David Monson is a North Dakota state legislator who’s been trying to get permission to grow hemp for about 10 years. He may finally be getting close, but first he must go through an onerous set of flaming hoops set up by the DEA.
Last month, the state Agriculture Department finished its work on rules farmers may use to grow industrial hemp, a cousin of marijuana that does not have the drug’s hallucinogenic properties. The sturdy, fibrous plant is used to make an assortment of products, ranging from paper, rope and lotions to car panels, carpet backing and animal bedding.
Applicants must provide latitude and longitude coordinates for their proposed hemp fields, furnish fingerprints and pay at least $202 in fees, including $37 to cover the cost of criminal record checks.
Johnson said the federal Drug Enforcement Administration still must give its permission before Monson, or anyone else, may grow industrial hemp.
“That is going to be a major hurdle,” Johnson said.
Yeah, the DEA are basically a bunch of assholes when it comes to common sense and hemp. They won’t give permission unless they feel cornered. Keep the pressure on; some more media coverage would be nice.
But all this obscures the larger and more potent question: Why is “marihuana” still illegal? Certainly industrial hemp should be legal since it has none of recreational ganja’s psychoactive properties. But why is cannabis in general illegal? Most people would agree that Prohibition was a titanic failure. But we’re still stuck with many of the after-effects of the prohibition mentality, including the idiotic, wasteful, racist and anti-freedom War on Drugs. The War on Drugs is a total failure and a fraud and even many former cops and DEA agents will testify to that fact.
An excellent article called Why Is Marijuana Illegal? tackles that very issue, with some surprising revelations… Or not-so-surprising. I guess it depends on how jaded you are when it comes to politics and business.
America’s first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It was a law “ordering” all farmers to grow Indian hempseed. There were several other “must grow” laws over the next 200 years (you could be jailed for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767), and during most of that time, hemp was legal tender (you could even pay your taxes with hemp — try that today!) Hemp was such a critical crop for a number of purposes (including essential war requirements – rope, etc.) that the government went out of its way to encourage growth.
The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp “plantations” (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton.
But racism may have been the weapon that was used most effectively against hemp and cannabis. Harry J. Anslinger (who looks like a gangster/mafioso to me) led the charge against “marihuana” (the word itself is a propaganda invention designed to draw up racial fears).
Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. Some of his quotes regarding marijuana…
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”
There were a lot of lies said about pot back in the day. But it’s 2007 and we know better, so why is it still illegal? I mean, people don’t seriously believe that pot causes “insanity, criminality and death” — everyone knows it only causes the munchies and drymouth. But we still allow the government to lie to us every year and keep spending millions of dollars to send inner city youth to jail for with harsh mandatory minimum sentences? Pete Guither’s article does a great job of explaining how cannabis first became illegal, but it does not really tell us why it’s still illegal 70 years after the Marijuana Stamp Act.
Part of the answer to that question lies with the CIA. The CIA has long turned a blind eye to drug smugglers in exchange for a small cut of the profit. These illicit funds can be used to fund illicit wars around the globe. (Wonderful cycle our dear CIA is engaged in, isn’t it?) The Iran-Contra “affair” was actually a drug smuggling operation to fund an illegal war (is there an echo in here?):
On October 31, 1996, the Washington Post ran a follow up story to the San Jose Mercury News series titled “CIA, Contras and Drugs: Questions on Links Linger.” The story drew on court testimony in 1990 of Fabio Ernesto Carrasco, a pilot for a major Columbian drug smuggler named George Morales. As a witness in a drug trial, Carrasco testified that in 1984 and 1985, he piloted planes loaded with weapons for contras operating in Costa Rica. The weapons were offloaded, and then drugs stored in military bags were put on the planes which flew to the United States. “I participated in two [flights] which involved weapons and cocaine at the same time,” he told the court.
Funny how the news doesn’t do investigative reports on stuff you might actually want to know. The press could have found a lot more dirt on this scandal, but they steered clear after a limited hang-out. That’s because the whole system is set up to demonize drugs so that they will be so much more profitable. Legalization would utterly destroy the CIA’s little “fundraising” operation and it would effectively end the careers of many DEA agents, who’ve become like a parasitic wasp, sucking at our nations’ failed and painful drug policy.
It’s time to end the lies, the racism and the idiocy of the War on Drugs and declare peace. It needs to end, and there needs to be an investigation. Those who profited from the war by playing both sides should be punished according to their own rules.
The video above is Dealing with the Demon, an excellent look into the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan during the war against the Soviets. Perhaps we should not be surprised that Afghan poppy production has exploded since we “liberated” it from the Taliban. How… interesting.
Updated on 1-16-07 with new links, a video and various spelling-error fixes.
Update 2 (Oct. 30, 2010): In the process of moving this blog over from Blogger to WordPress I imported all posts to the new platform. However, certain posts didn’t survive the process and this was one of them. I have reposted it above, but because the post didn’t transfer correctly I lost all of the comments that were posted to the original. I have a backup of the original so I was able to save them. I’ll post them below (but above WordPress’ comment system) for posterity’s sake:
Please feel free to add additional comments below: