silver platter with hemp leaves
silver platter with hemp leaves

How an Old Platter Sparked an Online Debate about the History of Hemp in America

Do you think this is a cannabis plant leaf on this silver platter?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Saturday Apr 30, 2022

hemp on a silver platter

A Question about an old Plate Sparked a Conversation about the History Hemp Farming in America

People have long used flowers and plants to decorate objects. From print to carving, flowers, leafs, trees have all found themselves illustrated or embedded onto our art, furniture and even clothes. For one Reddit user on the Subreddit “What’s This Plant” – they were trying to debunk a recent finding about such a decoration on a vintage wedding plate they had in their possession.


Here’s the inquiry from the Redditor;


Can someone please help me identify these flowers/leaves? (i have scoured the internet & all i can find that's similar is cannabis leaves but i feel like that's definitely *not* what they are considering the flowers? also they're printed on a vintage wedding dish.


The picture they are talking about is at the top of this article. Upon closer examination, these are undoubtedly cannabis leaves splattered all over this vintage wedding plate.


The OP didn’t want to accept that what Google was telling them was in fact “cannabis leafs” were just that.


One Redditor named SubstantialPressure3 commented.


There used to be a lot of hemp farmers. Lots of things were made from hemp. Maybe that's where the design came from, and it was still a fairly common crop.


The Redditor is completely correct. Up until the moment that Anslinger and his crew duped the US government to make cannabis illegal – it was one of the most versatile and used crops in the US.



This suddenly started sparking a conversation about the rich history of Hemp in the United States.


Firstly, people noted that cannabis and hemp was only made “illegal” in 1937. This isn’t entirely correct either. Hemp/cannabis didn’t officially become “illegal” until the war on drugs was declared in 1971. However, what they did manage to do was make it “illegal” without a particular stamp from the government.


The bill was called “The Marihuana Stamp Act of 1937” which essentially said, “it’s legal to grow and cultivate hemp and marijuana as long as you have a stamp to legally grow it…”


The moment that was signed into law, all of the stamps were placed in a vault never to be released again. The problem was that Hitler was just about to start making some major plays in Europe and as a result, in the 1940s and 1950s, hemp was once more called to serve the US. Farmers were ordered to grow Hemp for the US war effort.


As one Redditor points out;


George HW Bush was saved by hemp rope in the parachute cords when his plane got shot down.


Which is also correct and was fished out by cannabis activist “Jack Herer” from the US records. It turns out, that if it wasn’t for Hemp, the OG Bush might not have made it out alive in WWII. Those hemp ropes and other goods became an integral part of winning the war in the 1940s.


After the dust of the war settled – the powers that be decided to hoard the stamps once more and wait until they could finally declare war on cannabis – making it illegal to sell, smoke, possess, or as Tommy Chong would later find out – be associated with it.


Fortunately today, we’re at a point where it seems that we’re ever getting closer to integrating cannabis back into our society at large.


Wait – so is it or isn’t it cannabis leaf on the platter?


Some people are convinced it’s a cannabis leaf, others aren’t so sure;


Plant Vigilante says,

Could be cinquefoil, or strawberry with oddly narrow leaves

[edit: I think that the historical context of hemp production and the possibility of this being a misrepresentation of the cannabis plant is really interesting and a valid possibility. Just from a plant identification perspective, the growth form and flowers depicted are more like cinquefoils than cannabis, although the narrowness and number of the leaflets is definitely off.]


KosaBrin responds;


I agree that it might represent that. However, they have mostly 5 leaves. Cannabis has mostly 7. This has 9. :) I think it was made by somebody that did not have any particular plan in mind but rather used some molds he already had.


However another two users chimed in and mentioned that;


But when a cannabis plant gets big enough it can have 9


And If the plant is healthy enough I’ve had 11 fingers- just takes good nutrition


I wonder if 13 is possible ??


However, Cinquefoil looks like this:


This certainly does have a similar shape, but me looking at the plate all I can see is weed leaf.


Nonetheless, this was a great thread to learn some basic history of Hemp in America. As for the platter, I’m not sure if it’s one or the other – to me, it looks like a weed plant...but I could be wrong.


What do you think it is?


Sticky Bottom Line


In the end, I think it’s important that we need to remember what happened with cannabis throughout the ages. In the US, we saw a plant that was once revered as the number one cash crop esteemed to be the first “billion-dollar crop” to being the most criminalized plant for over 50-years


All of this happened because a few greedy people wanted to snuff out any and all competition in order to push their products, their agendas, and enrich themselves at our expense. It’s important to remember because if we forget, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes.


Let this platter be a reminder.





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