUS (Africa) – had secret Dagga Cults,* societies which restricted cannabis use to the ruling men. The Pygmies, Zulus and Hottentots all found it an indispensable medication for cramps, epilepsy and gout, and as a religious sacrament.
*These “Dagga” cults believed Holy Cannabis was brought to Earth by the Gods, in particular from the “Two Dog Star” system that we call Sirius A and B. “Dagga” literally means “cannabis.” Interestingly, the surviving Indo-European word for the plant can also be read as “canna,” “reed” and “bi,” “two,” as well as “canna,” as in canine; and “bis,” meaning two (bi) “Two Dogs.”
The RASTAFARIANS (Jamaica and elsewhere) are a contemporary religious sect that uses “ganja” as its sacred sacrament to communicate with God (Jah).
United States government-funded studies at St. Louis Medical University in 1989 and the U.S. government’s National Institute of Mental Health in 1990 moved cannabis research into a new realm by confirming that the human brain has receptor sites for THC and its natural cannabis cousins to which no other compounds known thus far will bind.
In order for a chemical to affect the brain it must bind to a receptor site capable of receiving it.
(Omni, August 1989; Washington Post, Aug 9, 1990)
Although morphine fits the receptor sites of beta-endorphin roughly, and amphetamines correspond loosely to dopamine, these drugs as well as tricyclics and other mood altering drugs present grave danger to the subtle balance of the nerves’ vital fluids. Omni and the Washington Post cited no physical dangers in natural cannabis.
One reason cannabis is so safe to use is that it does not affect any of the involuntary muscles of breathing and life support. Rather, it affects its own specific receptor cites for motion (movement strategy) and memory (mental strategies).
On the molecular level, THC fits into receptor sites in the upper brain that seem to be uniquely designed to accommodate THC. This points to an ancient symbiosis between the plant and people.
Perhaps these neuronal pathways are the product of a pre-cultural relationship between humans and cannabis. Carl Sagan proposes evidence using the Bushmen of Africa to show hemp to have been the first plant cultivated by humanity dating to when he was a hunter-gatherer. Some scientist assume that these receptor sites did not evolve for the purpose of getting high: “There must be some kind of neuronal pathway in the brain that developed, whether there were cannabis plants or not,” speculated mystified St. Louis University pharmacology professor Allyn Howlett in 1989.
But, maybe not. In his book Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise, Dr. Ronald K. Siegel, psycho-pharmacologist at UCLA indicates the motivation to achieve altered states of consciousness or moods is a fourth drive akin to hunger, thirst, and sex. And humans aren’t the only ones to get high. Siegel recorded numerous observations of animal intentionally getting intoxicated during his experiments.
Cannabis hemp is part of our cultural, spiritual, and physiological heritage, and was the backbone of our most stable and long surviving cultures. So, if you want to know the long term effects of marijuana use look in the mirror!
Cloaked in Secrecy
The dawn or basis of religious beliefs in all races and peoples – Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Persian, Babylonian, Greek, Doric, Germanic and other European tribes, as well as African and North, South and Central American tribes arose as a result of accidental discoveries.
There were near-death experiences, deprivations – starvation, fasting, breath control, thirst, fever and uncontrolled revelry due to accidental fermentation or extraction of wine, beer, psilocybe and Amanita mushrooms, cannabis wine (bhang) and other psychoactives – which, when consumed, induced inexplicable, elevated experiences (compared to normal brutish experience). Chemicals in these sacred plants and herbs gave our ancestors unexpected, unprepared-for, unbelievable visions and journeys into the far corners of incredible consciousness and, sometimes, into feelings of universal brotherhood.
Understanding these drug-induced experiences and medications eventually became the most wondrous, desirable and necessary spiritual knowledge for each tribe. Healing! From which extraction? At what dose?
Holding this mystical tribal knowledge for future generations was a priceless task. To know which plants induced which experiences, at what levels and mixtures meant power for the bearer of such wisdom!
