Cannabis News Media Awareness Project
  Revolution, Hemp Style Now
Posted by CN Staff on March 13, 2003 at 12:01:49 PT
By David Morris, AlterNet  
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican  

hemp In 1992 a consortium of 20 British farmers requested permission to grow industrial hemp, a crop that had been banned since 1971. Home Office Minister Michael Jack saw no reason to oppose the request since industrial hemp had been grown for years on the Continent "without any problems". The farmers received licenses to cultivate 1500 acres.

In 1993 a consortium of 10 Canadian farmers requested permission to grow hemp, a crop that had been banned since 1923.

The federal government informed them the law would have to be changed before commercial plots could be harvested. However, seeing that "farmers in Canada are very interested in it", Health Minister Diane Marleau issued a permit for 18 acres of experimental plots. The next year Parliament enabled commercial harvests.

In the United States, a vigorous pro-industrial hemp movement emerged at the same time. Informed and inspired by Jack Herer's 1985 best seller, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, the movement agitated for the recommercialization of industrial hemp in a country with a rich hemp history: George Washington planted hemp, Benjamin Franklin used hemp paper, Thomas Jefferson smuggled in hemp seeds from Europe.

By the early 1990s, hundreds of retail stores were selling hemp textile products. In 1994, a trade group, the Hemp Industries Association(HIA) was formed. The next year the North American Industrial Hemp Council(NAIHC) was established. Its Board included representatives from some of the country's largest textile and paper companies. In 1996 the American Farm Bureau, the nation's largest farm organization, adopted a resolution in favor of hemp research. By 2000, half the state legislatures had debated resolutions in support of hemp; a dozen enacted pro-hemp statutes. Hawaii permitted experimental plots. North Dakota legalized commercial cultivation.(The other 49 states still have laws that mirror the federal ban. The federal ban still prohibits hemp cultivation in North Dakota.)

Yet despite this upwelling of support by industry and farmers, not a single acre of industrial hemp has been harvested in the United States. Why?

The answer is that while in other countries the road to hemp legalization goes through agricultural, or health or food agencies, in the United States there is only one road to approval--through the Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA). And for the DEA, the cultivation of hemp subverts and even contradicts its mission.

It is one of the ironies of history that the industrial hemp movement reemerged just as the United States escalated its war on drugs. In 1986 the DEA was a modest agency with a modest reach. That year the White House appointed a drug czar and by Executive Order subjected all federal employees to urine testing for drugs. The DEA's budget and reach and powers dramatically expanded.

Consider some numbers. In 1985, the federal war on drugs cost about $1.5 billion. That was about one third of federal spending on the environment, one sixth of spending on energy and only 3 percent of federal spending on agriculture. Today, the drug war budget is over $20 billion, three times the environment budget, 50 percent more than the energy budget and approaching 30 percent of the entire agriculture budget. And in the post September 11th climate the drug war has become intimately intertwined with the escalating war on terrorism.

In 1979 the federal government allowed drug agents to seize the assets of suspected drug dealers or users. Since then, US law enforcement officials have seized almost $10 billion worth of cash and property. By the late 1990s some $1 billion a year worth of assets was being confiscated annually. The police came to depend on drug money to fund their operations.

The federal government pumped tens of millions of dollars into DARE, a program that sent police officers into elementary schools in virtually every school district to lecture them on the dangers of drugs. A number of children responded by turning in their parents. Community-based organizations like Drug Watch and the National Family Partnership became the eyes and ears of the drug war at ground level.

In the United States, the war on drugs makes little distinction between soft drugs and hard drugs and no distinction between marijuana and hemp. Indeed, last October, when the DEA issued regulations banning the sale of hemp food, DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson insisted, "Many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana."

Every year the DEA sends tens of millions of dollars to state and local police forces to dig up ditchweed, the genetic remnants of the industrial hemp varieties bred and cultivated by the Department of Agriculture between 1900 and 1935 and by thousands of farmers who cultivated hemp as part of the war effort between 1942 and 1945.

In 2000, when the DEA finally issued a permit to plant industrial hemp in Hawaii, the facility had to conform to the same regulations for planting the most lethal narcotic. That included a l0 foot high fence with barbed wire and a security system, all for a quarter-acre plot.

