Tag Archives: policy

Washington Post discuss farmers’ quest to seperate hemp and pot

Not sure if there is much luck to be found with this strategy.  The powers that be know the difference, they just don’t find it in their economic interest to act with science and sense in mind.  Anyhow, good to see coverage in the mainstream media in a fairly decent article and a mention of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to make it even better (cross-posted here for education purposes via hemp ed).

From Washington Post: Farmers Ask Federal Court To Dissociate Hemp and Pot
By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 12, 2007; Page A03

Wayne Hauge grows grains, chickpeas and some lentils on 2,000 acres in northern North Dakota. Business is up and down, as the farming trade tends to be, and he is always on the lookout for a new crop. He tried sunflowers and safflowers and black beans. Now he has set his sights on hemp.

Hemp, a strait-laced cousin of marijuana, is an ingredient in products from fabric and food to carpet backing and car door panels. Farmers in 30 countries grow it. But it is illegal to cultivate the plant in the United States without federal approval, to the frustration of Hauge and many boosters of North Dakota agriculture.

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.

To clear up the popular confusion about the properties of what is sometimes called industrial hemp, the crop’s prospective purveyors explain that hemp and smokable marijuana share a genus and a species but are about as similar as rope and dope.

The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. While hemp typically contains 0.3 percent THC, the leaves and flowers coveted by pot smokers have 5 percent or more, sometimes up to 30 percent.

“You could smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole,” Hague said of hemp, “and it’s not going to provide you with a high.”

Experts on the subject say a headache is far more likely than a buzz.

In the small town of Ray, N.D., Hauge said people — his friends, mostly — make cracks.

“Usually it’s something about whether or not the DEA is going to arrest me or if my phone is being tapped,” Hauge said. “It’s kind of difficult to provoke me. I’m also a CPA, and I have had a tax practice in Ray for 25 years. I was an EMT for 18 years. And I’m not a person who smokes. I don’t smoke anything. I exercise a lot and I’m pretty healthy.”

David Bronner is a vegan California businessman who uses hemp oil to make his Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap richer and smoother. He touts hemp milk as a challenger to soy and adds hemp seeds, full of Omega-3 fatty acids, to a snack bar called Alpsnack.

He says the hulled seeds look like sesame seeds and taste like pine nuts.

Bronner’s company spends about $100,000 a year importing 10,000 pounds of hemp oil and 10,000 pounds of seeds from Canada. To do so, he first had to win a federal court battle with the Justice Department, which tried to ban the imports. One of his arguments was the prevalence and popularity of the crop elsewhere.

“In Canada and Europe, where industrial hemp is grown, no one is trying to smoke it and the sky is not falling,” said Bronner, president of the Hemp Industries Association, a trade group. Likening hemp seeds to marijuana, he said, is like equating poppy seeds with opium.

Hauge is joined by Monson, a Republican state legislator who helped pass a law in 1999 that would permit hemp cultivation and establish limits to ease the federal government’s worries. They have the backing of Vote Hemp, an advocacy organization, and state Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, who personally delivered paperwork to the DEA in February on the farmers’ behalf.

In a lengthy March 5 letter to DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy, Johnson quoted a university professor’s conclusion that under “the most fundamental principles of pharmacology, it can be shown that it is absurd, in practical terms, to consider industrial hemp useful as a drug.”

That’s how Tim Purdon sees it. He is a Bismarck lawyer for Hauck and Monson.

“Some people call me up with the idea that my clients and myself are some sort of marijuana legalization effort,” Purdon said. “My clients are farmers. They are looking for a crop they can make money on in the tough business of being a family farmer.”

Hauge is feeling optimistic. He has signed up for a hemp cultivation seminar in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It starts Friday.

70 years of failed cannabis prohibition in USA

Hemp farmers

Thanks to Hemp Ed in Pe Ell who reminds us that everyone should take note of the significance of Oct. 2nd.

Indeed, October 2, 2006 was the dubious anniversary of 70 years hassle when unemployed Colorado laborer Samuel R. Caldwell was arrested for selling two marijuana cigarettes to Moses Baca and became the first federal marijuana arrest. For his crime, he was sentenced to four years of hard labor at Leavenworth Penitentiary, plus a $1,000 fine.

Hemp Ed says, “This was a bad day for America, and has lead to the arrest and incarceration of 10 of millions of Americans, and opened the door to far more reaching invasive laws into all our freedoms. When will the madness end?”

Not anytime soon it seems as 2006 set a new high (heh) for cannabis arrests. NORML kicks down some opinion and factoids in a stylish chart documenting the debacle.

Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director {give Mr. St Pierre a ring at (202) 483-5500} concluded in NORML’s report: “Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrests in the United States,” that:

“Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers between $10 billion and $12 billion annually and has led to the arrest of nearly 20 million Americans. Nevertheless, some 94 million Americans acknowledge having used marijuana during their lives. It makes no sense to continue to treat nearly half of all Americans as criminals for their use of a substance that poses no greater – and arguably far fewer – health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to tax and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco.”

MARIJUANA ARRESTS BY YEAR
US Marijuana Arrests 1965-2006

Producer of Marihuana tax stamp.Obligatory Wikipedia snippet from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1937_Marihuana_Tax_Act

In the United States, the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, Pub. 238, 75th Congress, 50 Stat. 551 (Aug. 2, 1937), was one of the cornerstone bills that led to the criminalization of cannabis. It was introduced to U.S. Congress by Harry Anslinger, then Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

The act did not itself criminalize the possession or usage of cannabis, but levied a tax equaling roughly one dollar on anyone who dealt commercially in marijuana. It did, however, include penalty provisions. Violations of proper procedure could result in a fine of up to $2000 and five years’ imprisonment. The net effect was to make it too risky for anyone to deal in the substance.

 

Practical Guide to Hemp Cannabis – Guide for Policy Makers

Created and published by hemplobby.org in June 1999 – over a decade before legalization of cannabis would come to the USA – this collection of history, agricultural information, plant botany, legal frameworks, factoids and further readings was distributed to legislators, policymakers, teachers, and activists around the world but primarily in Washington (State and DC) and Oregon.

Now that legislative change is sweeping across America – focused primarily on medical and recreational use – it’s important to also remember the benefits of low/no THC industrial hemp which can be made into literally thousands of different products and help negate many conundrums around modern agriculture, climate change, and survival of family farms.

While much of the information is out of date, take a read through to see where Cannabis legalization and education were at the end of the last century.

Created by Ed Saukooja, Dave Olson and David White.