Thus, this “sacred store” of knowledge was jealously guarded by the herbal doctor/priest, and cryptically encoded in oral and written traditions and myths. Plants with psychoactive powers were imbued with human or animal attributes, for example, the Amanita Muscaria mushroom ring was represented by faeries.
To keep their political power, the priests, witch doctors and medicine men deliberately withheld these traditions from the “common” tribal members (and all other tribes). This also prevented the dangerous “sin” of accidental ingestion, concoction, or experimentation by the children of the tribe; nor could captured tribal members give up this sacred knowledge to their enemies.
These “old-time” drug and out-of-body religions and rituals, dating back to pre-history, were called “Oriental Mystery Religions” by the Romans from the Caesars’ time on.
Hemp was a major industry in biblical times. As in other cultures throughout the Middle East, the Hebrew tradition of mysticism (e.g., Cabala) was aware of, and entwined with, regional sects using natural intoxicants in their rituals. As usual, they hid this knowledge behind rituals, symbols and secret codes to protect natural sacraments like “sacred mushrooms” and mind-elevating herbs, including cannabis.
Allegro, J.M.; Sacred Mushroom & the Cross, Doubleday Co., 1970.
What Does the Bible Say?
Finding the encoded references to cannabis and other drugs is made more difficult by the lack of botanical names, discrepancy in translations, use of different “books” by different denominations, commentaries added to original texts, and periodic priestly purges of material considered inappropriate.
However, we find that the use of cannabis is never forbidden or even discouraged in the Bible. Some passages directly refer to the goodness of using herbs like cannabis and even go on to predict prohibition.
“And the Earth brought forth grass and herb-yielding seed after its kind and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself after its kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis: Chapt. 1: Verse 12 (King James Version of the Bible, unless noted).
“God makes the Earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent man should not neglect.” Sirach: 38:4 (Catholic Bible.)
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; That which cometh out of the mouth defileth a man.” Jesus, quoted: Matt. 15:11.
“In later times, some shall…speak lies in hypocrisy…commanding to abstain from that which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Paul: 1 Tim. 4:1
Historians, early artworks, Bibles, manuscripts, Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic Gospels, letters from early church fathers, etc., indicate that for the first 300-400 years A.D., many early Christian sects were gentle and loving. They were usually open, tolerant and unstructured: a poor man’s or slave’s religion.
Rome considered Christianity to be simply another bothersome Oriental Mystery cult, like those of Mithra or Isis, then the most popular in the Empire.
The Holy Roman Empire
Faced with a crumbling empire, political corruption and a series of ruinous wars with barbarians, the old Roman Empire hovered on the brink of disaster. The religious contortions undertaken by the ruling body in Rome to maintain its earthly power led the political leaders to crack down on healthy diversity in the field of individual cults and religions.
To save itself politically, the formerly pantheistic (meaning tolerant of different worships) government of the empire changed its policy.
Starting in 249 A.D., various emperors launched a string of bloody persecutions, which included the troublesome Christians. By 306 A.D., it was clear that this was not working. Emperor Constantine called off the executions and began to patronize the Christian clergy, which promptly adopted a dogma lifted from “Mithraism,” among other religions: “Royal Blood by Birth,” or the “Divine Right to Rule Other Humans.”
The ambitious Constantine saw that while underground, the church had developed into an intolerant, tightly-knit hierarchy; a well organized network second in influence only to his own. By combining church and state, each was able to double its power and seek out the crimes/sins of all its political rivals and enemies with the full support/blessing of the other.
Columbia History of the World, Harper & Row, NY, 1981.
Constantine soon converted to Christianity and declared one mandatory, monistic, state-empowered religion: the Roman Catholic Church (R.C.Ch.); literally, the Roman Universal Church (“catholic” is Latin for “universal”). This was now the absolute and official religion of the empire. In one sweep, all secret societies were outlawed which might have threatened his (and Rome’s) mandate to rule the known world, as they had for the previous 400 consecutive years.
After running from the Roman Empire’s police for almost 300 years, Christian Orthodox priests had become their bosses. Starting in the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries A.D., pagan religions and all the different Christian sects, belief systems, knowledge, gospels, etc., such as the Essenes, Gnostics and Merovingians (Franks), were either incorporated into or edited out of official doctrine and hierarchy.
