"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) U.S. President (18 Dec. 1840, Illinois House of Representatives)

It was the 1930’s. One of the darkest period of American history. The Hoover and Roosevelt administration were helpless in the face of the Great Depression. The Land of Opportunity has suddenly become the Land of Desperation. Household income dipped by 40%, a quarter of the population were jobless and the whole national financial system were torn to shreds. It was the bleakest of times, where the most devious and cunning were the major victors.

It was the worst possible time for the emergence of the state of the art, hemp processing machine; a machine that was capable of stripping the fibers underneath the outer bark of the plant delicately, without damaging the cellulose pulp. The machine that could potentially revolutionize the American economy, considering the impact it will have on numerous fields; from farming to paper manufacturing to pharmaceutical supplies – to name just a few.

Enter the infamous entrepreneur, magnate, lobbyist, publisher and some say, the face of the shady side of American business, William Randolph Hearst. Owner of thousands of acres of prime timber areas, cotton fields, pulp paper manufacturing plants, newspapers and a host of other commercial entities, Hearst was facing a very real possibility of bankruptcy over the first real mass hemp processing technology.

Hearst begun to toy with an idea to eliminate the hemp threat once and for all, but he needed some backing. The first tangible support arrived in the form of DuPont Chemicals.Harry J. Anslinger

DuPont has been investing huge amounts of money into their next generation synthetic fabric technology, nylon. They restructured their whole company in anticipation of the windfall that they predict nylon would bring to them. Plants were constructed in strategic locations around the country to provide raw material for nylon production; massive investments in their railway holdings were made and new tracks were laid out for logistical efficiency. The whole company was geared towards the nylon launch – but the arrival of hemp (and the rumored technological marvel, the stripping machine), with its superior and cheaper fabrics, would decimate DuPont into oblivion. The potential fallout of Hearst and DuPont sent shivers into the banking community, with the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh being the most financially exposed, owing to their extensive financing of DuPont’s decade long nylon project.

And so it began, with the cadre comprising of Mellon’s Bank chairman, Andrew Mellon (who was also the Secretary of the Treasury at the time), William Hearst and Dupont’s American directors. The first step involved in Mellon’s appointment of his nephew, Harry Ansliger, as the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (FBNDD).

And as the war begun, the hemp industry never knew what hit them….


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