By Alun Buffry

In 2737 BC, Chinese emperor Shen Nung’s who considered cannabis to be a “superior” herb in the world’s first medical text, or pharmacopoeia, Pen Ts’ao, would clearly have encouraged home cultivation.

Shen Nung who considered cannabis to be a “superior” herb in the world’s first medical text.

Shen Nung advocated cannabis.

In 450 BC, Greek historian Herodotus recorded Scythians and Thracians as consuming cannabis and making fine linens of hemp.

In 100 BC, the Chinese made paper from hemp and mulberry.

In 70 BC, Roman Emperor Nero’s surgeon, Dioscorides, praised cannabis for making the ‘stoutest cords’ and for its medicinal properties. The Romans did not shy away from cannabis!

In 1563 AD, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that land-owners with more than 60 acres must grow hemp or be fined £5.

In 1564 AD, King Phillip of Spain orders hemp grown throughout his empire from modern Argentina to Oregon.

More recently, in 1943, the US Government started its “Hemp for Victory” program urging farmers to grow hemp to help war effort.

In 2001, Howard Marks sang “Grow More Weed” on the CD of the same name.

So, history shows us that the cultivation of cannabis was encouraged almost continuously until early in the 2oth century – for rope, sales, paper, clothing, food, medicine, and religious uses. It is undeniable that cannabis was also consumed simply to get “high”, even in Britain. In fact, Culpeper wrote about it in his book “Complete Herbal and English Physician” in 1826: “It is so common a plant, and so well known by almost every inhabitant of this kingdom, that a description of it would be altogether superfluous.”

But in the 1920’s, for very questionable motives, cannabis was banned under the Geneva Opium Convention and UK Dangerous Drugs Act, thus opening the doorway for alternatives often dangerous in their synthesis or use, like nylon, fossil and nuclear fuels, plastics and drugs. The lies spread to justify the ban were believed by the masses and so successful that many still believe them today – even some of our elected politicians!. Although still gown in Britain for paper and animal bedding – and by medicines produced by Pharmacists, the more general ban has stripped us of our self-sufficiency and left us in the hands of multinational corporations.

Yet, nowadays, millions in Britain use the plant as a medicine or for fun. Even at the risk of prosecution. The cultivation of this wonderful plant without a hard-to-get license is outlawed and penalties can be extreme – up to 14 years in prison.

So why do so many people continue to grow it, indoors as well as outside?

One obvious answer is that in the long run it can save the cannabis consumer – whether medical or recreational (what’s the difference?) a considerable amount of money. Prohibition, as always, has driven up prices because it has left the supply in the hands of possibly unscrupulous and certainly untaxed “criminals”, people who may care more about profit than quality

Cultivation, relatively easy, taking less time for most people than would scouring the area for some good weed, with plenty of help and advice both on and off line, means home-growers can be proud of their product, knowing that it is pure.

Unless bought from reliable sources, weed, and worse still some of the imported hashish or resin, can indeed contain extremely harmful substances, ranging from insecticides used in large warehouses to save crops, to additives used to make the colour or texture more appealing, binding agents and chemical solvents and even hard drugs or crushed pills to produce some sort of “hit”. It is a great shame that many cannabis users in the UK think that hit is cannabis. It is a greater shame that the Government outlaws the plant itself even though they can do nothing to halt the supply of the impure stuff.

Of course, growers have to spend extra money and time trying to hide their crop away from both prospective thieves and cops. It would be great to simply grow it in the garden, as many of our ancestors did, but the law is forcing people to behave like crooks.

This useful, versatile, efficacious plant that puts a smile on our faces, is grown by many because it’s cheaper, cleaner and a more pleasant smoke, enabling them to avoid contact with ‘drug’ dealers.

And to watch a plant grow from seed or cutting, flower and bud to produce that wonderful aroma and feeling of relaxation, is in itself one of the greatest of pleasures.

Even doctors suggest gardening as a rewarding hobby!

Home grown is freed weed!

Time to grow weed/ cannabis.

Time to grow cannabis, pic courtesy of the Tropical Seed Co.

Alun Buffry UK cannabis activist.

Cannabis activist Alun Buffry.