Finally, in a series of councils, all contrary dogmas (e.g., that the Earth was round, and the sun and stars were more than five to 17 miles away) were summarily outlawed and driven underground during the Dark Ages, 400 -1000+ A.D.
By the early Middle Ages, at the beginning of the 11th century A.D., virtually all powers were placed in the hands of the Church and Pope; first by Germanic conquerors, and later by Spanish and French kings and powerful Italian merchants and nobles (the Borgias, Medicis and other megalomaniacs), probably to protect their trade secrets, alliances and sources of wealth.
All European people were forced to adhere to the “Holy” Roman Empire policy: Zero tolerance by a fundamentalist church/police-state with blind faith in one, unquestioned version of how to worship God…and the Pope’s infallibility.
Political rulers aided and abetted the Church in this fraud, as their power now rested only on their new Christian dogma, the patriarchal “Divine right” to rule.
They enacted laws with fantastically vicious punishments for even the slightest infraction or heresy.* Heretics were mercilessly sought out by fanatical, sadistic inquisitors using perverted forms of torture to extract confessions and as punishment.
*Webster’s Dictionary defines “Her-e-sy (her´e se)” as 1: a religious belief that is opposed to church dogma. 2: any opinion (in philosophy, politics, etc.) opposed to official or established views or doctrines. 3: the holding of any such belief or opinion.
This system kept most of the Western world’s inhabitants in a state of constant terror, not only for their own physical safety and freedom, but also for their eternal spirit, with “Hell” lurking mere inches below the surface for those excommunicated by the church.
The Politics of Paper
The masses of people, “the commons,” were kept in check through a dual system of fear and enforced ignorance. All learning except the most rudimentary was controlled and strictly regulated by the priests.
The commons (about 95% of the people) were forbidden to learn to read or write – not even an alphabet – and often were punished or put to death for doing so.
The people were also forbidden to learn Latin, the language of the Bible. This effectively enabled the few priests who could read to interpret the scriptures any way they pleased for about 1,200 years, until the Reformation in Europe, circa 1600.
To prohibit knowledge, people were literally kept in the dark, without a piece of paper to write on. The monasteries preserved and guarded hemp’s secrets. They saw that cannabis held two threats to this policy of absolute control: papermaking and lamp oil.
Something had to be done.
Cannabis Medicines Forbidden
While embracing wine as a sacrament, and tolerating beer and hard liquor, the Inquisition outlawed cannabis ingestion in Spain in the 12th century, and France in the 13th. Many other natural remedies were simultaneously banned. Anyone using hemp to communicate, heal, etc. was labeled “witch.”
Saint Joan of Arc, for example, was accused in 1430-31 of using a variety of herbal “witch” drugs, including cannabis, to hear voices.
Church Sanctioned Legal Medicines
Virtually the only legal medical cures allowed the people of Western Europe by the Roman Catholic Church Fathers at this time were:
1. (a.) Wearing a bird mask for plague. (b.) Setting fractured bones or cleaning burns.
2. Bleeding pints and even quarts of blood from all flu, pneumonia or fever patients (victims) which was the most used treatment in Europe and America by doctors until the beginning of the 1900s. It does not work! And did not work no matter how much blood they took.
3. Praying to specific saints for a miraculous cure, e.g., St. Anthony for ergotism (poisoning), St. Odilla for blindness, St. Benedict for poison sufferers, and St. Vitus for comedians and epileptics.
4. Alcohol for a variety of problems.
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII singled out cannabis healers and other herbalists, proclaiming hemp an unholy sacrament of the second and third types of Satanic mass. This persecution lasted for more than 150 years. Satanic knowledge and masses, according to the Medieval Church, came in three types:
•To summon or worship Satan;
•To have Witch’s knowledge (e.g., herbalists or chemists) of making, using or giving others any unguent or preparation including cannabis as medicine or as a spiritual sacrament;
•The Mass of the Travesty, which can be likened to “The Simpsons,” “In Living Color,” rap music, Mel Brooks, “Second City-TV,” “Monty Python,” or “Saturday Night Live” (Father Guido Sarducci-type group) doing irreverent, farcical or satirical take-offs on the dogmas, doctrines, indulgences, and rituals of the R.C.Ch. mass and/or its absolute beliefs.
