John Quincy Adams (later to become President), who was American Consul at St. Petersburg, in 1809 noted:
“As many as 600 clipper ships, flying the American flag, in a two-week period, were in Kronstadt” (the Port of St. Petersburg, once called Leningrad in the former USSR) loading principally cannabis hemp for England (illegally) and America, where quality hemp is also in great demand.
The War of 1812 is a mystery to most Americans, because American schools aren’t allowed to mention hemp, which was at the center of the conflict.
Simply put, hemp for rope and sails was the most important natural resource of the day, and the best hemp came from Russia. When France cut off Britain’s access to Russian hemp, the British forced American sailers to be their middle men (under threat of impressment). It was this “Interference in American trade and sovereignty” that President Madison cited as his chief justification for declaring war.
For more info read Jack Herer’s book (linked above) and his source book “America, Russia, Hemp, and Napoleon.”