Everyone knows that there is a cannabis culture, but sometime the cultural groups that truly have associations with marijuana come from the most unlikely and unexpected of places. Two famous cultural groups, the Ku Klux Klan and the Freemasons, are associated with marijuana. For better or for worse, these cultural groups are well known from history and still maintain a modern day presence.
The Ku Klux Klan, known as the “KKK” for short, began in 1865 in Tennessee. It was formed by some Confederate veterans, originally as a secret society. It very quickly turned into a paramilitary force that had the goal of dismantling the South’s Reconstruction policies — especially ones that asserted the rights of the African American population in those areas.
The KKK has a philosophy of white superiority, based simply on race. Not only that, but the group began using violence as a means of slowing down the Reconstruction movement and the African American rights being gained and supported.
The first “grand wizard” (or leader) of the KKK was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former general in the Confederacy. Once the KKK began leaning more toward excessive use of violence to carry out their white supremacist philosophies, however, Forrest attempted to disband the organization. He was, of course, unsuccessful.
During the 1860s and 1870s, the KKK was deeply opposed to the Republican party (which, at the time, opposed slavery and supported things such as freedom for all, high wages, and so on). The KKK engaged in terrorist activities against the white Republicans and African Americans. They intimidated, destroyed, harmed, and murdered African Americans and white people that they perceived to be opposed to their cause.
Finally, in 1871, the Ku Klux Act was passed in Congress and President Grant employed the military to stop the KKK. By the time the Reconstruction Era ended, the KKK had disappeared.
The KKK made its next appearance starting again in the 1910s, namely in response to immigration during the 1910s and 1920s. This time they could be found across the entire nation, as they were against the steady stream of incoming Catholics and Jews coming from Europe. This second manifestation of the KKK involved the characteristic white costumes and cross burnings now widely recognized as typical KKK activity. This version of the KKK ended in the middle of the 1940s.
The present day KKK started up again in the 1950s during the Civil Rights Movement. They have been using murder, terrorism, and violence to intimidate. They use language such as their “Anglo Saxon” blood and nativism, and they claim to associate with Christianity even though just about every denomination of Christianity in the United States has officially denounced the organization.
The current KKK has neo-Nazi affiliations among many others, and they oppose causes such as Affiirmative Action, immigration, and are responsible for massacres (such as the Greensboro massacre), shootings, lynchings, and murders.
The KKK has some association with marijuana, most famously in recent months when former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions made his famous quote: he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “okay until I found out they smoked pot.”
Mysteries, lodges, symbols, and secrets are generally what people think of when they consider what Freemasonry is. There are a variety of theories and different stories for how Freemasonry began, but it is generally accepted that it started during the Middle Ages, arising from the stonemasons’ guilds. This is also the time when the Masonic symbols, languages, and rituals come from. The earliest documentation referring to Masons comes from the year 1390.
The reason Freemasonry likely developed in the way that it did is because masonry was unlike a variety of the other common trades of the time. Fishermen and gardeners remained in one place for the most part. Stonemasons, on the other hand, would partake in enormous projects that were far away from their homes. They needed to know they could depend on each other during these times — thus, an organization with some insider code for identification was formed.
The first Grand Lodge of England was formed from the four Masonic lodges that existed in London in 1717. At this point, the fraternity of the Masons began to spread through the rest of Europe, and eventually made its way into Colonial America.
There are some very famous Masons in early America, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin (who actually was the head of his local fraternity), Paul Revere, and Joseph Warren. Other well known Masons include Chief Justice John Marshall (responsible for forming the Supreme Court), John Hancock, Baron Fredrick von Stuben, John Paul Jones, and more.
Masonic fraternities generally hold values in philanthropy, self-improvement, and social improvement. It was a very influential organization towards the last part of the 18th century, as it propelled the Enlightenment forward. Its values included individual freedom, religious freedom, democracy, and education. They were in support of public schools being opened in the United States as well as Europe during this time. Freemasonry got bigger and bigger during the following two centuries. It was responsible for the well being of many people, especially because the government did not provide some crucial social services for the needy. This included orphanages, help for those who were widowed, homes for the elderly, and so on. Nowadays, Freemasonry goes about things a little differently but still holds strong to its original values. It does so in North America mostly through the donation of millions of dollars per day to a variety of causes such as children’s hospitals, community service, and other social help.
It is said the Freemasonry has ties to the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar were responsible for maintaining some semblance of chemical (or at least alchemical) knowledge of cannabis. This is because of their involvement with the Isma’ilis, who commonly ingested hashish and regarded epilepsy as a controllable disease (which is now more commonly accepted to be controlled best and safest by cannabis).