More Madness from the Mouth of ONDCP Flack Tom Riley

Sounds like ONDCP spokesman Tom Riley's been smokin' the whacky weed....

It looks like it’s been a big couple of weeks for our man Tom Riley, spokesman for the White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy. As Reefer Madness reports below, instead of respond to a reporter’s questions about the ONDCP budget, Riley called the reporter’s boss – in a true second-grade nanny-nanny-boo-boo moment – to try to imply that reporter Ryan Grim was somehow unqualified or too biased to handle reporting on the ONDCP because he used to work for the pot-law reform group, the Marijuana Policy Project.

Now, Vote Hemp reports that Riley worked his seemingly mean-spirited – and, unfortunately, completely inaccurate – brand of spin on Jan. 28 for a reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune with his comments about industrial hemp farming. In that article, Riley said this: “You have legitimate farmers who want to experiment with a new crop,” he said. “But you have another group, very enthusiastic, who want to allow cultivation of hemp because they believe it will led to a de facto legalization of marijuana.” And, Riley lamented, the “last thing law enforcement people need is for the cultivation of marijuana-looking plants to spread. Are we going to ask them to go through, row by row, field by field, to distinguish between legal hemp and marijuana?”

Okay, we’re not sure what Riley’s smokin’ over there, but he should stop – and now – because it appears to be effecting his grip on reality. First, hemp is not a new crop: it is, in fact, one of the oldest known cultivated plants and, until the early part of the 20th century, was a major staple in the American agricultural economy – Betsy Ross’ flag was made from hemp, for example, and hemp was considered legal tender for taxes.

Second – and third – Reefer Madness has no idea who these “enthusiastic” activists are who Riley says consider hemp legalization as a means to legalize pot. Those knowledgeable about industrial hemp will tell you that not only are the plants distinct from one another, but the idea that pot purveyors – at least mildly intelligent pot purveyors – would actually want to plant their crop amid a field of industrial hemp, is simply laughable. For starters, the level of scrutiny that would inevitably be focused on any legal hemp-farming endeavor would make the nearby cultivation of the plant’s narcotic cousin a supremely stupid idea. But more importantly, it is widely accepted – except within the brain trust of the ONDCP and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, both of which appear willfully blind to the science involved – that because of cross-pollination, hemp plants would actually render any narcotic pot plant impotent and thus worthless as a drug.

Maybe Riley thinks American police are slow or something – indeed, that’s the only way to explain why they’d be combing fields all day long in search of pot plants. Hemp farming has been legal in Canada since 1997 and reportedly, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police haven’t had any such problems. I’m certain our boys in blue are at least as competent as the RCMP.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

ONDCP, Tom Riley, industrial hemp

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