In 1996, the same week the first national conference on industrial hemp convened in Lexington, Kentucky, a 5th grade school teacher, Donna Cockrel, invited the actor Woody Harrelson, and Jake Graves II, an eminent Kentucky banker who had cultivated hemp during World War II to talk to her class about industrial hemp. They handed out sterilized hemp seeds. Unfortunately, DARE held its annual anti-drug assembly that same day. Ms. Cockrel was fired. Only in early 2002 did a federal court order her school board to reconsider its action.

The DEA justifies its hostility to industrial hemp with the slippery slope metaphor: first hemp, then medical marijuana, then recreational marijuana, then the legalization of all drugs.

The industrial hemp movement responded by trying to distance itself from pro-marijuana advocates. The most aggressive distancing effort was undertaken by the movement's most visible and well-funded organization, NAIHC. To demonstrate its credibility to the DEA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, NAIHC purged its membership of many of the pioneers of the industrial hemp movement, people like Mari Kane and Don Wirtschafter. It dismissed or forced to resign two founding members of its Board who did not achieve the desired purity levels.(Truth in reporting: I was one).

In 1999, the NAIHC widely distributed an advisory on "the proper terminology in the cannabis debates". For industrial hemp advocates it advised, "Limit your arguments to industrial hemp". For those who promoted recreational or medical uses it cautioned, "If you also favor the use of industrial hemp, don't advocate it in forums where you are advocating marijuana".

Ironically, while NAIHC was trying to promote industrial hemp by ensuring that the word "hemp" would never be uttered by those promoting marijuana, those using the word "marijuana" were making great strides while those using the word "hemp" were making no progress at all. By 2001 eight states, by direct vote of their residents, had passed laws that allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Today in eight states it is legal to use cannabis with THC levels upwards of 30 percent(although the federal government continues to intervene to thwart those initiatives) while in no jurisdiction is it legal to cultivate cannabis with a THC level below .3 percent.

In 1993 a number of industrial hemp advocates met in Bloomington, Minnesota to talk about whether it was time for a national organization. Dr. Dave West, an agricultural breeder and hemp expert who later oversaw the Hawaii experimental hemp breeding shocked the group by predicting that the United States wouldn't legalize hemp until after it legalized marijuana. We scoffed. Ten years later his prediction seems right on the mark.

Both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana have strong constituencies. For medical marijuana it is those dying of pain and dysfunction. For recreational marijuana it is those who believe the drug war endangers civil liberties and imposes a personal and financial cost on the nation that far exceeds that from the use of drugs.

Industrial hemp, on the other hand, has a small and largely unaggressive constituency. Farmers would like another rotation crop. Industry would like a better natural fiber. But there are other rotation crops and other natural fibers. Choosing these other alternatives causes businessmen and farmers no problems. Choosing hemp does. When the Missouri farm bureau voted to endorse hemp research, highway patrol officers reportedly personally visited the farmers to change their minds. They succeeded. In the mid 1990s the CEO of Adidas proudly announced the introduction of a new sneaker, The Hemp. After a phone call from the White House drug czar he decided to rename the shoe, The Gazelle.

In February, 2002 police in Syracuse New York arrested two people for handing out hemp foods. The two were released when tests found the foods contained no trace of THC. But the action put the country and hemp food suppliers on notice. The DEA will fight even the smallest encroachment of hemp into the U.S. market. Even the traditional use of hempseed as birdseed is disappearing in the United States in the face of DEA pressure.

In August 1999 US customs agents seized 20 tons of sterilized hemp seed coming in from Canada. In 2001 the Canadian company that supplied that seed, Kenex sued the U.S. government for $20 million in damages under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA). As of this writing the DEA plans to spend millions to fight the suit. I suspect that if it eventually loses, the U.S. government will simply pay the damages. After all, it is the equivalent of about 8 hours spending on the drug war,. The drug warriors would undoubtedly consider that a small price to pay to prevent industrial hemp from getting a toehold in the U.S. market.

