Why Was Hemp Made Illegal in 1937 and Why Do Some Politicians Continue to Oppose the Industrial Hemp Plant?
"Politics is the continuous argument over who gets to do what to whom, for how long, and against what degree of dissent"
The War On Hemp. Stupid, Crazy, or Malicious?
We're tired of the stupid political policy argument over whether or not industrial hemp production should be allowed in the United States. We're sick over the damage this argument has caused us as a society and the damage it has caused several personal acquaintances of ours, and the damage it has caused us personally.
Politicians, "law enforcement" zealots, and unprincipled, dishonest business interests have teamed up to create public policy which is insane and immensely counterproductive, then attempt to justify it by bragging about the damage their policies have caused. Having shifted the world's most beneficial agricultural product into the realm of "drugs", they then suggest that their miserably failed drug policy is a thing of beauty, and only lacks our agreement that hemp is "drugs" in order to have achieved complete success in preventing illicit drug use.
Their arguments defy characterization. "Absurd" is simply inadequate.
There are four categories into which those who oppose industrial hemp production fall. They are: uninformed, stupid, crazy, or malicious. There are no other possibilities.
To illustrate, we'll take a look at what industrial hemp opponents say.
The truly uninformed either don't recognize the word "hemp", or are vaguely aware that "Rope used to be made of it, right?" The truly uninformed oppose allowing U.S. farmers to produce hemp only if they naturally oppose just about anything.
The minimally informed might think hemp is "marijuana". They might also think that it should be banned because of whatever association it has with "marijuana". They think they know it has such an association because they get their news from television and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.
The moderately informed seem to think they know that industrial hemp IS "marijuana", because that's what Newt Gingrich, Tom Daschle, and Larry King say.
If the uninformed want to become better informed, they can. They could read the rest of this magazine [browse this website] for starters.
Stupid, Crazy, or Malicious?
If someone seems to be more than moderately "informed", but is opposed to U.S. farmers producing industrial hemp, it's often hard to tell whether he's malicious, crazy, or merely stupid. Then there are those who are concurrently uninformed and stupid and crazy and malicious.
Many stupid, crazy or malicious people hold public office, or help enforce the laws created by the officeholders. They say things like this:
"The market for industrial hemp is too small. Farmers might go broke raising it."
We heard this argument from several South Dakota legislators during the 2000 and 2001 legislative session "hearings" over removing the state's barriers to hemp production. If this were a valid reason for barring hemp production, then growing corn, oats, soybeans and sunflowers should be banned. Farmers go broke regularly growing these crops.
In 1999, at the bidding of the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), the USDA (Dept. of Agriculture) released a "study" which concluded that the current world demand for hemp textiles could be filled by only 5000 acres of industrial hemp. Therefore, the USDA saw no reason to change current hemp policy.
The USDA neglected to inform readers of its report that textiles comprise only one small facet of the demand for industrial hemp. Hemp seed oil (for food and fuel) and hemp seed food and body care products comprise rapidly growing market areas which are being filled by imported hemp.
The USDA avoided entirely the issue of why political policy should be able to determine whether farmers are allowed by law to grow a beneficial and viable crop, regardless of the size of its potential market. There is a market. Let U.S. farmers and manufacturers compete for it. We'll all be better off.
In every "argument" proposed by opponents, they ignore the fact that over 30 other nations produce industrial hemp. Among these are England, France, Germany, Australia, Hungary, China and Canada. To fill the $300 million market for hemp and hemp products in the United States, Canadian hemp is being trucked past barely surviving U.S. farms.
The suggestion that politicians are simply looking out for the interests of farmers who are too stupid to make marketing plans before putting their entire operations into industrial hemp (or any other product) is stupid, crazy and malicious. Folks who adhere to such an argument might also say this:
"The Drug Enforcement Agency says hemp contains THC."
The presence of tetrahydrocannabinol has never been written into law as a violation. It has been adopted by the massive drug-testing industry as a red flag. The drug-testing industry is only one of a range of industries whose market would be shrunk by legal industrial hemp production in the United States.
The DEA has assumed authority to regulate products based on their THC content. Further, it has assumed authority to seize and test products based on the possibility they might contain THC. It has seized perfectly legal birdseed mixture shipments at the US-Canada border and held them for "testing" until the retailers who ordered them have cancelled their orders.
The DEA has seized shipments of hemp clothing and caps and "tested" each piece after punching out a sample of the fabric from each article in the shipment so the little punch-piece can be tested. Obviously, this ruined the marketability of the clothing and caps. The DEA's action here was nothing short of vandalistic piracy.
