Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ron Paul's Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011 Would Benefit All Americans

"Over 25,000 products can be manufactured from hemp, from cellophane to dynamite." ~ Popular Mechanics, 1938 The knee-jerk reaction by some to the suggestion that we legalize industrial hemp is both amusing and distressing. They are ignorant of the fact that hemp is NOT the same as marijuana. Their fear comes from being closed minded and from having bought into the anti-hemp lies and propaganda. Out of ignorance, they accuse those who favor industrial hemp of being soft on drug use. They are just plain wrong. See videos below... On May 11, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced legislation that would legalize industrial hemp farming in the U.S. for the first time since 1970. Paul's bill, H.R.1831 is the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011" and it is intended to "amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana." (See full text of HR 1831) We need to legalize industrial hemp. It's useful as a source of fuel, fibers, medicines, even food. This should NOT be a politicized issue. This variety of hemp is NOT the same as its marijuana cousin and has little or none of the THC that drug users value. Industrial hemp contains less than 1% of THC, which is the psychoactive component in marijuana. "Trying to get high on industrial hemp," wrote Mike Wrona at "is akin to trying to get drunk on non-alcohol beer." The North American Industrial Hemp Council, Inc. (NAIHC) agrees. "Due to the similar leaf shape," the NAIHC website says, "hemp is frequently confused with marijuana. Although both plants are from the species cannabis, hemp contains virtually no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. Hemp cannot be used as a drug because it produces virtually no THC (less than 1%), where marijuana produces between 5 - 20 % THC." Wrona was quoting directly from another piece on hemporganic.com, which sells tee shirts made of organic cotton and hemp. Nevertheless, they give interesting information about industrial hemp. Wrona prefaced his copy-paste of hemporganic's piece by noting that "South Dakota was first [to ask] the federal government for permission to grow industrial hemp. Just recently Vermont has asked for the same consideration." It is shameful that any state should have to ask the federal government permission to grow a harmful and extremely useful crop. (I, and many others, would argue that it is unconstitutional for the federal government to deny a state that right.) Many of my fellow conservatives are completely ignorant of the value of industrial hemp and automatically assume that it's marijuana. They freak out, because of ignorance, believing that the (re)legalization of non-marijuana hemp is equivalent to legalizing marijuana, and therefore they see this as being soft on drug use. Nothing could be further from the truth. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the War on Drugs except that it is wrongly associated with it by knee-jerk ignoramuses. "When the U.S. was in its infancy in 1776," wrote The Red Phoenix, "one plant was considered so important to national independence that it was required that a set amount of acreage be given to it. That crop? Was it wheat? No. Cotton? No. Corn? No. Tobacco? Certainly not. That crop was hemp. Even back then, humans knew the value of the long, strong fibers that this plant produces. In fact, these fibers are the strongest natural fibers known to mankind." Red Phoenix wrapped up by saying, "Given the uses in food, fiber and fuel alone, even if we ignored the medicinal properties of this plant, we have every reason to demand in this world where food is scarce, where fiber is needed for paper and clothes and where oil, our primary fuel is running out, to demand that American farmers be allowed to grow this useful product." How do you argue with that from an informed, rational standpoint? You can't. To oppose that requires you to be ignorant of facts, unwilling to accept the facts because you are blinded by ideology, and to assume that industrial hemp is the same as smokable marijuana because of your ignorance.

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