Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2013 12:00 PM
Some members of the Washington Legislature are excited about the prospects of getting farmers to grow hemp.
It's difficult to see why. It's not like the hemp market is booming or that hemp is the next big thing in agriculture. Far from it.
Nonetheless, they want Washington State University to study the economics of growing hemp in Washington.
We may be mistaken, but we thought the Legislature had far more important issues on its plate than hemp.
We'll save WSU the time, money and effort of studying hemp and boil the whole issue down to a single question: Are you crazy?
Hemp and its cousin, marijuana, are difficult to tell apart. Under federal law, both are illegal. Any farmer growing hemp or marijuana in Washington or any other state would have a lot of explaining to do if a Drug Enforcement Administration officer showed up. The farmer would need a good lawyer and a chemist to convince the DEA that he wasn't growing marijuana for sale.
Washington state voters made a huge mistake last fall when they decided to legalize pot. The new law will take a small public health and law enforcement problem and transform it into a huge problem.
Those who believe that pot is just another victimless crime and that growing hemp is a rotation crop with no associated problems need only to look to the north to find out how deluded they are.
In Canada, growing hemp is legal. In fact, 60,000 acres of hemp are cultivated there, and it is used for all sorts of things, including rope, biofuels and cloth. All is well in Canada, we are told. Yep, they've got it all figured out.
That's the story proponents of hemp like to tell. But, as Paul Harvey used to say, there's also the rest of the story.
Canada has another name besides the Great White North. It's the Toker Nation. Marijuana is overtaking Canada, just as it will Washington and Colorado, the two states that last fall voted to legalize it. In fact, you can bet much of the pot that will show up in Washington state comes from Canada.
About 1.5 million Canadians -- 4.3 percent of the population -- smoke marijuana, according to the Canadian Medical Association. Canada produces about 1.6 million pounds of marijuana each year, according to the International Narcotics Control Board. The value of that crop is estimated $5 billion to $7 billion annually -- far more than the value of hemp.
In Kentucky, the Legislature has directed the University of Kentucky to study the economic potential of growing hemp. That has set off a firestorm among the state's law enforcement community, which sees hemp mainly as a good cover for growing pot.
They're right. Hemp and marijuana look alike, and under federal law both are still illegal to grow.
Unless and until Congress decides differently, our advice to state legislators and farmers is to stay away from it.
Posted By: Krymsun On: 2/8/2013
Title: Propaganda rebuttal
"Washington state voters made a huge mistake last fall when they decided to legalize pot. The new law will take a small public health and law enforcement problem and transform it into a huge problem. "
Correction: Congress made a huge mistake 70 years ago when they decided to criminalize marijuana. That law law took a small public health and law enforcement problem and transformed it into a huge problem.
Those who believe that prohibition works need only to look to the reality to find out how deluded they are. "Imports of raw hemp fiber have increased dramatically in the last few years, rising from less than 500 pounds in 1994 to over 1.5 million pounds for the first 9 months of 1999." "The leading exporters of raw and processed hemp fiber to the United States are China, Romania, Hungary, Italy, Canada, and India. The leading exporters of hemp oil and seed are the United Kingdom, Canada, Switzerland, and China. The USDA trade database shows that the value of Canada’s exports of hemp seed to the United States grew from $0 in 2004 to $1.2 million in 2006, after a long-standing legal dispute over U.S. imports of hemp foods ended in late 2004."
Would American farmers rather buy or sell hemp?
Would you rather we throw away another trillion dollars, on a futile, useless, failed policy?
The true disaster is the situation brought on by prohibition.