The truth is that hemp seed or hemp textile products generally contain too little THC to even show up in tests. No one ever tries to smoke or otherwise ingest birdseed or hemp baseball caps to get "high"--at least not twice. The hemp plant growing in the field usually has a miniscule amount of THC in its flowers and buds, but those who use "marijuana" to "get high" avoid hemp.
There are millions of acres of feral hemp (descendants of the industrial hemp which was a staple U.S. farm product until 1937) growing in the U.S.; half a million acres in South Dakota alone, another million in Nebraska. Anyone who spends any time in the outdoors can find wild hemp. No one harvests it to sell as smoke. And even if they did sell it for smoke, isn't that better than having their customers smoke the higher-THC-content "marijuana", which makes them crazy and prone to commit crimes of unspeakable depravity?
The DEA is malicious. Anyone who subscribes to its lunacy is uninformed, stupid, crazy or malicious. Or all four. And that person might say this:
"Allowing farmers to grow and sell hemp would send the wrong message to children."
We agree that the re-introduction of common sense and logic into U.S. farm policy would send a message to children, and, looking at it from the point of view of a politician or one of their DEA or other law enforcement thugs, it would be the wrong message.
Once, the United States had a sensible farm policy. Farmers could grow anything they thought they could sell or trade for whatever else they needed. Then, the United States Department of Agriculture was commissioned. The USDA hasn't grown a single crop (nor done anything else of value), but it has harvested the fruits of hundreds of thousands of farmers' labor.
If farmers were allowed to produce industrial hemp in the United States, along with farmers in every civilized nation in the world, children might again be able to believe that God gave man all green plants for his use. They might begin to understand that hemp seed is the most perfect food in the world. They might consider the extent to which worldwide hemp production could offset the damage being done to the atmosphere through worldwide deforestation.
They would continue to learn about "marijuana" like they do now, through a combination of parental admonition, school and law enforcement semi-truths, and from their friends.
Anyone who can look at the realities of adolescent "marijuana" use, along with the potential benefits of industrial hemp production, and still maintain that industrial hemp production would create more "marijuana" smokers, is stupid, crazy or malicious. That person (or anyone else, for that matter) might ask the following question at this point.
"Why does HEMPHASIS put the word 'marijuana' in quotation marks?"
The plant's "scientific" name is cannabis Sativa L. (purists know that there are a couple more sub-species in Africa and Asia, but it doesn't matter, they're still cannabis). Throughout history, it has been commonly called "hemp", or "cannabis". "Canvas" (as in "sailboat sail") is a simple linguistic substitute for "cannabis". The names of people and locations (and there are tens of thousands of these in the world) "Hemphill", "Hempe", "Hempdale", "Hemptown", etc., are obviously derivations of the word "hemp" and its production. Hemp is the most important single agricultural product in history.
During the alcohol Prohibition era, a Prohibition agent named Harry Anslinger, in concert, if not in collusion, with Publisher Wm. Randolph Hearst (who owned hundreds of newspapers in the U.S.), and with the Department of the Treasury (Anslinger was married to Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon's niece), began demonizing a new threat to American children (and all white women). The threat? "Marijuana"!
The market has rarely responded to a new word as enthusiastically as Anslinger's and Hearst's markets did to the introduction of the word, "marijuana". "Marijuana" (literally, "Mary Jane") was a slang word primarily Mexican laborers used for the local cannabis crops along the Texas-Mexican border, which they smoked for relaxation. Its first known use in an English-language publication appeared in the April 1905, edition of PUNCH magazine (a London-based periodical). We haven't been able to find any Spanish-language publications, which use the term earlier.
As Mexican laborers migrated farther north in increasing numbers, some of the American laborers they met, largely black field and factory workers, acquired some their habits. Most of America's blues and jazz icons emerged from this cross-cultural contamination (Anslinger's characterization). Anslinger grew increasingly anxious over the popularity of dark-skinned musicians with lighter-skinned women. There had to be some sort of magic chemical cocktail which some of the greatest musicians of all time were using to attract otherwise sane women of skin lighter than theirs.
Anslinger hung out at jazz clubs and found his villain. People were more or less openly passing around hand-rolled cigarettes made of "tea", "Muggs", "pot", "reefer", "weed", and occasionally, "marijuana". Afterwards, they laughed a little, talked incomprehensible street jive, and then went back in and played and danced to incredible music. Harry liked the ring of "marijuana", the abstract "foreignness" of it, the implied threat that went with anything foreign, especially brown greasy Mexican foreign. "Marijuana", the weed from Hell, which made white women want to touch black or brown men.
