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An Historical Geography of Cannabis

Cannabis, including hemp and its psychoactive counterpart, has a long but largely overlooked historical geography. Situating the topic within varied perspectives such as world-systems theory, Foucauldian biopolitics, and the moral economy of drugs, this paper charts its diffusion over several millennia, noting the contingent and uneven ways in which it was enveloped within varying social and political circumstances. Following a brief theorization, it explores the plant’s early uses in East and South Asia, its shift to the Middle East, and resultant popularity in the Arab world and Africa. Next, it turns to its expansion under colonialism, including deliberate cultivation by Portuguese and British authorities in the New World as part of the construction of a pacified labor force. The fifth section offers an overview of cannabis’s contested history in the United States, in which a series of early 20th-century moral panics led to its demonization; later, the drug enjoyed gradual liberalization. [Klik videre til kilden]

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