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« Society  
The USA-DEA Cabal: An Enemy of Reason [1]
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As every educated member of the genus Homo sapiens should know, hemp is the world's most important ecological resource — a virtual miracle plant, which, as a Popular Mechanics article pointed out in 1938, can be used to produce over 25,000 products. Industrial applications, which Rowan Robinson lists in The Great Book of Hemp, include textiles; cordage; construction products; paper and packaging; furniture; electrical and automotive applications; paints, sealants and cosmetics; plastics and polymers; lubricants and fuel; energy and biomass; compost; and food and feed.

Hemp was cultivated for fiber and medicine in China as early as 2800 BCE. Its cultivation spread from Central Asia, where it is indigenous, to Africa, Australasia, and the Americas. Evidence in the form of hemp clothing and skeins of hemp fiber found in the Death Mask Mound in Ohio shows that hemp was used in North American as early as 400 BCE.

It is, of course, impossible here to discuss in some detail even the most important uses of hemp. But a brief summary, such as the one given in Robinson's study and Jack Herer's The Emperor Wears No Clothes, an underground bestseller, is a good way to start. Herer reminds us that from about the 5th century BCE to late 19th century, 90 percent of all ships' sails were made from hemp. Hemp fiber is excellent for all kinds of cordage, used for centuries throughout the world.

Until the 20th century, most paper as well as textiles and fabrics used for clothing, bed sheets and linens, rugs, drapes and so on were made from hemp. Hemp paper is much more durable than wood pulp paper, while rag paper (which contains hemp fiber) is „the highest quality and longest lasting paper ever made." The first draft of the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper, on which were also printed, among many others, the works of Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, Rabelais, Victor Huge, Lewis Carroll, and many others.

An acre of hemp can deliver four times as much fiber as an acre of trees, hemp being environmentally very friendly. Drought resistant, it grows quickly and abundantly, requiring few if any pesticides. It chokes out weeds and leaves the soil clear for another cycle of cultivation. It is thus an ideal rotation crop. And it can even clean up polluted soil by drawing up heavy metals through its roots.

Hempseed yields probably the best vegetable oil for human consumption because it is the highest of all plants in essential fatty acids, near-perfect for the human body. It is among the lowest in saturated fats at only 8 percent and contains 55 percent linoleic acid and 25 percent linolenic acid, the highest in total essential fatty acids. „Of the 3 million plus edible plants that grow on Earth," says Herer, "no other single plant source can compare with the nutritional value of hempseeds."

Another very important potential use of hemp is that „on a global scale, [it] produces the most net biomass .. and is the only annually renewable plant on Earth able to replace all fossil fuels." One acre of hemp is said to yield about 1,000 gallons of methanol. As Herer reports, Henry Ford grew marijuana „possibly to prove the cheapness of methanol production… He made plastic cars with wheat straw, hemp and sisal." Producing hemp paper will help stop the senseless destruction of the few remaining ancient forests and restore an ecological balance between industrial needs and nature conservation.

Added to this bewildering array of benefits of hemp cultivation and processing should be the impressive medical properties of hemp's close cousin, marijuana. Of little agricultural use, marijuana has nevertheless remarkable medicinal applications. It can reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) in glaucoma, lessen nausea and vomiting in cancer patients, and provide relief for those who suffer from asthma and migraine headaches. It can also be effective as an antiarthritic, antibiotic, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, and analgesic.

Contrary to what the U.S. government and DEA spokespeople claim, marijuana is a relatively safe, non-addictive drug — no drug, legal or illegal, being entirely safe. According to World Almanacs, Life Insurance actuarial rates, and the last 20 years of U.S. Surgeon General's reports (quoted in Herer), about 400,000 people every year are killed by tobacco, 150,000 by alcohol, several thousand by caffeine. Even aspirin kills people, but there is no provable case of a single death due to marijuana use.

Other important medical applications are known, but the point should be obvious: the industrial and medicinal potential of hemp and marijuana is nothing short of phenomenal. These plants are unquestionably among Nature's best gifts to humankind.

What more could inhabitants of the planet Earth, who call themselves "sapiens," wish for in their attempts to solve mounting energy and food production problems as well as to stop deforestation and soil contamination and erosion? It is only rational not only to legalize but encourage mass hemp cultivation and permit at least medical uses of marijuana. But since 1937, the United States has done exactly the opposite. The Marijuana Tax Act (MTA) of 1937 launched a vicious, destructive, hysterical, deceitful, and expensive but ultimately useless federal campaign to suppress both marijuana and hemp. The culmination of this anti-human and anti-Nature legislation is the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which classifies marijuana as one of the most dangerous drugs and does not differentiate between hemp and marijuana, both of which cannot be legally cultivated in the United States.