Alun Buffry is an author, activist and a founding member of the now disbanded Legalise Cannabis Alliance, which was an active political party and then pressure group that campaigned to change cannabis laws in the UK up until 2011.

Alun also runs CCGuide, which is the largest cannabis online database of news and links in the UK.

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  1. Some time a few hundred years ago, I read about somewhere, the ruler in Turkey banned cannabis for poor people and the punishment was to have teeth pulled out – the rich were allowed it.

    In about 1916, the south African authorities banned it because they said miners were sitting smoking in the sun and not going down the mines.

    In 1896 the first UK Royal Commission on hemp – the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission concluded its investigation into claims that a large and disproportionate number of inmates in mental “asylums” used cannabis but concluded that those people were more likely to use cannabis, many feeling that it helped them – funny enough a recent study has said people with mental health “problems” are more likely to use cannabis.

    The Commission also said that taxation was a better way than prohibition, to reduce use (and I believe that anyone advocating taxation fails to recognise its purpose)

    In 1925, at the Geneva Convention, Egypt and Turkey wanted hemp (cannabis) included on the list of drugs to be banned, for possession, production or supply without licenses, and the Convention ordered an investigation, but in 1928, before the report was made, they voted – UK abstained – but the inclusion of cannabis was passed – there are several conspiracy theories as to exactly why, the one I tend to favour being connected to Egyptian Opium and cotton trades.

    Although, even in their own words, UK committees such as the Home Affairs Select Committees, the ACMD, have said they will not recommend legalisation at this stage, as well as the Wootton Report in 1968, the second Royal Commission, wanted lower sentencing. classification.

    All the UK experts and international studies have been ignored.

    • It’s that English thing, like, “Why don’t we go into town and see if we can’t get a coffee.”, rather than see if we could get one.

      Glad to know you’re still active in this matter as that creepy guy from “Clear” doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing and keeps alienating people that disagree with him.

  2. “The cultivation of this wonderful plant without a hard-to-get license is
    outlawed and penalties can be extreme – up to 14 years in prison.” is truthful nonsense

  3. Cause you will get busted like I just did and get threatened with losing my daughter flat and job, some spineless shite thought it was in the public interest to inform on me and bring the cartel also known as the police to my front door to take my hardwork away, I’m not a medicinal user just liked smoking the best weed and now I can’t as the police will be back to destroy my flat. they left all the expensive digital ballasts and foil plus two bags of soil so I expect they will be back as they must think I’m stupid to do it again whilst on bail, on the plus side I won’t lose my daughter or flat and as for my job they don’t know yet. And since last Friday I have not looked over my shoulder, smoking weed every day is bad for you unless you have a medical problem and need to take it, my mind is a lot more focused and my lungs feel happy to breath in air and nothing else. I still think it should be legal even if I never touch it again, but for me personally I’ve had my fun and its time for something new like skydiving or jihadists lol I have no worries now apart from court and hopefully as it was only 3 that were nearly ready and 10 little ones that were part of my cycle, just be warned they are concentrating on small ops at the moment sobe wary of cartel members getting a kick out of our downfall

  4. I consider growing hemp at home today´s “Victory Garden”. An individual’s contribution in the fight against the War on Drugs.

  5. If you are growing it (like skott – I hope they are not too harsh on you in court) then you must keep it totally secret and never let anyone know (no plants about the house, no grow equipment, no trimmings and most of all NO SMELLS). You must seriously consider consuming it in secret as well. If you have friends that see you using your own weed never give them any, never sell them any and tell them you get a little from a grower friend (imaginary friend) who wishes to stay anonymous. Hide your harvest away (off your property or well away from your grow) and tell no one – your personal stash needs to be only a few grammes or so at a time – don’t ever let anyone think you have ounces of the stuff (where ever they may believe it comes from) and never let people think you can get any more. Do all of this if you want to stay safe – no exceptions !!

    If you have a medical need this is what you must do but otherwise it is not really much fun. As for the idea that this is some kind of protest – if you are successful in keeping it totally hidden then what value does it have in changing opinions. Of course growing your own does stop you spending money with all sorts of criminals (except maybe the electricity company !)

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