What’s New in the World of Hemp?


modern-uses-for-hemp

Greetings!

Much has been going on lately, both in my world and in the world of hemp!

Let’s start with my world. My book transcript is finished, now I am editor shopping and working on a book cover, as well as a cover for a spoken word CD I will be creating to go with the book…and one other creative project I may add to the package! Exciting times!!

There has been so much news about hemp lately, I almost don’t know where to start!

It is exciting to see daily, weekly, and monthly progress in education and legalization of hemp. Having said that, below, in outline style, is a run-down of what is happening nationally:

1) The call for hemp homes is getting stronger! Hemp Industries Association is offering a 3-day hands on course for building homes from hemcrete. Hemcrete is strong, versatile, and a high performance alternative to traditional building materials. Homes made with hemcrete leave a negative carbon footprint. The class is in September, so there is still time to check it out! You can find the information HERE.

2) Virginia is currently drafting a hemp farming act; when I hear more about the details I’ll share them here!

3) Next year, California may finally be planting hemp seed in research fields. Last year the bill passed, but it as been slow to get the action going. Again, as more details become available I’ll be writing and keeping you up to date!

4) GREAT NEWS FOR WASHINGTON STATE! First of all, I’m sure most of you know that recreational marijuana use has been legalized in Washington State. I do believe that this helped get the door open for industrial hemp farming. Currently there is pending legislation to allow hemp farming. Washington State has much farmland, and some of that isn’t even being used. How great it would be to see that land utilized for a crop that can feed, heal, house, and clothe us, fuel our cars, and much, much more! Whatcom county soil (which is where I live!!!) will be tested, and hopefully some test plots planted here. In my honest opinion, this is an excellent choice – we are, after all, the berry capital of the world (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries) with our wonderful soils, as well as producers of corn, potatoes, and other crops. You can see the news clip from NBC News HERE.

5) “On May 12, Murray State University made history by becoming the first entity of any type in the nation to legally place industrial hemp seeds in the ground as part of a statewide trial.” What great news to see that hemp is legally planted in U.S. soil! http://murrayledger.com/news/growing-like-a-weed-msu-industrial-hemp-crop-thriving-in/article_2f1fb430-fe7f-11e3-bec4-0019bb2963f4.html

6) Tennessee is jumping in: “The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s proposed rules for hemp farming include plenty of red tape.

Under the proposal, farers would have to obtain a $500 license, be subjected to random testing of THC levels (to ensure trace amounts compared to marijuana) and provide GPS coordinates for their fields, Nashville Public Radio reports.

State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) told the station that strict rules were necessary to open Tennessee’s’ doors to industrial hemp, but that he hopes there will be fewer hoops to jump through in the future. Farmers wishing to grow hemp can submit applications to the state later this year to begin growing in 2015.” http://www.bizjournals.com/nashville/morning_call/2014/06/stateagriculture-department-proposes-many-hoops.html

7) And here comes Nebraska! “The first federal law mentioning hemp came in 1937. Congress discouraged the high THC varieties of cannabis, like marijuana, while exempting farmers who grew the crop for industrial uses like fiber and seed. It enjoyed a short resurgence during World War II, when the federal government actually promoted the crop, petering off in the 1950s. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 put the current kibosh on the plant. It required farmers apply for a federal permit before growing it. No commercial permits have been granted since then.

But in a historic move, the 2014 farm bill allowed hemp cultivation in areas where state laws have legalized the crop.” http://netnebraska.org/article/news/921662/now-appearing-hemp-first-time-decades

 

As you can see, the movement toward hemp farming, cultivation, and use is increasing as populations are learning about the excellent uses and versatility of hemp (not to mention a huge boost to the economy!). Can you feel the momentum? I can!

Kentucky, California, and Colorado are among states that have welcomed its return. Nebraska recently passed a law opening the door for farmers to grow hemp. Currently 12 states have legislation on the books that would allow cultivation of hemp as laid out in the recent Farm Bill.

Is Kentucky Close To Growing Hemp Again?


Hemp in Kentucky

My friend Alan Tracy sent me a link this afternoon, with the comment, “Big News!” (A great followup to yesterday’s post!)

This is from the website of Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (http://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=f0db455a-2152-4e7a-9ccd-358fb7f2f9bd)

Here is what it says

Jan 31 2013

Industrialized Hemp Will Help Spur Economic Growth and Create Jobs in Kentucky

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement today regarding industrialized hemp and its impact on Kentucky:

“After long discussions with Senator Rand Paul and Commissioner James Comer on the economic benefits of industrialized hemp, I am convinced that allowing its production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy. Commissioner Comer has assured me that his office is committed to pursuing industrialized hemp production in a way that does not compromise Kentucky law enforcement’s marijuana eradication efforts or in any way promote illegal drug use. The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times that sounds like a good thing to me.”

