Foldvary on Hemp Cultivation — Legalize It
|February 14, 2002||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Legalize Hemp Cultivation
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The federal government of the United States banned hemp in 1937 as part of its prohibition of marijuana. The hemp plant, Cannabis Sativa 1, is related to, but not the same as, marijuana plants, and government agents on missions to destroy the plants may confuse hemp with the other plant. The word “cannabis” comes from the ancient Greek word for hemp, of the plant family Moraceae.
Hemp had been grown in the United States since colonial days; Washington and Jefferson grew hemp. It is cultivated world-wide for its many useful products, including textiles, paper, building materials, and fuel.
Levi Strauss blue jeans were made with hemp, and hemp was used to make the canvas that covered wagons that brought pioneers to the West. It is still legal to sell and use hemp products in the United States, so it is imported from countries such as Canada where cultivation is legal.
Hemp can also help save the natural environment. It can be grown without harmful chemicals, and can help fight invasions of weeds.
California has been invaded by the starthistle, which is taking over grasslands and is difficult to eradicate. Hemp could help control that weed, just as it successfully dealt with an earlier invasion, the Canadian thistle, which entered the U.S. midwest a hundred years ago. When farmers cultivated hemp for a few years, it grew fast and blocked out the sunlight the thistles needed. In a few years, the hemp succeeded in wiping out the thistle blight, and the farmers could go back to growing their other crops.
But instead of using hemp to restore natural flora and grazing lands, the US government is instead poisoning the environment with herbicides to kill hemp along with marijuana plants. These chemicals enter the water supply and end up in our food. The government will spray poison on the starthistles rather than use hemp. People look to government to protect them from pollution, when in fact the government is a major environmental destroyer.
Canada has legalized hemp cultivation, and so far the fabric of society in Canada has not fallen apart. By legalizing hemp, the U.S. government can help farmers, reduce pollution, help fight plant invasions the natural way, and reduce the trade deficit by cultivating hemp in the United States instead of importing it.
The prohibition of hemp cultivation is another example of the absurdity of the “zero tolerance” policy of the federal government’s war on drug users, a war which has destroyed civil liberties, harmed the economy, violates property rights, and ruins the environment.
What is your opinion on hemp and its cultivation? Tell The Progress Report!
Copyright 1998 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieveal system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.