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This Bud's for You

LdyLunatic

i wanna be cool too!
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Virginia -- The fight for freedom is one in which titanic triumphs can be followed by trench warfare over trivialities. Naziism is no more -- but the Norfolk city council cannot decide whether to permit tattoo parlors.
The communist empire has been consigned to the dustbin of history -- but the commissars of the drug war are still hung up on rope. And that is a pity for the nation's farmers, particularly here in Virginia.

The rope in question is made from industrial hemp, a plant with most of the characteristics of marijuana, except for the crucial one: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, more briefly known as THC -- the actual drug in the drug of choice for the nation's potheads.

The THC concentration in high-potency "blue sky blond," "Hawaiian," and other varieties can reach 20 percent. In industrial hemp, the THC concentration cannot exceed 0.3 percent. The plants look alike, but to get high off the industrial stuff, says Roger Johnson, "would take a joint the size of a telephone pole."

Johnson is the state agricultural commissioner for North Dakota, and he thinks farmers should be allowed to grow industrial hemp. So does the California state legislature, which recently passed a bill to that effect. Seven other states have passed similar measures -- including Virginia, which approved a 1999 resolution calling on the federal government to allow cultivation of industrial hemp.

Hemp has a proud tradition here in the Old Dominion, which once -- in a 1623 statute -- actually required farmers to grow it. In those days hangings were called "hemp pullings" (guess why), and the Dismal Swamp Company planned to drain the swamp to grow hemp there. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp, and the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp-fiber paper.

For centuries hemp flourished in the U.S. ranking as the third-largest agricultural commodity in the 1800s. In 1850, the Census counted almost 9,000 hemp plantations. Then along came the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act. It effectively killed off the crop, except for a brief period during WWII when the Japanese seized the Philippines and interrupted the supply of Manila hemp. The "Hemp for Victory" campaign was on, at least for a while.

With such a patriotic pedigree, one would think hemp would be as impervious to criticism as Mom, apple pie, and the first American flag sewn by Betsy Ross -- which also contained hemp fiber. Not so. The Drug Enforcement Administration objects to legalizing hemp cultivation because it fears drug dealers could let the snoppies grow in farmers' fields, between the hemp stalks row on row.

Yet those who are, ah, more than theoretically conversant in marijuana cultivation contend that mixing ganga and hemp is a prescription for disaster. Not only must the plants be spaced differently (tightly for hemp, to maximize stalks; loosely for pot, to maximize leafage), but cross-pollination would dilute the pot's potency and ruin the yield.

For that reason, hard-core drug warriors ought to embrace hemp cultivation. "Not only is it a good idea, it's a major headache for marijuana [growers]," a lobbyist for the North American Industrial Hemp Council has said. The lobbyist, who has been called a "dirtbag" in High Times magazine for encouraging hemp's use as a biological weapon against drug dealers, has said one would have to "be stark-raving mad to try to hide marijuana in the middle of a hemp crop because of cross-pollination." The lobbyist is James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Sadly, rational discussion of hemp is scant. When he was head of the DEA, former congressman Asa Hutchinson asserted: "Many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana." As a writer for the Los Angeles Times riposted: "One reason many Americans do not know this is because it's not true. That's like saying beagles and collies are both parts of the same dog and that beagles cannot be produced without producing collies."

Asked a couple of years ago why the U.S. can't distinguish between marijuana and hemp when more than 30 other countries with legal hemp farming -- from China to Canada to most of the European Union -- are capable of doing so, the DEA's chief of chemical evaluation replied, "I'm not going to comment on what other countries do." Oh.

The benefits of hemp ought to be obvious to anyone contemplating the future of Virginia agriculture in the twilight of tobacco. Hemp grows rapidly with little need for pesticides; it is good for the soil; and it can be used to make a vast cornucopia of products, from paper to garments to cosmetics to salad dressings (hemp is high in protein, Vitamin E, and essential fatty oils). Virginia, this bud's for you.

In short: Hemp could put clothes on people's backs, put money in farmers' pockets, and keep pot out of children's hands. But according to the federal government, if you think that's enough reason to let farmers grow the stuff, you must be smoking something.

Complete Title: This Bud's for You: Federal Ban on Hemp Cultivation Amounts To Reefer Madness

Newshawk: John Tyler
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Author: A. Barton Hinkle Times-Dispatch Columnist
Published: September 4, 2006
Copyright: 2006 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
 

W ï l l

hash for humanity
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meh...the same goes in the reverse mr james foolsey....if hemp plants cross with MJ plants lessening their potency...then the same will happen as MJ crosses with hemp and raises it's potency.

wutta bonehead.

hellz, give us growers enough time and we will develop hemp resistant MJ!

did i say he was a bonehead?
 

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