Cannabis and Hemp are two useful plants that have garnered a lot of attention. Cannabis can be used for medicine. It can be used recreationally, religiously, or in ceremonies. Hemp can be used for making rope, clothing, paper, food, fuel and shelter. There are companies that will build you a house made mostly of Hemp. Henry Ford made a car out of Hemp. Its fiber is one of the strongest natural fibers known to man. It can also be eaten, and is very nutritious. The Hemp plant offers only .03% THC, making it impossible for recreational purposes. There are no known deaths recorded that can be attributed to Cannabis alone.
Knowing this, one has to wonder: Why is there so much controversy surrounding these two plants? Why is there so much argument? The state and federal governments will throw you in jail for possession of Cannabis, and will not allow you to grow Hemp. All Hemp has to be imported into the U.S., at a cost of some 30 Billion a year. These plants have been around for a long time, a person would think that their usage would be a normal thing. In 70 B.C. Roman Emperor Nero's surgeon, Dioscorides, praised Cannabis for making the stoutest cords and for its medicinal properties. In 1150 A.D. Moslems used Hemp to start Europe's first paper mill. Most of the paper was made from Hemp for the next 750 years, including Bibles. Hemp was not an issue, it was simply another plant to be used.
Even all those years ago, there were those who violently opposed both plants. In 1379 A.D. Emir Soudon Sheikhouni of Joneima prohibited Cannabis consumption among the poor, destroyed their crops, and punished offenders by pulling out their teeth. Today, you get to keep your teeth, but not your liberty. In 1944, Henry Anslinger threatened doctors who carried out Cannabis research with imprisonment. As we all know, Cannabis was given the federal boot in 1937, no thanks to Anslinger. There are many more examples between 12,000 B.C. and now, I won’t list them all here. (Chronology of Cannabis) Suffice to say, Cannabis and Hemp have caused quite a commotion, and it is serious business.
So where does this controversy stem from? The federal government and all but 16 states want you to believe that Cannabis and Hemp are dangerous, addictive, and bad for society as a whole. They dedicate resources and allocate money to attempt to brain wash every American. Reefer madness abounds, and it’s 2011! The government makes money and creates jobs through prohibition. Not necessarily the right jobs, but by keeping Cannabis and Hemp illegal, they have job security. And yet, prohibition is against what this country stands for. In December of 1840, Abraham Lincoln said this:
"Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control man's appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded.”
Even with these facts, and the knowledge that over 70% of Americans believe that Cannabis should be legalized for medicinal use, the federal government refuses to end the prohibition of Cannabis and Hemp. I believe we have bigger problems than Cannabis and Hemp. Instead of fighting a war on citizens, we should be focusing on our economy and our schools. I think it’s time the federal government lived up to its promise of greatness. They need to listen to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, and end this war on citizens.
Thankfully, throughout the years, there have been Cannabis and Hemp activists. Rob Griffin has spent the last 20 years of his life dedicated to the legalization of Cannabis and Hemp. He is the President and Editor of 420 Magazine. Jack Herer, Rob's mentor penned the book The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Marc Emery is another well- known activist, currently wading through a 5 year prison sentence. It’s because of people such as this, as well as the thousands of unsung heroes who actively promote Cannabis and Hemp, that we have 16 States plus the District of Columbia with medical Marijuana laws.
These states are:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Delaware.
Some states are easier on their laws, others are quite restrictive. Maine does not accept chronic or severe pain as a reason for a Cannabis prescription or recommendation. The rest of the states do.
There are currently 10 states with pending medical Marijuana bills before the House and the Senate.
Alabama, with HB 386.
Connecticut seems to have the most comprehensive bills, with HB’s 5139,5900, 6566, and SB’s 329, 345, 1015.
Idaho is proposing HB 19.
Illinois is working on HB 0030.
Maryland is considering HB 291 and SB 308.
Massachusetts has HB 625, as well as SB 1161.
New Hampshire has HB 442.
New York has S2774 in their sights.
North Carolina, with HB 577.
We have all heard of the recent federal raids, in many states, along with the warnings from various state Attorney Generals. We also know that in February of this year, the DEA gave four pharmaceutical companies the OK to grow Cannabis for medicine. They re-scheduled it for them. It’s a double standard that needs to be fixed. That fix is coming, thanks to activists.
The next time someone questions your opinion of Cannabis and Hemp, don’t be afraid to tell them the truth. They are wonderful plants. Hemp replenishes the soil it grows in and is resistant to pests. It takes less water per acre to grow Hemp than Cotton. Cannabis has many medical uses, an important one being Cancer. With so many positive aspects of these two plants, and no known negative ones, isn’t it the right time to stop jailing people for their choices, and begin to accept these as a regular part of society? 70% of Americans say Yes.
Author: Jacob Ebel
420 Magazine Staff Journalist