During the mid-'20s, Hearst newspapers started running stories implicating the use of "marijuana" in lurid accounts of horrible traffic disasters, whole-family mutilations, and various other otherwise-irrational acts. "But 'marijuana' makes these acts completely logical to its pitiful captives, who have become slaves to its false promise," said the Hearst stories. The perpetrators were Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other dark-skinned folks, at first.
Beaver smokes pot?
Then came the stories about kids from "Leave it to Beaver"-type homes. Middle-class white kids were being corrupted by darker-skinned people, who were unprincipled as a matter of genetics. The vehicle was "'marijuana', the seemingly-harmless weed with its roots in Hell". According to the Hearst papers, pimple-faced blond suburb-dwellers were obtaining "marijuana" from Mexican, Italian, and Greek street gangs, then raping their sisters and killing their grandparents with meat cleavers.
In 1937, Congress passed the "Marijuana Tax Act", which placed a $2.00 per ounce federal tax on trade in "marijuana". The only opponent to the bill--because almost no one knew that "marijuana" really meant "cannabis", which had widely recognized medical application--was the lobbyist for the American Medical Association. He was dismissed rudely, and the bill passed in less than 90 minutes.
1937 was also the year DuPont patented Nylon™. Now, if Nylon™ were to be the only available replacement, overnight, for hemp canvas, which might suddenly become unavailable (taxed out of existence), what might that mean for Nylon™ sales, hmmm?
We believe that Pierre DuPont and Andrew Mellon, his banker (Mellon Bank, Pittsburgh) and Secretary of the Treasury, probably at least watched with interest as the ""marijuana" conspiracy" unfolded in the press, even if they weren't actually shoveling money at Hearst and promises of power at Anslinger, since such activity would be beneath the dignity of gentlemen. But then, maybe they weren't really the gentlemen of historical fable.
Whatever. The 1937 "Marijuana" Tax Act initiated 65 years of ever-increasing governmental interference into the private decisions of all Americans, not just darker-skinned ones, although the Greeks, Italians, Mexicans, and those of African heritage have done considerably more prison time for violations of cannabis laws than have white folks, proportionate to their use of cannabis.
The 1937 "marijuana" Tax Act also effectively ended industrial hemp's reign as a staple U.S. agricultural product.
A principle reason for all these tragedies was the coining and popularization of the word "marijuana", which, combined with sleazy government-sponsored propaganda films (e.g., "Reefer Madness"), and which has grown to inspire images of slick-haired, wispily-mustached men in pimp suits passing out "reefer" to schoolkids.
We prefer to call the plant by its historically and scientifically accurate names; cannabis, or hemp.
After hearing that, an opponent to industrial hemp (having not comprehended what we just said) might say:
"Law enforcement officers can't distinguish between hemp and 'marijuana'."
This is one of those seemingly straightforward statements proposed by politicians or their law-enforcement thugs which actually is several lies wrapped in the truth.
Here is the basic truth as it relates to the assertion above. Hemp leaves have the same shape as the leaves of higher-THC-content cannabis plants. There are no other similarities closer than the similarities between pit bulls and chihuahuas.
Industrial hemp growing in a field has tall straight central stalks, with little branching except for a few short branches at the tops, containing the flowers and seed bracts. Planting hemp with 1/2" to 6" spacing creates a race for the sun among the crop, wherein each plant puts all its energy into keeping its top in the sunlight. More seeds, more stalk, more hemp, more money.
Cannabis plants being cultivated for the black market are spaced at least several feet, often yards, apart. Naturally, such plants put out many branches and many leaves laterally, because there is no competition from nearby plants. Careful growers will trim the central stalk to encourage branching. The branches each produce buds and flowers, the places of prime THC concentration in the plant. More buds, more money.
Cannabis for the black market being cultivated in a hemp field would be more obvious to any observer (especially those who fly over fields in helicopters) than cannabis being grown anywhere else. Its shape and color differences would render it about as obscure as a stolen red Lamborghini on a used car lot in Kadoka, So. Dak.
We can teach even a South Dakota Highway Patrolman to discern the difference between cannabis being grown for seed or fiber and cannabis being grown for the black market in less than 10 minutes. Anyone who uses the excuse that law enforcement officers can't tell the difference as an excuse to keep hemp illegal is stupid, uninformed, crazy, or malicious, and will see nothing silly about saying:
"If keeping hemp illegal keeps just one child off 'marijuana', it's worth it."
