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Hemp, an option for farmers, and the public option

This article comes to us from the Progressive Party blog.01hemp

By Rep. David Zuckerman

This week a Vermonter, Will Allen, joined others from around the country in an act of civil disobedience in order to get attention to the laws governing hemp cultivation. By attempting to plant help seeds on the lawn of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) they clearly were pushing the envelope to generate this discussion.

To put this in context, North Dakota and Vermont are the only two states that have adjusted their laws (We did this while I was chair of the Agriculture Committee) to allow farmers to cultivate and harvest hemp. However, both states laws are trumped by federal law due to the interstate commerce clause of the US constitution. This section has been interpreted widely by the US government to take control of many policy areas that used to belong to the states. It does this by the idea that any product that can cross state borders for commercial purposes is to be regulated by the federal government.

Hemp was brought into the federal law jurisdiction back in the 30’s and 40’s when it competed with trees as the main ingredient in paper as well cotton as a fiber. The paper and cotton industries went after it with false media claims and corporate propaganda to tie it to marijuana use as well as to the latino/a culture (racism). While the general public had used and known hemp as a very good product (as both paper and fiber) public opinion was swayed over a very short period of time. Soon, through an act of Congress, it was made illegal to grow by categorizing it a schedule 1 drug under our drug laws. Thus becoming the only drug that has been classified by Congress instead of through the regulatory process (Crack, Cocaine, Morphine, Heroine, all classified by the DEA, not Congress). As a schedule 1 drug, it is deemed to have no useful purpose to society whatsoever.

Click HERE to read the rest of this article at the Prog Blog.

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