When we talk about Peace on our Streets, we don't just mean peace that will come from ending the war on drugs. We also look forward to economic and environmental peace flowing out of a sane policies on industrial hemp.
Ending the "war on drugs" will lead to criminal justice reform, will keep families together, save billions of dollars, and remove the primary source of revenue for vicious criminal gangs. Decriminalizing hemp farming will also lead to positive social changes, particularly for rural agricultural areas. Hemp will facilitate a sustainable environment buoyed by a cash crop that provides lasting prosperity.
Industrial hemp is often confused with marijuana, as if it were the same or a similar substance. That is not the case. Industrial hemp is not a mind-altering drug by any stretch of the imagination. It is useful in many different ways. In fact, experts estimate more than 24,000 applications for the crop. It can be made into clothes, fuel, plastics, rope, paper, concrete and many other helpful commodities. In addition, it is biodegradable so it serves as a boon for the environment as well.
A February 1938 article in Popular Mechanics dubbed industrial hemp the “New Billion-Dollar Crop. “ After years of declining production, the magazine predicted a renaissance with the invention of a machine that removed the fiber-bearing cortex from the stalk, opening the door for low cost production of products ranging from rope to paper.
But hemp’s fate was sealed the year before with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. While industrial hemp has very little THC, the active ingredient found in its cousin, marijuana, hemp got tangled in the regulatory web, partly due to timber and paper interests that didn’t want the competition. It got a reprieve during WWII, when the government encouraged farmers to grow the crop in its “Hemp for Victory Campaign.” But the tax and accompanying regulatory maze discouraged post-war production. The Supreme Court overturned the act in 1969, but that didn’t end regulation. Industrial hemp now falls under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. It technically remains legal to grow industrial hemp, but farmers must obtain a permit from the DEA, a nearly impossible feat.
Big business that wants to muscle out competition from the marketplace support and encourage the ban. This has caused an untold amount of economic and environmental damage. As our society slips downward, we cannot afford to keep up these bad policies to the detriment of the greater good.
Simply by legalizing industrial hemp, we can improve our ecosystem and human freedom in one fell swoop.
In such poor economic times, it is a great opportunity for activists to turn around this senseless prohibition that harms our economy and keeps better, more environmentally-sustainable products from consumers. In the age of budget cuts and rampant government insolvency, there is no better law or regulation to repeal than the one against industrial hemp, which cannot be justified by logic or reason. This is a great place to start, and we must be the catalyst to jump start this reform.
It is time to stop allowing power-hungry government bureaucrats and rich protectionist special interests from strangling our freedom, our prosperity and our environment. You can do this by working to get our Hemp Freedom Act introduced in your state legislature.
Reform isn't likely to come from the top down so that means we must work to make it happen starting in our communities. Contact your state legislators now, and lobby them to introduce this important legislation to establish Peace (and prosperity) in our Streets!