Hemp, Hemp, Hemp, Hemp

RECEIVED Fri., March 16, 2007

Dear Editor,
    Regarding Jordan Smith's March 16 column [“Reefer Madness,” News], the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world that denies farmers the right to grow industrial hemp. Apparently, government bureaucrats in Washington can't tell the difference between a tall hemp stalk and a short marijuana bush. Prior to the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, few Americans had even heard of marijuana, despite widespread cultivation of its nonintoxicating cousin, industrial hemp. The first anti-marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best.
    White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda. The original reefer madness myths have long been discredited, forcing the drug war gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on politicized research, trying to find harm in a relatively harmless plant. The direct experience of millions of Americans contradicts the lies used to justify marijuana prohibition. Reefer madness is a poor excuse for criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. There is no excuse for denying farmers the right to grow industrial hemp.
    For historical background, please visit: www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm. For additional historical background from an impeccable source, please see the Canadian Senate report: www.parl.gc.ca/37/1/parlbus/commbus/senate/com-e/ille-e/rep-e/summary-e.pdf.
Robert Sharpe, MPA
Policy analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy
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