Legalize pot—and hemp

Their current illegality serves no good purpose

The author states he is “a San Francisco-born California native, artist and advocate for change through awareness with great respect and appreciation for Mother Earth and all our relations.”

In response to the recent anti-cannabis rhetoric: Marijuana has far fewer negative attributes than either alcohol or tobacco, and when used in moderation can be very beneficial, even more so when ingested rather than smoked.

No one has ever died from marijuana consumption or invoked a violation code for being stoned and disorderly. Its beneficial medicinal properties have demonstrated it to be useful, aiding people coping with stress, nausea, migraines and pain management and in research reversing the effects of cancer cells.

The current system’s criminalization is the very cause of most problematic situations citizen complaints are addressing. Various states have legalized medicinal marijuana only to have it remain in the shadows with an illegal underground status due to a federal agenda that has other interests motivating its continued criminalization and fear-mongering campaign.

Marijuana’s criminalization dates back to the 1930s, when William Randolph Hearst and the DuPont Co. created a fraudulent fear campaign against marijuana in an effort to eliminate its benign cousin, agricultural hemp. Hearst, the newspaper mogul with huge timber holdings, and DuPont with the necessary chemical processes to bleach the wood pulp for paper use, could not compete with the fast-growing, less-expensive hemp industry; so they eliminated it. Hemp farmers, a historical mainstay of American agriculture, could not compete financially or politically in litigation with the Hearst/DuPont campaign, and so succumbed to their more powerful competitors.

The two plants remain to this day erroneously tied together in criminalization, one falsely demonized (marijuana) to criminalize the other (hemp). With its many beneficial uses (cloth, paper, oil, rope, seed, etc.), hemp could virtually replace most plastic material with a fast-growing superior biodegradable product at a fraction of the costs, financially and environmentally.

Hemp is a threat to the oil industry, whose lobbyists ensure federal politicians retain laws to override state law to maintain the criminalization on both fronts. Oregon has legalized industrial hemp, but potential federal repercussions dare anyone to put their lands at risk.

The legalization of hemp has the ability to revolutionize our economy, creating new clean sustainable jobs. As for its cousin marijuana, its legalization would create regulations and tax revenue, saving taxpayers billions of dollars in law enforcement, court costs and lengthy incarceration of individuals for “criminal” horticulture.