Here are some tidbits I cut and pasted from http://www.glenwoodsmith/hemphistorian/facts.html
With the name DuPont thrown around in there it is not suprising. Back then they were (and still are) a huge player and I imagine they had some serious pull in government. It sounds from Glenwood that it was nylon more than paper that caused it's illegality, but the paper pulp industry in named in there as well. That Harry Anslinger guy mentioned in here is the one that I remember pushing the "Reefer Madness" film. Read the last sentence of the second paragraph and you can see where I got that from. This is only about half of the text on this particular page. The entire thing is fascinating to me.
Here is the text:
These "dangers" of marijuana, as claimed by the U.S. government, are nothing more than manufactured lies designed: 1) to demonize this plant in the minds of those who are ignorant to its effects, 2) to continue its prohibition in every form -- industrial, medical, scientific and personal -- at any cost, and 3) to guarantee the protection of the petro-chemical, timber, paper and pharmaceutical industries (among others), who would stand to lose billions of dollars if cannabis were a legal crop in America.
DuPont and Co., during the mid-1800s, intensely studied the entire cannabis hemp plant. By the 1920s, they owned the patents for nearly every synthetic resource that cannabis supplied naturally (synthetic fibers, paints and varnishes, plastics, and even medicines). Suddenly articles about a “new” violence-causing drug, marihuana, began filling the nations’ newspapers. With the discovery of Nylon, the world’s strongest synthetic fiber, secret plans were made for hemp’s prohibition. Congressional leaders were assured that new synthetic supplies could replace the “insignificant” ones about to be taxed out of existence. With the testimony of one man -- Harry Anslinger, director of the FBN and nephew of Andrew Mellon, a former secretary of the U.S. Treasury, large interest holder in Gulf Oil, and the owner of Mellon Bank (one of only two of DuPont and Co.'s financial backers)-- the entire hemp industry -- agricultural, industrial and medical -- was outlawed on the grounds that “marihuana is the most violence causing drug known to man.” This testimony wasn’t based on scientific or medical fact, but on scare tactics, racial prejudice and lies. This same year, 1937, DuPont and Co. patented Nylon and the process for making paper from wood!
In 1938, the U.S. government passed the Pure Drug Act, allowing for single compound drugs only -- and forever banning marijuana as a medicine.
Ten years later, Anslinger advised Congress to continue hemp’s prohibition based on the complete opposite reason for which it was outlawed originally, “The Russians could use marihuana to turn our young into pacifists who wouldn’t fight for our country.”
In the ’60s, with increased public awareness of marijuana, health concerns became the theme for its illegalization. But no psychological or physiological health concerns had been scientifically or medically proven. So the “unknown dangers” of long-term use were the new reason for marijuana’s illegalization, even though the U.S. government had been studying the plant and its users since 1937, at least 25 to 35 years: “Scientifically, more is known about marijuana’s effects than many other botanical substances used by man.” (1972 report of the U.S. National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse) Coincidentally, from the 1960s through today, a DuPont has been a major advisor to the government on marijuana policy. (Robert DuPont, former Nixon drug czar and federal appeals court spokesman and former marijuana smoker.)
Decades later, failed research and fruitless experiments on pot’s negative effects have left the marijuana propaganda filled with phrases like, “marijuana may,” “marijuana could,” “marijuana has the possibility of,” and “marijuana’s unknown dangers” to justify cannabis’ current Schedule I status. (What about the unknown dangers of any and everything?) Meanwhile, DuPont and Co. continues to earn multi-billion dollar annual sales from its synthetic marijuana patents (for fibers, finishes and medicines).
Marijuana is called a weed, in spite of it being a complex agricultural crop. It is said to be a poisonous drug, in spite of its being a healing medicine. It is said to destroy the mind, in spite of its use by some of the wisest people in history for its enhancement of their thought and creative processes. Marijuana has even been called the Devil’s weed (with all the evil this term conjures in the minds of some) in spite of the Bible’s proclamation. “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth.’ And God saw every thing that He had made and behold it was very good.” (Gen. 1:29,31)
The lessons of prohibition’s failures are permanently etched in history. Why are we blindly ignoring them? This time is no different. The laws against cannabis are destroying far more lives than marijuana ever could, even if marijuana were everything that the U.S. government says it is.