Hemp for Victory

Hemp for Victory
Posted by FoM on June 29, 2001 at 13:35:10 PT
By Jamie Pietras 
Source: Columbus Alive 
Industrial hemp’s a smokescreen for full-blown marijuana legalization. Let farmers grow it and marijuana will be abundant, causing nightmares for law enforcement. Such rhetoric should sound familiar to anyone who’s heard the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s official stance on the sturdy and versatile crop. The idea that a plant associated with marijuana could save farmers’ livelihoods and the environment too doesn’t register with drug warriors. 
To be sure, the crop known as industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis, the plant family with over 400 strains to which marijuana also belongs. But you can’t get high off of industrial hemp, and it’s quite distinguishable from the short, bushy, flowering marijuana plant that produces coveted psychoactive buds. What you can do with hemp, say it’s advocates, is forge a more eco-friendly means of paper, food, fiber and fuel production. Since it grows to maturation in just 120 days, hemp is a viable alternative to deforestation, say environmentalists. It’s relatively easy to grow and provides more fiber per acre than trees typically do. And while many marijuana decriminalization activists support industrial hemp, another group with perhaps even better insight supports it, too: Ohio’s farmers. In lobbying for the legalization of industrial hemp cultivation in Ohio, For a Better Ohio founder Kenny Schweickart has garnered the support of the Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Farmer’s Union and Grange Association. “It’s a very hearty product and a very strong fiber,” said Andrew Franks, public relations director of the Ohio Farmers Union. “It’s such a renewable resource, it replenishes itself year after year...The best example of industrial hemp use is the Navy during World War II.” During the war, farmers across the country were shown the U.S. Department of Agriculture film Hemp for Victory and encouraged to plant cannabis seeds in the name of patriotism. Apparently, the war against the Japanese took priority over the war on drugs. More than 20,000 farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota and Wisconsin contracted with the government to grow hemp, according to Chris Conrad’s Hemp: Lifeline to the Future. Hemp was already a controversial issue before the military relied on it to win the war, though. It posed a threat to chemical giant DuPont, which was developing a chemical paper pulping process, and newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, who saw hemp as a threat to the value of his forest holdings. Both used their political influence and Hearst’s media dominance to push for intense regulations and prompt a “Reefer Madness” hysteria in U.S. newspapers in the 1920s and 1930s. As the hysteria spread, what had for centuries been a relatively benign intoxicant became what Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry Anslinger called “an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality and death” during Congressional testimony for the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act—the first federal legislation prohibiting unregulated traffic in marijuana. Sixty-four years later, Reefer Madness is alive and well. During June 16, 1999, testimony to a House subcommittee on criminal justice, Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Barry McCaffrey testified, “ONDCP has expressed reservations about the legalization of hemp as an agricultural product because of the potential for increasing marijuana growth and use. While legitimate hardworking farmers may want to grow the crop to support their families, many of the other proponents of hemp legalization have not been as honest about their goals.” Currently, the United States must import hemp from abroad to manufacture everything from shoes to paper to hand lotion.Last November, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced a surprising and extreme measure. If the DEA gets its way, all hemp skin-care, cosmetics and food products would effectively be illegal in the United States. To protest the DEA’s efforts, skin- and hair-care chain The Body Shop kicked off a petition drive at its 285 stores nationwide to voice consumer opposition. Schweickart said his group is looking to 2002 to lobby state legislators for industrial hemp legalization in Ohio. He said that Republican Agriculture Committee Chair Doug White has supported the bill and is interested in sponsoring it. White did not return a phone call from Columbus Alive seeking comment. Now, with support from state farming organizations for industrial hemp, all that’s missing is a key law enforcement endorsement. Columbus Alive left a message for the Ohio Association of Police Chiefs, but it was not returned by presstime. “We neutralize law enforcement, we’ll have legalized industrial hemp in Ohio,” Schweickart said of the campaign.Source: Columbus Alive (OH)Author: Jamie Pietras Published: June 28, 2001Copyright: 2001 Columbus Alive, Inc. Website: Articles & Web Site:For a Better Ohio Conrad Links Campaign To Decriminalize Pot Sentencing Laws Hemp Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #3 posted by mayan on June 29, 2001 at 18:05:02 PT
Save hemp from the DEA!!!
If you haven't already, check out the body shop's site & e-petition the DEA.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by ekim on June 29, 2001 at 16:07:44 PT:
Questions about Hemp Prohibition
:At Keith's request, I did a little research on the U.S.S. Constitution,and I found some interesting things. It looks like they didn't use hempin the restoration after all. There are some good articles and pictureson if you type in Constitution in a search. Here's one ofthe better ones: Kris I have heard that Hemp has been removed from the Smithsonian.Is this true.> No problem. I'm glad I could help.>> You're right about the Smithsonian. Amazing that a museum would actuallytry> to erase history, rather than preserve it. I guess such is the fate of a> drug war state.>> Regards,> Kris Krane> Assistant to the Director> NORML>
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by aocp on June 29, 2001 at 15:49:30 PT
it’s [hemp] quite distinguishable from the short, bushy, flowering marijuana plant that produces coveted psychoactive buds....unless you're a state-sponsored thug with a badge, that is. They must've been whacked with the stoopid-stick a bit too much at the "academy".
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment