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Pancho Villa (June 5, 1878 – July 20, 1923)

To many, Pancho Villa is revered as a hero who pushed foreign "proprietors" out of Mexico and fought for the common man. He was a fierce general who also helped those in need and rescued orphans. Villa's troops were said to smoke marijuana, a term they used for the flowering tops of the hemp plant (pos-sibly named for a juana (female soldier) in Villa's army.) The folk song "La Cucaracha," associated with Villa's troops, tells of a cockroach who cannot function because he lacks marijuana to smoke.

During the Spanish American War, Villa's troops seized 800,000 acres of prime timberland from newspaperman William Randolph Hearst. Hearst soon began a smear campaign against "marijuana," claiming its dark-skinned users turned murderous. The campaign was useful in racist attempts to deny Mexican laborers work in the U.S. Americans didn't realize the scary-sounding drug marijuana was in fact their old friend Cannabis hemp. Hemp is perhaps the most useful natural resource on the planet, a source of paper, fiber, fuel, food, and medicine, which continues to be denied to mankind due to ignorance and fear.

Source: J. Herer, The Emperor Wears No Clothes

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