History of Hemp1 2 3
The Greek historian Herodotus reported in the fifth century BC that Scythians living near the black sea used cannabis(17 ). The Scythians used cannabis as part of their religious rituals (18). The ritual was for purification as part of a ceremony to bury the dead. It called for throwing cannabis seeds on red-hot stones. Also evidence of smoking cannabis has also been found, it felt that, this use might have been for relaxation and not part of the ceremony(19).
Early Judaism and Christianity have references to cannabis. Ancient Hebrew culture, religion and mysticism such as the Cabala mention cannabis(20 ). In 1980, An Etymologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem authenticated that the Hebrew word kineboisin in the old testament is in fact Cannabis(21).
An error occurred in the oldest translation of the Hebrew bible, Septuagint. In the third century BC the term, kaneh bosom (exodus 30:23) was incorrectly translated as "calamus.", in fact the correct translation is cannabis, the error followed in many translations that followed, including Martin Luther(22).
Nero's Surgeon Diosorides, gave "cannabis Sativa" it's name (23). Ancient Rome used hemp and occasionally published directions on how to grow hemp in the hopes of creating a domestic supply. Despite this, Rome imported a substantial amount of hemp, most of it from Sura in Babylonia (24 ).
During Spain's inquisition in the 12 century, wine was allowed as a sacrament, they tolerated beer and hard liquor, but they outlawed cannabis as a "witch drug", other natural remedies were also outlawed. France followed suit, in the 13th century (25 ). Joan of arc, was charged in 1430-31 of using "witch drugs", such as Cannabis, to hear voices (26 ).
During the Bronze Age hemp was grown everywhere in Europe for it's fiber and oil yielding seeds (27 ).
In the 16th century Elizabeth I encouraged its cultivation (28 ).
Hemp was cultivated in England and in the English settlement of Jamestown, to help with the Navy's increasing demand for hemp rope (29 ). Farmers in Jamestown were ordered to grow hemp, and between 1763 and 1767. A farmer could get thrown into jail for not growing hemp (30 ).