A commitment to pursue a crop that can help our economy, our planet, and our health – that IS great news!

Let’s hope that Kentucky can get BACK to growing hemp, as it did 150 years ago.  It looks as if it is going in the right direction – again!

photo credit: jimmywayne via photopin cc

Great News!


hemp field

Yes, this IS great news!

Many of you are aware that Colorado has legalized the use of hemp.

A farmer in Colorado, who owns 3,000 acres of farmland, will use 100 of those acres to start growing industrial hemp. His first crop will be used to produce food-grade hempseed oil. This project will be good to gain understanding of the viability of hemp farming in the U.S.

On the other hand, there are those who are AGAINST the hemp farming. According to the Richmond Register, local law enforcement OPPOSES the farming. Their argument? “Dan Smoot, of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police and president of Operation UNITE, a drug education, treatment and enforcement organization working in eastern Kentucky, said supporters are looking “through rose-colored glasses if they believe hemp production would be a good alternative crop or provide an economic boon.”

He said there isn’t a great demand for the crop, and legalizing its production “would create more problems than benefits and is currently not permitted under federal law.””

Also,

““It is impossible to distinguish between hemp and marijuana with the naked eye,” KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer said.”

Here are my key arguments: There is a distinguishable difference between hemp and marijuana. Other countries, where hemp farming is legal, have no problem telling the difference between the 2 plants. Hemp farming WOULD provide an economic boom, because of the need for clean fuels, environmentally healthy crops for textiles and plastics and building materials, and  healthy food.

It is my hope that the Federal government does NOT interfere and allow the farming of hemp. This is an excellent start to get BACK to the crop that supported our nation a century ago.

photo credit: higgott via photopin cc

Washington State Passes Cannabis Legalization Initiative 502


November 6 2012 – a day that will go down in history. Not only was it a very close presidential election (following one of the most aggressive campaigns I can ever remember), but it was also an opportunity for 4 states to approve Marriage Equality (my sister can now marry in our home state!) AND Colorado and Washington approved the legalization of cannabis.

Colorado and Washington have each defined cannabis in their own way, but they basically make the same point. In Washington State, there will be a 1 year period in which to decide on the rules and regulations.

Almost 40 years ago a group called Blossom Seattle was able to put the cannabis issue on a ballot.  20 years after Blossom Seattle we saw the inception of Seattle Hempfest, the world’s largest 3-day hemp rally, with over a quarter million attendees each year – and growing.  Our progressive state is making strides and making history – we have legalized a plant that helps many patients, even those with cancer; we have not given up in decriminalizing one of the safest medicines on the planet.

Now, why is this so important to industrial hemp lovers like myself? Initiative 502 opens the door wider toward the next progressive step – allowing industrial hemp farming. Will it happen overnight? No. Because this plant will be heavily regulated, it will take time, and hopefully much ‘adult conversation’ and the realization that this is what we need for our planet, to heal the soil, to provide healthy, organic foods, and to slow down or reverse global warming. Big oil, pharma, and the chemical industries will fight it…but the will of the people is strong. And the need for clean energy and clean products is strong.

How will the federal government respond? Well, technically, the federal level still overrides the state level decisions as far as cannabis is concerned. It remains to be seen if they will take this to the Supreme Court. But for now, we’ve taken an important step on the path to full cannabis and hemp legalization.

Next step – hemp farms? Let’s hope so.

Global Warming ~ Is Hemp The Solution?


This week the eastern U.S. coast had a visitor by the name of Sandy. She came through with a wide path of destruction, and left quite a mess in her wake, including devastating flooding. The news stations and internet were inundated with photos of her impressive size. Is this a sign of what is to be the norm, due to global warming?

The scenes in New York were also a reminder of a film I saw years ago, “The Day After Tomorrow.” It was quite frightening, yet I was riveted. Will it come to this? I certainly hope not.

Steps must be taken NOW to stop the devastation, and the practices that contribute to global warming, which include CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled power plants, CO2 emissions from methane, CO2 emissions from fossil-fueled vehicles, deforestation, and increased levels of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on commercial and large-scale crops.

I pulled up a blog article I wrote earlier this year, and I believe it is apropos to bring it up again, in light of Hurricane Sandy.

“In the past decade global warming has come to the forefront. This isn’t something new; the earth’s climates have always fluctuated throughout the centuries and millenia. What makes global warming more of an ‘issue’ now is the fact that people are becoming more aware of some of the practices that are not HELPING the global warming situation; it is said that the past 10 years have seen the fastest moving temperature changes.