The slippery slope the DEA is so conerned about is real enough. Ten years after Canada allowed its farmers to plant hemp it has legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes and is about to decriminalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Ten years after England allowed its farmers to plant hemp it too allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes and is debating at the highest levels moving toward making the use of marijuana a non-criminal offense.

In the United States the slippery slope appears to be working in the opposite direction. Medical marijuana is legal in eight states, seven of them by referendum, although the federal government is still sending in troops to arrest terminally ill users even in those states. The financial burdens being felt by states and cities because of the phenomenal growth of prison spending, largely a result of drug arrests, has led increasing numbers of legislators and police chiefs to argue for decriminalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Who knows? If these movements ultimately prove successful we may finally see the revival of a commercial hemp industry in the United States .

A version of this article was published in the December 2002 issue of the Journal of Industrial Hemp.

Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)
Author: David Morris, AlterNet
Published: March 13, 2003
Copyright: 2003 The Santa Fe New Mexican

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Comment #19 posted by ekim on March 19, 2003 at 10:13:38 PT
one lone farmer
Seeing this one farmer sitting in a small pool in DC reminds me of the day the shuttle nose cone came down in Hemphill Texas. No mention of why a town in Texas was named after this plant just like this lone farmer, a human canary in a reflecting pool with such a larger meaning.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #18 posted by FoM on March 14, 2003 at 10:36:51 PT
Nuevo Mexican
As I watch the news while looking for news to post on CNews I get this overwhelming sense of doom. I believe very soon we will start bombing. The stock market will rebound when the bombs start falling because implements of destruction always make people invest in stock where you have to make bombs, bullets etc. I feel that it's too late to stop them now and I doubt I will live long enough to ever see peace again because this war will go on forever or until it's all over for everyone.

I hope you saw this program from World Link TV. If not you should check it out. Very sobering and tells it like it is.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #17 posted by Nuevo Mexican on March 14, 2003 at 00:36:01 PT
FOM: good press in outside of the US, watchable..
Life couldn't be more inside out, yet watch as Blair stops bush, bush blames blair, and has a way out! It is the only scenario I can see, and seems likely, now that Robin Cook has threatened to resign, the last 'jack straw' for Blair to remain in power or forced to resign. Their will be no war, as we have stopped it so far, and that is what this is really about, to show the people who really have the power, and we are forced to assert it or die, what do we have to lose by taking actions to preserve our freedoms (?) and re-eastablishing who works for who, probably through a tax revolt that will take care of what a work stoppage doesn't. Just sharing my thoughts and what I've gotten from others as well! I'm going out on a limb to say the protests' this weekend will be massive, as what else is there to do? Stop the threat from bush, not saddam, that hangs over our lives. As Blair goes down, bush hit rock bottom. Expect a wild next 4 days from the Uni-verse FOM, it doesn't get any better than this! Paz!

Cook hints at resignation over conflict

40 Labour MPs call for Blair to resign

Look at this! Talk about an 'about face', can we get one of these from Asscroft and ASA? Great news, in a 'backfire' way:

POLICE STATE, USA 'Gestapo' tactics at anti-war rally? Tennessee governor calls cops' intimidation of protesters 'huge mistake'

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 22:17:18 PT
Off Topic One More Time
Here is the program called The Active Opposition - Iraq: The Campaign for Hearts and Minds. I feel it is good to see issues from a different perspective so we can form an honest opinion of how we feel.

Host Peter Coyote and selected guests examine the Bush Administration’s “Iraq message”, and its particular mix of rational and emotional arguments to rally the American people behind its buildup to war.

Here are other programs too.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 21:59:04 PT
I Just Checked World Link TV
It isn't the same thing anymore so I thought I should mention it. Maybe they will repeat the program when it airs again.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 19:38:27 PT
Just a Note
The program is over but it keeps going. They have music on now. I didn't know they had World Link TV on the Net but it seems like they do.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 19:24:03 PT
The Program is Being Broadcast Live Now
I thought some of you might want to see this program and I found a link for those who can't get World Link TV! Here it is!

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 18:36:00 PT
On World Link TV Now 9 - 11 PM ET
It is called Active Opposition and I have it on now. Peter Coyote is the Host.

