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.

Hemp’s Proponent : Ron Paul

My February 20 post listed ten things that nobody warned me about being a hemp activist. Number 5 was my comment about politics : “5. Nobody warned me that I’d be more connected to and interested in politics ~ Politics? For most of my life I totally shied away from that subject. But now that my eyes have been opened, yeah, I’m watching politics very closely.”

I’ve been watching politicians and their stances on hemp legalization. One person that stands out is Ron Paul.

Ron Paul was a chief sponsor of the HR 1866, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.”

“It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market,” said Representative Ron Paul during his introduction of the bill yesterday before the U.S. House. “Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.”

He also co-sponsored HB 1831, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011.”

Ron Paul has continuously stated that hemp as an alternative crop in the United States and with a free-market approach will not only help our economy, but help our nation’s environment as well.

Neighboring nations grow hemp legally, but because it is illegal to grow hemp without the proper permits from the DEA (which is nearly impossible at this point), the U.S. is the largest importer of hemp, much of which comes from neighboring Canada.

In a recent speech at a North Dakota campaign stop, Ron Paul again stressed the importance of legalizing hemp farming, “free-market approach is ideal for protecting the environment…farmers should be allowed to cultivate hemp as an alternate crop.”

Ron Paul is just one of many politicians and lawmakers who welcome and support industrial hemp farming in the United States. And, while this topic is often a volatile one, it is refreshing to see public servants speak out in favor of ending the prohibition on hemp.

“Hemp is a good product.” ~ Ron Paul