What causes global warming? One cause is the buildup of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere, which holds the sun’s heat and causes the warming. Fossil fuels are the main culprits; coal burning plants and automobiles are 2 of the biggest contributors to the blanket of CO2 in the atmosphere.

CO2 emissions are at an all-time high; extensive removal of forests is adding to the problem, since CO2 is neutralized by plants and trees. The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at a very quick pace. At over a billion acres, it is one of the planet’s most treasured ‘air cleaners’. Destruction of the rainforest is contributing to the warming we see today, as well as loss of habitat for animals and increased land erosion.

So, what is the remedy for halting or even reversing global warming? One way to counter the effects of global warming is growing hemp – on a global scale.

Industrial hemp uses photosynthesis to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it to oxygen. The hemp plant can convert huge amounts of CO2, more than most plants. Not only does it remove the CO2 from the air, it also deposits the CO2 into the soil, enriching it and causing it to be more fertile. Hemp is one of the very few crops that does NOT deplete the soil after it is grown and harvested.

There is a move to replace fossil fuels in automobiles with biofuels and hemp fuels. Homes are being built with hemp materials (making the hemp homes carbon neutral and in some cases carbon negative). Products typically made with petroleum and timber are being made with hemp. The move to green consumption is growing.

It is unfortunate that the US cannot legally grow hemp at this time. But steps are being taken, people are making their voices heard. We are inching toward the day when hemp can be farmed in the United States – and we can contribute to making our planet clean, green, and fresh again.”

I want my children and grandchildren to have a beautiful, clean planet to live on, one that practices sustainable, healthy ways of living. One that is not damaged by oil drilling, fracking, pollution, not one that is disease-ridden and environmentally unsafe. No, our children and grandchildren deserve something better, and the time is NOW to turn to practices that nourish the earth.

Economic Stimulus? Think HEMP!


Last night’s vice-presidential debate had me thinking quite a bit this morning. Almost all of the topics, in some way or other, had to do with money. Defense – money. Economy – money. Taxes – money. Medicare – money. Health – money. Social Security – money. Employment/unemployment – money.

And by now you are wondering, “Where is she going with this?”

I’ll tell you. The United States’ economy is not at it’s healthiest point right now. People are hurting. Businesses are hurting. Some American farmers are hurting. Unemployment is at an unacceptable level. Fossil fuel energy is HIGH. Now, I must also remind you that everything is energy, money is energy. Energy fluctuates. Everything fluctuates, up and down, never in a steady, static line.

I came across several articles stating that greener businesses are growing at a faster percentage rate than the actual economy growth. Here are a few examples of some ‘green’ business types: bicycles, thrift and re-purposing stores, electric/hybrid cars (some which use hemp panels), wind/solar energy, and green construction (both industrial and residential).

BUT, like I stated above, green businesses are GROWING. What does this growth mean? Jobs. Income. Security. Economic growth. And…environmental conscience.

Below is an excerpt from one of the articles I read:

 

  • Greener industries grow faster than the overall economy. For every percentage-point increase in an industry’s green intensity, annual employment growth was 0.034 percentage points higher. Future projections suggest continued job growth from green intensity.
  • States with greater green intensity generally fared better in the economic downturn.
  • Green jobs are accessible to workers without a college degree. For every 1 percentage-point increase in green intensity in a given industry, there was a corresponding 0.28 percentage-point increase in the share of jobs in that industry held by workers without a four-year college degree.
  • Manufacturing plays a strong role in the green economy. The sector accounts for 20.4 percent of all green jobs despite representing only 10.8 percent of total private employment. Furthermore, the green industries within the manufacturing sector are projected to grow 25 percent faster than the overall sector.

Much of the current discussion about green jobs focuses on the renewable-energy industry and thus overlooks how pervasive green jobs are throughout the economy. In truth, the utility sector accounts for just three percent of total private green jobs, and even within that sector, the water and sewage industry accounts for over four times the number of green jobs as renewable energy.  Occupations such as garbage collectors, sewage workers, construction workers, household-appliance manufacturers and bus drivers are as integral to the green economy as solar-panel installers or wind-turbine manufacturers.

“Transitioning to a greener and more sustainable economy is good for the environment, but it also helps promote stronger economic growth and opportunity,” said Pollack.  “And the seeds of this transformation are planted throughout the economy, oftentimes in unexpected places.”  (enewspf.com)

“Seeds.”  Did you see that? And you KNOW which direction I am taking that – HEMP!

