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Cannabis and Popeye The Sailor

Popeye, a famous cartoon created by Elzie Segar, debuted in the comic strip "Timble Theatre of King Features Syndicate" on the January 17th, 1929 edition of "The New York Evening Journal." The character represents an independent sailor with a particular way of talking and laughing, developed muscles, and anchor tattoos.

In each episode, Popeye fought against Brutus, a fat bearded man who always bothered him. But, when the protagonist consumed his spinach, his strength reached superhuman limits allowing him to defeat his antagonist. Popeye not only ate his share of spinach from the can, he also snorted it through his pipe.

Spinach or Cannabis?

The cartoon, aimed at young children, initially leaves a message about the importance of eating vegetables, as they are synonymous with strength but is it spinach?

Many contemporary theories claim that what Popeye consumed was not spinach, but rather cannabis. The best-known argument was written in 2006 by Canadian activist Dana Larsen, a legalization advocate. The activist recalls that in the 1920s, cannabis use was prohibited, as the thinking about the plant was negative and linked to its psychoactive properties. It was common to use other words to refer to it, and spinach was one of them. It even found its way into a song, "The Spinach Song," composed by Bill Gordon and Johnny Gomez.

Other theories refer to sailors who traveled the world familiarizing themselves with exotic plants and responsible for introducing cannabis to the United States. They claim that Birdseed, Popeye's dog, was named after hemp seeds which people used as birdseed back then. Finally, spinach cannot be smoked through a pipe, instead is eaten since it is a food.

More theories consider that Popeye consumed cannabis; however, the protagonist used it for a just and noble cause, to defeat evil and defend Olive (Popeye's girlfriend).

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