Yes, that is what he said. Here are excerpts and my added responses.
The petition, “Allow Growing of Hemp,” sent to the White House, has received a reply. Gil Kerlikowske, former Seattle Police Chief and now “Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy” had this to say:
“America’s farmers deserve our Nation’s help and support to ensure rural America’s prosperity and vitality. Federal law prohibits human consumption, distribution, and possession of Schedule I controlled substances. Hemp and marijuana are part of the same species of cannabis plant. While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Administration will continue looking for innovative ways to support farmers across the country while balancing the need to protect public health and safety.”
First of all, hemp and marijuana are 2 different plants. The THC level in industrial hemp is less than 1%, sometimes even .03%. To try to extract the miniscule, almost non-existent amounts in industrial hemp would be so time consuming and extensive that it would not even be worth the effort.
“What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana
When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.
According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.
Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.” (Kerlikowske)
For years the government has done studies and research into the medicinal value of industrial hemp and marijuana, including the superb nutritional value of hemp and the multitude of products that can be processed from hemp.
“In the new study, which was published in the The Journal of The American Medical Association and financed by the National Institutes of Health, roughly 5,100 men and women in four cities – Oakland, Calif.; Chicago; Minneapolis; and Birmingham – were interviewed and given lung function tests repeatedly over 20 years. They were on average about age 25 at the start, and more than half smoked marijuana, cigarettes or both.
The researchers found that for moderate marijuana smokers, an exposure of up to seven “joint years” — with one joint-year equivalent to smoking 365 joints or filled pipes, or an average of one joint a day for seven years — did not worsen pulmonary function.” (nytimes.com)
“As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.
That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.
Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.
Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.” (Kerlikowske)
So. Let’s get this straight. You, Mr. Kerlikowske, a government employee, are saying that Industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same. Yet you are a member of the same government that LEGALIZED and DEMANDED that farmers grow industrial hemp during WWII to aid in the war effort. You are a member of this United States Government that had its ROOTS in hemp cultivation, used as food, fiber, fuel, textiles, and, used to pay TAXES. Yes, hemp was the equivalent of American currency. Our first presidents grew hemp, and knew the value of this wonderful, versatile plant. The government has studies and research proving the benefits of hemp and marijuana. You can’t deny that. It’s public knowledge.
Other countries that grow industrial hemp have no problem identifying the difference between hemp and marijuana. Two different plants – they look different and each must be grown in completely different ways. Yet, you, the government, sit back and (knowing the truth) continue to spout something different. That either makes you a really big fibber, or you really aren’t knowledgeable about hemp and marijuana. But, if the latter is the case, why in the HELL are you sitting in a seat that puts you in control of national government drug policies?