A Hemphasis on Hemp

Ah, the days of pooka shells and hemp necklaces will forever be a cherished memory… In a way it’s ironic that most of our experiences with hemp are coupled with the awkward tween years of braces, pimples, curfews, and bad decisions…did I say that?! While this may be the extent of most people’s understanding of hemp, the reality of its uses is far greater.

I’m sure a lot of people have heard of RP as the guy that wants to legalize marijuana. At least, that’s how the Bill O’Reillys of the world describe him. Ron Paul wants to end the prohibition of marijuana, which is quite different than just legalizing it.

What is even more important than ending the prohibition of marijuana, is the fact that if we let our civil liberties become violated in one area, we risk them being upheld altogether. In addition to the fact that the “war on drugs” is failing miserably, this notion that drugs are bad is poisoning a lot of other personal freedoms that we should be fighting to protect. Hemp is just one example of how out of control this idea is.

Hemp plants and marijuana plants are apples and oranges. They have very different characteristics, and obviously, uses. You can’t even get high if you smoke hemp! The reality is that hemp is an extraordinary crop, with seemingly endless uses and possibilities. Its products include ethanol, food, clothes, paper, twine, building materials, and, dare I say, fuel?! So why, must I ask, is it not even legal to farm hemp in the United States? Since the 1930’s, hemp has been vilified, along with marijuana, while petroleum has been promoted as the most important industry. On top of that, we give giant piles of money to agribusiness for inferior crops, such as corn. It doesn’t make any sense to me that we ban a giant industry that has been significant throughout the course of history. Hemp could be a huge source of jobs and commerce for Americans, yet it remains outlawed. What a shame.

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