The suit here below was the incentive for this xpo. The cards come from a Swiss deck, of which each suit was dedicated to a certain recreational drug. The other suits were beer, wine and schnapps (a Germanic distillery), so all alcohol containing beverages. It was funny to see that even in a country that is rather known for its conservative look on the world there was a publisher who has put the use of marihuana at the same level as the use of alcohol........around 2005. It's a little late, but he's right in historic perspective.
There's a lot of common ground in the history of alcohol as well as cannabis. Both were used as medicine, ritual sacrifice and recreational drug and both were legalized and prohibited in different countries in different stages of their history. The history of alcohol is pretty well known, but as our xpo will mostly deal with cannabis and other modern non-alcoholic drugs, we'll illustrate this by highlighting a few dates in the timeline of cannabis use:
2727 B.C. - First recorded use of cannabis as
medicine in Chinese pharmacopoeia.
1200 - 800 B.C. - Bhang (dried cannabis leaves, seeds and stems) is mentioned in the Hindu sacred text Atharva veda (Science of Charms) as "Sacred Grass", one of the five sacred plants of India. It is used medicinally and ritually as an offering to Shiva.
430 B.C. - Herodotus reports on both ritual and recreational use of Cannabis by the Scythians.
500 - 600 - The Jewish Talmud mentions the euphorant properties of Cannabis. (Abel 1980)
12th Century - Cannabis is introduced in Egypt during the reign of the Ayyubid dynasty on the occasion of the flooding of Egypt by mystic devotees coming from Syria. (M.K. Hussein 1957 - Soueif 1972)
1378 - Ottoman Emir Soudoun Scheikhouni issues one of the first edicts against the eating of hashish.
1549 - Angolan slaves brought cannabis with them to the sugar plantations of northeastern Brazil. They were permitted to plant their cannabis between rows of cane, and to smoke it between harvests.
1798 - Napoleon discovers that much of the Egyptian lower class habitually uses hashish (Kimmens 1977). He declares a total prohibition. Soldiers returning to France bring the tradition with them.
1840 - In America, medicinal preparations with a Cannabis base are available. Hashish available in Persian pharmacies.
1843 - Le Club des Hachichins, or Hashish Eater's Club, established in Paris.
1915 - 1927 - Cannabis begins to be prohibited for non-medical use in the U.S., especially in SW states...California (1915), Texas (1919), Louisiana (1924), and New York (1927).
1928 - Recreational use of Cannabis is banned in Britain.
1937 - Cannabis made federally illegal in the U.S. with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act.
Oct 23, 2001 - Britain's Home Secretary, David Blunkett, proposes relaxing the classification of cannabis from a class B to class C. This has not taken effect yet.
June 2003 - Canada is first country in the world to offer medical marihuana to its patients.
Here in the Netherlands possessing a small quantity of marihuana isn't illegal anymore, in fact the Dutch can go to "coffee-shops" where you can choose your weed or hash from a great variety on offer. Just like you can go to a special beer bar and choose from a great variety of draft beers. Of course the bar has a much longer history, but in the Netherlands the first coffee-shops started to appear in the early 1970's. At first the new phenomenon was oppressed, but it took only a few years before the shops were condoned under strict rules, of which the most important ones are no selling to minors and no using or selling of hard drugs. It's a probably unique system in the western world and although it's imperfect and controversial, it seems to work for the Dutch. Compared to other countries we have the lowest percentage of hard-drugs addicts. It's funny that, although we're obviously very liberal in this matter, we have not (yet) produced a single Dutch "dopey deck". The oldest drugs related deck in our collection dates from 1974 and comes....... from the US.
In this xpo we'll show decks that are drugs related. Of course
there are decks that propagate the use of drugs, but there are some anti-drugs
decks too. Here below are -in random order- images of cards from both kind of decks.
Müller, Switzerland, ca. 2005.