The Active Opposition - Iraq: The Campaign for Hearts and Minds

Thu, Mar 13, 9:00 PM ET (Thu, Mar 13, 6:00 PM PT)

Fri, Mar 14, 3:00 AM ET (Fri, Mar 14, 12:00 AM PT)

Fri, Mar 14, 9:00 AM ET (Fri, Mar 14, 6:00 AM PT)

Host Peter Coyote and selected guests examine the Bush Administration’s “Iraq message”, and its particular mix of rational and emotional arguments to rally the American people behind its buildup to war. Using video clips from recent speeches by George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft, the program focuses on the administration’s media strategies which appeal directly to human emotions, including:


For more information about the crisis in Iraq, click here:

Mobilizing Online Against War:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 17:51:11 PT
Thanks for the results! Good results too!

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #10 posted by afterburner on March 13, 2003 at 17:36:46 PT:

Final Results of 360° Vision Web Poll:
Should the possession and growing of small amounts of marijuana be legal?

81% YES

19% NO

See the show:

The 360° Vision program from 6.Mar.2003 on Vision TV is now available at Pot-TV: Cannabis and Spirituality

Read the transcript:

Does God approve of getting high?

ego destruction or ego transcendence, that is the question.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by mayan on March 13, 2003 at 17:01:07 PT
The conspiracy is bigger than any theory...

Cannabis Hemp:The Invisible Prohibition Revealed

SHADOW OF THE SWASTIKA:The Real Reason the Government Won't Debate Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Re-legalization

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 14:14:19 PT
Thanks for the info and links! The long link didn't work for me.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #7 posted by i420 on March 13, 2003 at 14:03:27 PT
Free State Project Website
TAKE THE PLEDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #6 posted by i420 on March 13, 2003 at 13:56:47 PT
thanks fom
Article 2 of 54; 996 words Published on February 23, 2003, Page 4A, Journal Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, IN)

Libertarians seek a state to call their own

Source: Marego Athans Baltimore Sun Plans are under way for an invasion of New Hampshire. Or Wyoming. Or maybe Delaware, Montana or Alaska. Sparsely populated and independent in spirit, they're all attractive targets for a certain bloodless coup in the making.Within the next several years, according to the plan, 20,000 Libertarans would move to a single state and begin infiltrating. They'd get jobs, join civic groups, get elected and take a hatchet to taxes and laws. In this utopia called the Free State Project, Click here for complete article

Someone u know has a subsription to this site they pulled up an article for u some time ago.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 13:31:41 PT
You made me think of this article from September of 1999! I remembered this title for a long time.

DEA Drug Hawks Swoop Down on Birdseed:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by FoM on March 13, 2003 at 13:24:55 PT
Good to read your eyes are fine. My husband has glaucoma but it isn't getting any worse. I'm not sure what you mean about the Free State Project. Is it on the Libertarian Party web site?

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #3 posted by afterburner on March 13, 2003 at 13:23:15 PT:

Even the Birds Are Victims of the War on Drugs.
"Even the traditional use of hempseed as birdseed is disappearing in the United States in the face of DEA pressure."

Even the birds are victims of the War on Some Drugs. Their colorful songs are sacrificed to rabid prohibitionist policy, just as beautiful butterflies have been sacrificed to the agrochemical demands of non-organic farming. "You can choose to make life a garden of pleasure or a sterile cage." -Meta Metaphor.

ego destruction or ego transcendence, that is the question.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by i420 on March 13, 2003 at 13:01:54 PT
Eye Doctor
I just found out i need glasses due to slight stigmatism the doc tested me for glaucoma and not a sign strange huh??? He also told me glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in america so i guess all those people goin blind never smoked pot huh lol i asked him to look up and told him of the state rep signatories he said he will check it huh. btw FoM...everyone have you all heard of the "Free State Project"?? There was an article in the Journal Gazette on Feb. 23rd awsome article slight mention of legalizing drugs so take the Free State Pledge

BTW I am in the market for some "hemp frames"???

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #1 posted by TecHnoCult on March 13, 2003 at 12:11:22 PT
College head charged with growing pot

[ Post Comment ]

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