Monday, November 12, 2007

High on hemp

by Libby

Of all the dunderheaded policies in the war on some drugs, the prohibition on industrial hemp is the most ill-advised and counter-productive. At least 30 countries grow it commercially. It brings in billions in revenue worldwide and it's the most environmentally safe product to grow and to process. I'm glad to see American farmers finally standing up to the DEA on this issue.

On Wednesday, Hauge and David C. Monson, a fellow aspiring hemp farmer, will ask a federal judge in Bismarck to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to yield to a state law that would license them to become hemp growers.

"I'm looking forward to the court battle," said Hauge, a 49-year-old father of three. "I don't know why the DEA is so afraid of this."

The law is the law and it treats all varieties of Cannabis sativa L. the same, Bush administration lawyers argue in asking U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland to throw out the case. The DEA says a review of the farmers' applications is underway.

In a way, pot smokers share some of the blame on the vilification of this plant due to the former custom of referring to the psychotropic variety of cannabis as hemp. The old nickname created confusion in the non-consumers mind and the two came to be thought of as synonymous. But the difference is vast and it is not mere hyperbole to suggest that hemp could indeed save the planet.

A google search on uses of hemp turns up 2,500,000 hits and this one explains its value as well as any. To classify a fiber as a drug is beyond nonsensical. The plant has been cultivated in the US in the past without endangering society. In fact, at one time, it's cultivation was encouraged as part of the war effort. Hemp for Victory was the call in the 40s.

Hemp was outlawed at the same time DuPont was developing synthetic fibers to replace it. It's well past time for our government to end this corporate welfare program and stop blocking this extraordinarily beneficial crop. DuPont no longer needs the help but American farmers do.

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