Hemp is one of the GREENEST products on the planet. It is carbon negative. It’s growing season is approximately 4 months. It can be used to manufacture ANY product that is also made with carbon-based fossil fuels. Hemp can also be used in construction – interior, exterior, foundation to roof. It is biodegradable, cleans the air, heals the soil, uses less water than cotton or other crops, doesn’t need fertilizer or pesticides, and can be grown ABUNDANTLY in many climates. Not only that, it’s nutritional value makes it an important food crop.

Hemp can put our farmers to work. (See also American Farmland Trust.) Hemp, being a GREEN resource, can help our economy grow faster, put manufacturers to work, and start the process to heal our planet from the damage done by pulling fossil fuels out of the ground.

My vote is for HEMP!

Hemp Habitats – Homes of the Future?


Hemp homes, while not mainstream yet, are the cutting edge of green building and living. Hemp, one of the strongest and most durable fibers on the planet, is being used for foundations, walls, roofing, insulation, and indoor textiles and installations.

Hemcrete is made with hemp hurds  and lime, and is stronger, lighter, and more flexible than concrete. It is used for foundations and wall structures, and is a carbon-negative substitute for traditional concrete.

Buildings account for 38% of the CO2 emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Green Building Council and demand for carbon neutral and/or zero-footprint buildings is at an all-time high.” (Inhabitat.com)

Hempboard is a fiber board made with hemp hurds. It can be used for walls, cabinetry, doors, shelves, furniture, and flooring.

Hemp insulation comes in many forms – mat and roll, spun and loosely compacted hemp fiber insulation, and hemcrete.

Hemp roof tiles can come in several shapes and sizes.

In all of the above applications, hemp is the perfect choice  because it is:

Water resistant

Insect resistant

Mold resistant

Rodent repellent

In some applications, the products are fire-resistant and,

In all applications the hemp is an excellent insulator and of course, helps to keep the air in the home clean.

Any why, do you ask, are hemp homes carbon negative? The growing and harvesting of the hemp plants lock up a larger amount of carbon dioxide (cleaning the air and environment)  than the lime binder used in the hemcrete production.

Farming hemp in the U.S. and building more hemp structures would be valuable – both economically AND environmentally.

Hemp – The Answer To The Global Food Crisis?


There are indications (and there have been for a while) that we are entering a stage where food will be in short supply in some regions of our world, and in other areas it will be in abundance, but just too expensive to buy.

Right now our grocery stores are filled with food, but most of it is packaged, processed, chemical-laden junk. Yes, some of it is cheap, but it isn’t ‘food’, it’s simply packages of unhealthy empty calories.  Good nutrition is of utmost importance, yet many are finding it difficult to find nutritious food that they can afford.

I’ve seen longer and longer lines at the food banks, but most of that is canned, packaged, unhealthy food, with only a fraction being healthy fruits and vegetables and fresh meat.

There are 2 terms we to look at here : world hunger (lack of food) and malnutrition (lack of nutritional elements needed for good health).

There are two basic types of malnutrition. The first and most important is protein-energy malnutrition–the lack of enough protein (from meat and other sources) and food that provides energy (measured in calories) which all of the basic food groups provide. This is the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed.  The second type of malnutrition, also very important, is micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency. This is not the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed, though it is certainly very important.

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is the most lethal form of malnutrition/hunger. It is basically a lack of calories and protein. Food is converted into energy by humans, and the energy contained in food is measured by calories.  Protein is necessary for key body functions including provision of essential amino acids and  development and maintenance of muscles.(www.worldhunger.org)

Childhood malnutrition alone affects approximately 19,000,000 children worldwide. And this includes the United States. Children and families in our own country are HUNGRY.

There are many factors that contribute to the global food crisis, here are a few:

Changing weather patterns, drought

Rising food prices – wheat, soybeans, orange juice and corn prices are getting higher and higher

Depleted water tables

Higher cost of oil – the higher the oil cost, the higher the food prices (transportation, farm equipment, delivery)

Let’s look at corn, for example. The price of corn has doubled since last year. 40% of the US corn crop is consumed by the heavily subsidised biofuel industry, despite the presence of viable non-food materials such as hemp. (opendemocracy.net)

Corn- ethanol subsidies in the US….leads to farmers switching to corn production and convertion away from food and toward fuel production, which has resulted in more expensive grain prices around the world.  This is having a huge impact on both poor and rich world farmers, and consumers around the world.

1.  By Washington giving subsidies for ethanol, they are creating incentives for farmers to shift labor away from producing food, and toward making fuel. 