Because medieval priest bureaucrats thought they were sometimes laughed at, ridiculed and scorned by those under their influence – often by the most learned monks, clerics and leading citizens – ingesting cannabis was proclaimed heretical and Satanic.
Despite this centuries-long attack by the most powerful political and religious force in Western civilization, hemp cultivation continued in Northern Europe, Africa and Asia. While the church persecuted cannabis users in Europe, the Spanish Conquistadors were busy planting hemp everywhere around the world to provide sails, rope, oakum, clothes, etc.
Yet, Hemp Endured
The sadistic Ottoman Empire conquered Egypt and, in the 16th century A.D., tried to outlaw cannabis – because Egyptian hemp growers along the Nile were leading tax revolts. The Turks complained that cannabis use caused Egyptians to laugh and be disrespectful to their Sultan and his representatives. In 1868, Egypt became the first modern(?) country to outlaw cannabis ingestion, followed in 1910 by white South Africa to punish and stop the blacks practicing their ancient Dagga cults and religions.
In Europe, hemp was widely used both industrially and medicinally, from the Black Sea (Crimean) to the British Isles, especially in Eastern Europe. The papal ban on cannabis medicines in the Holy Roman Empire in 1484 was quite unenforceable north of the Alps, and to this day the Romanians, Czechs, Hungarians and Russians dominate world cannabis agronomy.
In Ireland, already world famous for its cannabis linen, the Irish woman who wanted to know whom she would eventually marry was advised to seek revelation through cannabis.
Eventually, the hemp trades once again became so important to the empire builders who followed (in the Age of Discovery/Reason, the 14th to 18th centuries) that they were central to the intrigues and maneuverings of all the world’s great powers.
The Age of Enlightenment
The 18th century ushered in a new era of human thought and civilization. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness!” declared the colonists in America. “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” replied their French cousins. The concepts of modern constitutional government, which guaranteed human rights and separation of church and state, were unified into a policy designed to protect citizens from intolerant and arbitrary laws.
In his landmark essay, On Liberty, Ogden Livingston Mills, whose philosophy shaped our democracy, wrote that “Human liberty comprises, first, the inward domain of consciousness in the most comprehensive sense: liberty of thought and feeling, scientific, moral or theological, …liberty of tastes and pursuits.”
Mills asserted that this freedom of thought or of “mind” is the basis for all freedoms. Gentleman farmer Thomas Jefferson’s immortal words, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man,” are engraved into the marble of his Memorial in Washington D.C.
Abraham Lincoln was an avowed enemy of prohibition. His wife was prescribed cannabis for her nerves after his assassination. Virtually every president from the mid- 19th century up until prohibition routinely used cannabis medicines (See Chapter 12: 19th century use).
Close acquaintances of John F. Kennedy, such as entertainers Morey Amsterdam and Eddie Gordon* say the president used cannabis regularly to control his back pain (before and during his term) and actually planned on legalizing “marijuana” during his second term – a plan cut short by his assassination in 1963.
*As reported directly to this author by Eddie Gordon, renowned harmonica virtuoso, member of the Harmonicats, and the number-one harmonicist in the world, who smoked with Kennedy and performed numerous times for him.
More recently, former President Gerald Ford’s son, Jack, and Jimmy Carter’s son, Chip, admit to having smoked pot in the White House. George Bush’s Vice President Dan Quayle* had a reputation for smoking grass and using drugs in college. Ronald and even former First Lady Nancy “Just Say No” Reagan are reported to have smoked pot in the California Governor’s mansion.
*”Smoke Screen: Inmate Sues Justice Department Over Quayle-Pot Cover-up,” Dallas Observer, August 23, 1990. Kelley, Kitty, Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography, Doubleday Co., NY, 1991.