If nothing else sways us, then a descent, similar to this, into a taffy-like boghole of absurdity, just might. Why else would anyone say something like this? And we swear that more than one person said it to us while we were campaigning for the So. Dak. Industrial Hemp Act of 2002.
Good God! If having sent U.S. citizens to prison to the tune of 20 million aggregate years since 1937 hasn't kept people from smoking pot, then why on earth would preventing farmers from growing an oil seed crop prevent anyone from smoking pot?
We're not advocating this position to promote dope-smoking, but hemp opponents insist on using the so-called "war on drugs" as an excuse to keep hemp off the market. This is insane. Or malicious. Or at the very least, abominably stupid.
Why would any clear-thinking person use a failed and destructive law-enforcement policy to justify a stupid and destructive farm policy? What positive effect has "marijuana" prohibition achieved? Just name one positive effect.
In a public address in 2002, So. Dak. Rep. Stan Adelstein of Rapid City said, after being asked to do just that, "I know the marijuana laws work because only one of my three sons smoked pot. The other two didn't because it is illegal. I know because they told me so." Adelstein was considered by many to be the "conscience" of the legislature, largely because he was the richest member thereof. Even if two-thirds of his progeny were "drug-free", the other one-third puts his family squarely in the main-stream of having a member whom committed the criminal offense of attempting to feel better using a non-governmental-approved method.
For what reasons have we imprisoned people (for cannabis offenses alone) for 20 million years during the last three-quarters of a century? What deleterious effects can you attribute to "marijuana" use? What evidence can you produce to support your assertion?
The advocates of "marijuana" prohibition have no data to support their ardor. Not even one single damned datum. Yet, they have used lies and manufactured anecdotes to justify shooting, arresting, fining, imprisoning and confiscating the possessions of millions of people. And they will excoriate us for calling them stupid, crazy, and malicious.
Perhaps the most tragic effect of "marijuana" prohibition has been the denial of cannabis to sick, disabled and dying people who can benefit from its medicinal properties. Research on medical uses for cannabis also has been denied by the politicians, but there is a well of anecdotal evidence--so deep as to compete in evidenciary conclusiveness with the best-controlled scientific studies--on the benefits of cannabis as a dietary supplement and as a remedy for a variety of debilitating medical conditions. The results are in. Cannabis is an important, often irreplaceable and life-extending remedy for a wide variety of human maladies. Yet these morons continue to maintain:
"The government says there is no medical use for 'marijuana.'"
"Governments" (including that of the United States) once promoted bleeding and leech application as a way to rid oneself of "bad" blood, which was causing whatever symptoms the patient was exhibiting. Come to think of it, that's what governments still promote, except now the principal culprit in our national malaise seems to be whatever wealth we manage to accumulate. By ridding us of it, no matter the vehicle, government is performing a medical favor for us, getting rid of bad blood. Gee, a universal national health care system.
There have been more than one hundred government-sponsored studies of the effects of cannabis on people, by several governments. Not one suggests that cannabis is "harmful" to users, or that it induces behavior harmful to others. Nearly all acknowledge that the herb has use in alleviating symptoms (or the root cause) of one or more undesirable medical conditions.
In 1971, President Nixon commissioned, and Congress funded, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, chaired by Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer (hence, it became "the Shafer Commission"). The Commission released its findings on March 22, 1972. One of its principal conclusions was that
neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety. Therefore, the Commission recommends ... [the] possession of marijuana for personal use no longer be an offense, [and that the] casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration no longer be an offense.
On one of Nixon's famous tapes, of an oval office conversation with Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman shortly after the Shafer Report was released, we hear Nixon say,
I see another thing in the news summary this morning about it. That's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it's because most of them are psychiatrists . . .
And, on another tape, Nixon colloquializes about his conviction that people drink liquor to "have fun", while they smoke "marijuana" to "get high".
"At least with liquor I don't lose motivation," Nixon says.