What „on Earth" happened?

The CSA categorized all drugs into five „schedules," mainly based upon the drug's potential for abuse and its medical uses. Schedule-One drugs have "a high potential for abuse .. have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States .. and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of [these drugs or other substances] under medical supervision." According to the authors of the CSA, marijuana is such a drug. So is heroin. So are mescaline and peyote and several dozens of such lesser known opiates, opium derivatives, and hallucinogenics as acetylmethadol, etorphine, and psilocybin.

In the group of Schedule-One drugs are also listed tetrahydrocannabinols (THCs), separately from marijuana, even though the plant genus to which marijuana belongs is the only natural source of THCs. Hemp is not mentioned at all, so an argument could be made that hemp was not originally targeted for suppression. However, because hemp may contain trace amounts of THCs, the DEA treats both hemp and marijuana the same: as sources of Schedule-One drugs. This is the basis of the current DEA's stand on hemp.

Only a complete ignoramus, a religious fanatic, and/or despicable hypocrite could claim — today or in 1937 — that marijuana has „no .. accepted medical use." To say that this is so is like arguing that white is black and that the Earth is flat, despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary.

What „on Earth" is going on?

The main problem in any discussion of the U.S.-DEA's ecocidal and fascist-like war on marijuana and hemp is to define the key terms: What exactly is marijuana? What is hemp? Is marijuana the same as hemp?

Many Americans, brainwashed for over sixty years by misinformation and lies told by the U.S. government and the DEA, don't even realize that hemp and marijuana are not the same plants. (Many Americans don't even know what hemp is!) To be sure, hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant genus, Cannabis sativa L., yet they are not identical plants. In The Hemp Manifesto, Robinson explains the difference in this way:

Think of a beagle and a Saint Bernard-both Canis familiaris, but with utterly different looks, capabilities, and personalities. So it is with hemp and marijuana. Hemp is a stalky crop that has been grown for its fiber and edible seed for millennia; it is incapable of getting you stoned. Marijuana is a bushy form of cannabis that has been grown for its psychoactive and medicinal properties for an equally long time. The two are different plants and in two minutes a state trooper can be educated so that he will never mistake one for the other.

More objectively, hemp (or industrial hemp, as it should be called) is properly defined as Cannabis sativa with a one percent or less (usually 0.3) concentration of the psychoactive ingredient delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. The content of THC in marijuana, on the other hand, may range from 3 to 20 percent. This definition has been accepted by a coalition of farmers, businesses, and environmental groups in a March 6, 2001 letter, asking the Bush Administration to reconsider the current marijuana/hemp laws. Needless to say, the letter — an eloquent plea for sanity-has been predictably ignored by the Bush Administration, which may turn out to be even more foolish in its anti-marijuana campaign than the Clinton, Reagan, or Nixon administrations.

Definitions of hemp and marijuana based upon THC-content help clarify the critical difference between the two plants: while marijuana is a drug, hemp is not. There is just not enough of it for hemp to give you a high. Yet both hemp and marijuana are illegal in the United States — a lunacy in which only the United States among the most industrialized countries continues to persist. Germany, England, Canada, and a host of other countries have recently legalized hemp cultivation. France has never banned it, while Poland, Hungary, and Ukraine are the main European exporters of hemp to the United States.

Whenever the issue of hemp/marijuana legalization comes up, the U.S. government consistently refuses to listen to science and reason. It ignores scientists and medical experts like Dr. David P. West, an eminent plant geneticist, and Lester Grinspoon, a professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, author of Marijuana, the Forbidden Medicine. It ignores NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and many other such organizations. Instead, the government relies on DEA directors and, more recently, drug tsars of the ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy), as well as other politicians to dictate the terms of our national drug policy debates. But these people are all career politicians. They range from FBNDD head, Harry J. Anslinger, the „first drug tsar," a pathological liar (who before Congress testified that "Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind" [sic]!); to William Bennett, a sanctimonious Christian humbug; to General Barry McCaffrey, a brutal, ignorant militarist.


1 2 3 4 Dalej..

 Po przeczytaniu tego tekstu, czytelnicy często wybierają też:
Why We Need To Teach Secular Humanism
From Dolan’s book: A Parade of Quotations


« Society   (Published: 14-05-2003 Last change: 06-10-2003)

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Kaz Dziamka
A college professor, editor of The American Rationalist (since 1996) and English section of Racjonalista (since May 2003) and writer from New Mexico. More...

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