2.  And, they are giving farmers of other crops the incentive to switch production to corn (for fuel)

3.  this has the perverse effect of driving up food prices (less supply vs. demand).  Note:  corn is used to make high fructose corn syrup (in almost all foods), and is a key feedstock for animals, so it will cost more for steak, pork, etc.   Ethanol production has driven up the prices of corn-fed livestock, such as beef, chicken and dairy products, and products made from corn, such as cereals. As a result of higher demand for corn, other grain prices, such as soybean and wheat, have risen dramatically. The fact that the U.S. is the world’s largest grain producer and exporter means that the ethanol-induced higher grain prices will have a worldwide impact on food prices. (kookyplan.pbworks.com)

Another note about corn – Currently, up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients. (truefoodnow.org)

Now, let’s look at hemp. Hemp can be grown for food AND fuel. It grows even in poor soil – in fact, it ENRICHES the soil that it is grown in. Hemp can be used as feedstock as well.  Farming hemp can be dual-purpose – as a cash crop AND as fuel and food for the farmers themselves and their livestock.

As far as a nutritional aspect, protein malnutrition would not even be a problem with hemp. Hemp has edestin protein, the protein closest to human globulin, so it is easily digestible. Only a few tablespoons a day would fill dietary protein needs. In addition, hemp has Omega fatty acids needed for optimum health, as well as chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals.

Hemp does not need fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. It is clean, natural, healthy, nutritious FOOD!

I have personally found that when I eat hemp during the day with plenty of fruit and vegetables, I need no other foods, and I am not hungry, or am I craving the garbage (sugar, sweets, salty snacks). My body feels clean, energized, and healthy (as well as my mind).  Yes, hempseeds (because they are imported) can be a little expensive. But I SAVE money on groceries when I eat hemp, because it is so nutrient dense. Aside from purchasing fruits and veggies, my body really doesn’t NEED anything else. I eat much less, yet my hunger is satisfied.

Our farmers want to grow hemp. Imagine with me, if you will, a world that is NOT hungry or malnourished; imagine a world that is healthy and getting proper nutrition, all due to one little plant – HEMP.

Hemp – A Cash Crop For Medicine, Food, And Shelter


The 1938 Edition of Popular Mechanics called hemp The New Billion Dollar Crop. (You can see the article here: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/popmech1.htm)

Unfortunately, the Billion Dollar Crop was not meant to be. Randolph Hearst’s newspapers depended on wood (he owned several sawmills) and his investments in timber would be threatened. DuPont’s chemicals were also a factor, in that they were used with the wood pulp to create the paper. Hemp was a threat to timber, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and oil.

What exactly is a cash crop? A cash crop is a crop grown for direct sale, as opposed to being grown for the farmer’s use (livestock feed, etc.). Before prohibition, hemp WAS  a cash crop. Hemp was used for food, textiles, fuel, medicine, and housing. It was also used as money. People could pay their taxes with hemp!

Hemp can produce ten times the methanol as corn. Crop rotation is not necessary, as the hemp enriches the soil on its own. It does not need pesticides or herbicides.

Up until the 20th century, hemp WAS the largest cash crop in America.

Today there is a movement to get BACK to hemp. Hemp farming is legal in several states, but getting the permits from the DEA is next to impossible. Farmers WANT to grow hemp. With over 50,000 products that can be produce from hemp, it IS the perfect choice.

Hemp fibers are the longest and strongest in the plant kingdom. Hemp fabric lasts longer than cotton and is less chemical and water intensive.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are an excellent nutrition source, with the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids, easily digestible proteins, and other nutrients needed for optimum health.

Hemp fuel is safe and clean.

Hemp used in construction means cleaner, stronger structures – and structures made from hemp are carbon neutral; in some cases they are carbon negative.

Hemp fabric and clothing are becoming more popular; hemp foods are found in health food stores, food co-ops, and some grocery stores.

Hemp plastics and automobile components are becoming more popular as well.

Most of the hemp imported into the U.S. comes from Canada and China. New figures show that the U.S. spends more than $300,000,000 per year on hemp products – both finished products and raw hemp.

In Kentucky, lawmakers are promoting hemp as a cash crop.

Willie Nelson, in the following video, explains why hemp farming should be restored to the U.S.

The hemp market is GLOBAL. Imagine if the U.S. could put farmers to work, growing cash crops of hemp, and having the ability to be a SUPPLIER of hemp world-wide. It truly WOULD be a billion dollar crop.

The White House (Kerlikowske’s) Response To Hemp Farming Petition: “Hemp Is Marijuana, Thus A Schedule 1 Controlled Substance” (Paraphrased)


 

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?