In 1997, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (the same folks who spent better than $3,000,000 of your money to advertise during the Super Bowl that you're playing footsie with Osama bin Laden when you light up) commissioned the Institute of Medicine (you simply can't find a more-respected research group in America) to assess whether or not "marijuana" held properties useful to sick people. The IOM issued its report in April, 1999. Here is part of the Institute's conclusions…
Cannabis and its derivatives have shown promise in the treatment of a variety of disorders. The evidence is most impressive in glaucoma, where their mechanism of action appears to be different from the standard drugs; in asthma, where they approach isoproterenol in effectiveness; and in the nausea and vomiting of cancer chemotherapy, where they compare favorably with phenothiazines. Smaller trials have suggested cannabis might also be useful in seizures, spasticity, and other nervous system disorders. Effective doses usually produce psychotropic and cardiovascular effects and can be troublesome, particularly in older patients.
Although marijuana has not been shown unequivocally superior to any existing therapy for any of these conditions, several important aspects of its therapeutic potential should be appreciated. First, its mechanisms of action and its toxicity in several diseases are different from those of drugs now being used to treat those conditions; thus, combined use with other drugs might allow greater therapeutic efficacy without cumulative toxicity. Second, the differences in action suggest new approaches to understanding both the diseases and the drugs used to treat them. Last, there may be an opportunity to synthesize derivatives of marijuana that offer better therapeutic ratios than marijuana itself.
The Clinton White House and the ONDCP ignored the report, for which they had paid over $1 Million (of your money). Meanwhile, the U.S. government continues to send 300 pre-rolled cannabis cigarettes per month to each of seven medical patients who enrolled in the "Compassionate Investigational New Drug Authority" program in the 1980s. CINDA provided for qualifying sufferers of specific medical syndromes to legally acquire "marijuana" within the parameters of an experiment to see how allowing people to use an effective medicine might work. Inexplicably, those managing the experiment noticed almost immediately that allowing people to use an effective medicine improved the quality of their lives; indeed, it sometimes allowed them to simply go on living.
This program was made inoperable for new patients by the DEA in about 1989, because it threatened to expose all of the widely-held misperceptions about cannabis. However, those already in the program were allowed to continue, and the government supplies them cannabis from its Mississippi cannabis farm.
Those patients were so gravely ill that they were supposed to die long before now (thus diminishing the embarrassment they cause the ONDCP), but the amazing therapeutic properties of cannabis have kept them alive. Their stories are mirrored in the lives of untold thousands of people who acquire cannabis on the black market to alleviate their adverse medical conditions.
In its Jan. 30, 1997, issue, the New England Journal of Medicine editorialized, "Federal authorities should rescind their prohibition of the medicinal use of marijuana for seriously ill patients and allow physicians to decide which patients to treat." We could list over fifty respected special-interest groups that have endorsed allowing doctors and patients to use cannabis within therapy for whatever conditions it seems to benefit.
Doctors feel more confident recommending cannabis for many conditions than they do many of the generally prescribed medications for those conditions because, even if cannabis doesn't benefit the patient, the doctor can rest assured that it will not harm the patient. That is not true of almost any synthesized medication.
To conclude our thoughts on the medical properties of cannabis, we have personally witnessed numerous instances of dramatic relief from spasticity due to spinal injury and multiple sclerosis, and of therapeutic relief from the pain of a spinal injury and of migraine headaches.
The only question left of the government on this issue is, "What scientific report endorsing medical cannabis research and use, and what sociological report recommending decriminalization will you ignore next?"
This all simply leads us to conclude that…
Hemp is not illegal because of possible conflicts in enforcing "marijuana" laws. To the contrary, "marijuana" is kept illegal in order to keep hemp off the market.
The sooner hemp activists understand that, and adjust their political activity accordingly, the sooner we can act as a united front and project that much stronger a political image.
The scariest aspect of all this is that the same minds which have formulated the questions we discussed here--and ignored the answers--are right now making life-affecting decisions for us in every aspect of our lives. Every question and every stupid assertion we illustrated in this essay has been proposed by an elected official.
These are the same folks who decide what kind of house you can live in and where you can build it, whether or not you will be allowed to do what you do for a living without bribing (paying a license fee to) the state, whether or not you are allowed to possess a tool with which you can defend yourself, what government make-work programs you will be forced to fund, how the tobacco settlement will be spent…, well, you get the picture.
Ignorance and obstinance of the depth we must wade through to even get a politician to take us seriously presents a formidable obstacle. We'd better sharpen our shovels, and that means understanding what the opposition's goals are. In our specific battle, their goal is to keep hemp off the market, not to keep people from smoking pot (although some of the people opponents enlist to spout their moronic platitudes may believe that pot-smoking is the boogieman they're after).
