The Benefits of Marijuana

The Preface:

A Letter From Jail

by Dale R. Gowin


Children of a future age
Reading this indignant page
Know that in a former time
Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime.

— William Blake


It is a great honor and privilege to introduce to the world Joan Bello’s courageous and insightful treatise on the benefits of marijuana. Grounded in multidisciplinary science and bolstered by a wealth of documentation, this groundbreaking work provides ample evidence to support the intuitive knowledge of millions, that Cannabis offers miraculous healing potentials for the human body, mind, and spirit.

For too long, the many millions who have known the truth about the Holy Herb have cowered in fear beneath the shadows of deception and repression. In our own lives we have borne witness to the healing virtues and spiritual gifts bestowed by Nature through this plant. Yet we have languished timidly as our liberty to pursue this happiness was stripped away, and we have watched in silence as our sisters and brothers were hauled away in chains, their homes and property seized by a crooked State, for no crime other than peacefully partaking of and sharing the spirit-nurturing Light that is crystallized within the cells of this verdant and virtuous vegetable.

No longer can we abide in this conspiracy of silence. The clarion call of Truth rings from these pages to the four corners of the world and echoes down the halls of history. An answering echo is the ancient promise of prophecy: “The truth shall make you free.”

My relationship with the holy herb Cannabis began in 1967, when I was 17 years old. I discovered, to my amazement and delight, that this humble plant had the power to bestow the gift of Divine Grace to one who would respectfully partake of its resinous flowers and leaves. Its subtle magic gently lifted me from the doldrums of daily life, into realms of deeply enhanced clarity of mind and vibrancy of vision. I gradually came to realize that the miraculous gift of consciousness enhancement granted by Cannabis and the other psychedelic plants was the most valid, genuine and authentic manifestation of Spiritual Light that I had ever encountered. Now, after 30 years largely devoted to the Spiritual Quest, this realization remains undimmed.

Ten years after first partaking of the Holy Herb, I crossed the Rubicon of personal commitment and devoted myself to public activism against prohibition. I began to search deeply into the lore of history and science, and to speak out publicly about my findings, in print and from the stage of public forums. This activism inevitably led to my arrest in a “sting operation” and a 12-year prison sentence.

My research about the Holy Herb led to some truly amazing discoveries. Among the things I learned were these:

Cannabis (marijuana) was probably the first plant ever cultivated by humans. In the Neolithic period, as the glaciers of the Pleistocene ice age were receding from Earth’s temperate zones, nomadic food gatherers collected Cannabis along with other wild plants. Its fertile seeds, a protein-rich food source, sprouted readily and grew abundantly in the disturbed soil near their campsites. The prevalence of the plant near Neolithic campsites and its ease of cultivation spurred the transition from a nomadic food-gathering economy to settled agriculture — a quantum leap in the evolution of human civilization.

Cannabis was a uniquely useful survival resource to our prehistoric ancestors. Every part of the plant had important uses. Fibers stripped from the stalks were twisted into twine for bows, fishing lines and snares, and were woven into fabric for clothing and canvas for shelter. The wood-like “hurds” inside the stalks were used as cooking and heating fuel. The seed, as well as providing sustaining food, was pressed for oil, providing light in our earliest earthenware lamps and pushing back the threatening shadows of night. The leaves and flowers were used as medicine — Cannabis is mentioned in the earliest extant herbals — and were used by shamans and worshippers as aids to spiritual revelation.

In more recent eras, the Cannabis plant was used extensively in industry for the manufacture of paper, plastics, fabrics, fuels, chemicals, cosmetics, and literally thousands of other products. It was the economic value of these applications — and its competitive threat to the monopoly profits of petroleum-based corporate cartels — that led to the imposition of Cannabis prohibition in the 20th century.

Cannabis was widely respected as a medicine since ancient times throughout the world. Before prohibition, the U. S. Pharmacopoeia listed over 100 approved uses for it, and it was one of America’s most popular over-the-counter medications in the 19th century. Cannabis was the standard treatment for asthma, emphysema, epilepsy, migraine, arthritis, glaucoma, insomnia, and many other conditions. Recent research has shown that Cannabis is a safer and more effective treatment for many of these conditions than the expensive synthetic pharmaceuticals preferred by the monopoly-based medical establishment.

Cannabis has been recognized as a spiritual sacrament by virtually every religious tradition in the world. Chinese Taoists, Hindus from India, Tibetan Buddhists, the Gnostics and Essenes of Judaism, Coptic Christianity, the Sufi and Ishmaili traditions of Islam — all of these and more have known and respected the holiness and religious value of the Cannabis experience.

There is no truth to the government-sponsored propaganda about the alleged dangers of marijuana. From the “reefer madness” campaign of the 1930s to the claims made by DARE and the Partnership for a Drug Free America today, the prohibitionist rhetoric is nothing more than a smokescreen of lies and fabrications, promulgated by the Corporate Monopoly State for economic and political purposes. Every unbiased scientific study has found that Cannabis is non-addictive, non-toxic, and potentially beneficial.

Joan Bello’s brilliant and illuminating text acknowledges the truth about Cannabis without kowtowing to the sacred cows of prohibitionist political correctness, and it pushes the debate past conventional limits, into virgin territory fraught with relevance to today’s most urgent social issues.

A work of 21st century science, this book sets the agenda for a new generation of discourse. The bold thesis presented in these pages is that Cannabis is not only harmless and benign as a recreational euphoriant, but is as well a holistic medicine for deep healing of the human body, mind and spirit — and a specific remedy for the spiritual malaise of Western civilization, the disastrous disharmony that characterizes this last decade of the Old Millenium.

The repressive violence of the War on Drugs, and the global police state that it portends, are symptomatic expressions of a dysfunctional society obsessed with immediate selfish gratification, competition, and materialistic acquisitiveness. The gentle therapy facilitated by the Sacred Herb may offer a path to social transcendence and self-actualization, a restoration of balance between cooperative and competitive inclinations, between the intuitive-artistic and the rational-linear modes of psychic functioning.

The rigid character armor of authoritarianism and its attendant dissociation from nature and community — traits characteristic of today’s ruling classes whose twisted dream of an oligarchic New World Order are eerily foreshadowed in the daily headlines — may yield to the compassionate vision of psychic wholeness and transpersonal integration typically associated with the Cannabis experience.

Cannabis played a vital role in human evolution thousands of years ago, providing sustenance and solace to the scattered survivors of the great glaciers. It may yet prove to be an equally important asset in our next great evolutionary hurdle, as the human race faces the challenge of survival in the New Millenium.

As this book makes clear, the Holy Herb Cannabis is an essential part of the natural birthright of all Earthdwellers — and its prohibition is truly a crime against humanity.

Dale R. Gowin
Prisoner #91-B-0209
Midstate Correctional Facility
Marcy, New York

July 4, 1996

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