As an astrologer one of my favorite nerdy pastimes is to match up historical events with their astrology to see what stands out and what’s relevant to happenings in the world right now. It’s a fun rabbit hole to fall into and usually reveals startling parallels that only an astrology chart can reveal.
In honor of 4/20 I thought it fitting to take an astrological rewind on the history of cannabis in the United States and its potential as we enter an uncertain social and environmental future.
It’s a wonder that hemp and cannabis aren’t a larger industry in the modern day. Aside from the current wave of legalization for recreational use and a rise in CBD oils being used to help treat depression, acne and even help ease pain in cancer patients, the hemp plant is still massively under-utilized. A quick perusal through history brought me back to the “good ol’”1930s with Uranus in Taurus restructuring money, values and pleasure seeking activities in society.
In my last piece I explored some of the historical highlights of Uranus in Taurus, but I didn’t have the opportunity to explore how this astrological occurrence is connected to cannabis and why we’re seeing a resurgence of the plant in our culture today.
Reefer Madness & The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937
Prior to 1937, cannabis products were legally enjoyed in the U.S. so long as they had been prescribed, properly labeled and purchased from a pharmacy or drugstore. But around 1936 a little film called “Tell Your Children” also known as Reefer Madness was financed by a church group and released as a propaganda film to warn against the corrupting dangers of marijuana on the youth of the nation. The following year the Marijuana Tax Act was passed with the intent of taxing farmers for cultivating hemp fiber, taxing doctors for prescribing cannabis and taxing pharmacists for selling cannabis products in their stores. This all despite the fact that American Medical Association was strongly opposed to that act, asking instead that the plant be added to the Harrison Narcotics Act, which regulated the use of opium and cocoa as well as their derivatives.
The Money Grab
Although not official, some speculate that the attacks against the hemp industry in the 1930s were the concerted efforts and machinations of a few wealthy men. Names like Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst and the du Pont Family all have been floated as potential conspirators against the production of hemp and its fibers because they may have believed it posed too much of a threat to timber pulp, the main fiber source used in the newspaper industry of the day. Fast forward a few years and it was discovered that those competition fears were mainly unfounded as paper made with hemp as the main raw material was found to be lacking in quality when compared to timber pulp. But what was done was done.
The Wonder Plant with Tremendous Potential
Popular Mechanics Magazine (1938) dubbed hemp “The New Billion Dollar Crop: It can be used to produce 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane.” I can’t attest to that 25,000 number being correct, but the list below, while being by no means exhaustive, aims to show that hemp has an extremely diverse product potential. Hemp can be used to make textiles like: rope, nets, carpets, canvas, paper, cardboard and filters. Building materials like: insulation, fiberboards, fiberglass substitutes, cement, stucco and mortar. It can also be used to produce oil paints, fuel, and solvents, personal hygiene products like soaps, shampoos, lotions and cosmetics. Its fibers can be found in diapers, fine fabrics, denim, and all sorts of apparel like handbags, shoes and more. So why isn’t the hemp industry more celebrated today? With the production and cultivation of just one plant, multiple industries have the means to increase their wealth and help stimulate the economy through job creation and the supply and demand for the products made at likely an affordable and accessible price.
From a medical standpoint everything from the seeds, the oils and flowers can be used to treat a multitude of health conditions. As an acupuncturist and herbalist I can tell you that we use the seeds also called Huo Ma Ren in pinyin to nourish the fluids in the body and help unblock the intestines for constipation especially in the elderly. In practice we’re finding more creative uses for CBD oils to help our patients find and choose less addictive relief options for their conditions.
The Lasting Toll of the Drug War
So why keep this miracle plant down for over 80 years? What are the next steps for hemp and cannabis as we enter this new Uranus in Taurus cycle with more wisdom from the past to guide us? One step would be to acknowledge the victims of the drug wars created by cannabis being demonized. One of the very first victims was a young Mexican-American by the name of Moses Baca, who was busted for having a quarter ounce of weed in his dresser drawer. Since then the majority of drug arrests have been for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The majority of those arrested and jailed are people of color who are painted as lazy, dangerous, amoral criminals who pose a threat to a happy society. According to the ACLU marijuana arrests account for half of all drug arrests with a significant racial bias where black people are nearly four times as likely to be arrested than whites. Generations have been impacted by having so many of their members behind bars and having their future limited due to their record.
Innovating the Future
As we stand on the precipice of the future, Astrology teaches us to look back and take notes on where we’ve been and how our past decision and actions have impacted us. Uranus in Taurus wants us to celebrate the goodness and the bounty of the Earth. Mother Nature provides but humanity is tasked with being the good shepherd of the land. As we face the numerous crises caused by our own greed and gluttony, here’s an opportunity to choose differently and help tell a new story around hemp that can make future generations proud of our ability to change for the better. By using hemp to build homes, refresh crops, create jobs and heal the sick maybe we can help save the world. By making sure that the most vulnerable amongst us stand a chance instead of wasting away in prison, perhaps we’ll see just how beautiful and abundant society can be.
When you spark up this 4/20 set an intention to see that new world grow into existence in our lifetime.