Carl Sagan was one of the world's most respected astrophysicists for more than 40 years, until his death a few years ago. He continuously promoted skepticism of all theories or assertions until they had been tested numerous times by methods and people disinterested in the outcome in the sense that they were looking for the truth rather than a particular result. This promotion of skepticism extended to his own theories. In The Demon-Haunted World, a book devoted to critical thinking about all the world's mysteries and proposed solutions to them, Sagan says:
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. So the old bamboozles tend to persist as new ones arise.
For more than 65 years, we've been under the spell of a charlatan named Harry Anslinger, holding the most miraculous plant on earth (and its proponents and users) hostage to his assertion that, "Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."
But it's not fair to blame Anslinger for it, either. He was simply a law enforcement thug hired by the politicians to enforce the laws they were bribed into passing by the unprincipled business interests who bought them their jobs and appearances of power. But he also illustrates the unclear lines between proponent and enabler, wherein the proponent politicians and their patrons tell the enabler law enforcement "expert" what to say, then use what the enabler says as justification for their actions. We have seen the practice applied numerous times in South Dakota legislative hearings.
All systems work. Some work better than others. Some which work well are destructive to the welfare of the larger system within which it is just one of many systems. Such is the case with the justice system and its subsystem, law enforcement.
The justice system is quite efficient at disposing of the fodder brought it by law enforcement, which is, in turn pretty good at bringing in just exactly the quantity of fodder required by the justice system. Strange how the fodder available always equals 123% of the designed carrying capacity of the jurisdiction's jails, thus always keeping pressure on the electorate to pony up more money to quell crime and house the offenders.
But the justice system is demonstrably a miserable failure at keeping people from smoking cannabis. There is an assemblage of data that make it look, in fact, as if the prohibition laws actually are a causative factor in the overall panoply of reasons people smoke pot.
Cops and courts are pretty good at providing deterrence to and punishment for crimes where people hurt other people without justification. That is, they could again be pretty good at it if that's what they were primarily supposed to do. But it seems like law enforcement is 70% or 80% oriented to creating situations wherein cops can search people for "drugs". This, of course, creates a basic cynicism about law enforcement officers which no amount of "thin blue line" or "heroes" propaganda can overcome. Our primary emotion when we know we're in close proximity to a cop is fear. We have seen enough to know that fear is justified. Cops who can search on a whim can find what they're looking for on a whim, too.
Many proponents of industrial hemp production insist that hemp can be successfully re-legalized while keeping the legal sanctions intact regarding "marijuana". They point to Canada, England, France, etc., as examples. We agree that re-legalizing hemp production in the United States under any of the models used by any country which produces hemp would be a step in the right direction.
But, as a practical matter, we believe that the industrial forces keeping hemp illegal in America won't let it happen that way. Perhaps they're moving operations to China to produce hemp for the U.S. market even as they are lobbying quietly to keep the barriers up here. Perhaps the agricultural-product conglomerates are researching seed genetics to produce a hemp seed that will not produce a sexually viable adult. Thus, a farmer will be forced to buy seed each year from the patent-holder of the seed. Maybe when that program is ready, we'll see movement to re-legalize.
Again and again we see how well some subsystems work, even as they work to destroy the greater systems of which they are a part. No plant on earth seems as anxious to please man as does hemp. No plant which even approaches it in versatility of usefulness can grow in as many latitudes and altitudes as hemp. Food, fuel, clothing, shelter, and jobs for as many people as want to specialize in any facet of production; there must be some reason God placed hemp on Earth. We doubt that it was to provide cops, lawyers, judges, prison guards, and urine testing companies reasons for existence. For example, the city of Columbus, Ohio has violent crime and property crime rates higher than the national average. A Columbus criminal attorney or Columbus city cop should be more concerned with prosecuting these real criminals instead of the hemp industry.
We'd rather believe--and we think we have justification to believe--that it was placed on Earth to be the perfect food, soothing and versatile dietetic and industrial oil, strong fiber and cloth, and durable building product it is, all while being the most efficient farm crop at exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen in the atmosphere. The latter quality may become more important as the last of the rain forests are logged out and burnt off to provide a couple of years cropping before the already-poor soil is depleted entirely and left to erode into the Amazon River.
All our opponents are caught up in some short-sighted system which is working at odds with the system which governs all life. They're as much victims of misguided public policy as we are. We don't assume to understand more than a part of what the "big" system even looks like, but we try to look at the parts we can see with a critical eye. What we see of public policy regarding the hemp plant simply makes no sense, even by the credulity standards of most who oppose hemp production, and it can not stand up to even the most rudimentary informed of arguments.
by Bob Newland