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But Hemp And Weed Aren’t The Same Thing


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Should I smoke this or make it into a necklace?

It’s not a question I hear often, but after reading The University Daily Kansan’s story on the marijuana debate (Debate over marijuana tries to clear the air, Sept. 16), I’m surprised I don’t.

Hemp is not the same thing as marijuana. It seems that “hemp,” “marijuana” and “cannabis” were used interchangeably by debaters.

What’s one reason marijuana should be legalized? Hemp is good for the environment. One reason you should eat more apples? Because orange peels make good air freshener. The first comparison may seem more reasonable than the second, but it’s not.

Because producing hemp is illegal in the United States, maybe the government doesn’t see the difference either.

Both marijuana and hemp come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains more of the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which gets you high. Commercial marijuana has an average THC-content of 4 to 6 percent, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, while hemp has a THC content of less than 1 percent.

The health risks that justify the illegalization of marijuana aren’t present in hemp. According to a Congressional Research Service Report, DEA officials are concerned that commercial cultivation of hemp would increase the likelihood of covert production of marijuana and this would “send the wrong message to the American public concerning the government’s position on drugs.”

The reason the U.S. can’t produce hemp — a cost-effective, environmentally friendly crop — is because the public will think it’s an endorsement for weed? That must be why we import hemp products from other countries, where hemp-inspired drug use is less of an issue, and subsidize less eco-friendly crops like corn and cotton.

Hemp can be used to produce more than 25,000 products including bio-fuel, concrete, insulation and diapers. Production of hemp requires six times less energy than polyester fiber, according to the Reason Foundation, a non-partisan public policy research group. And because hemp can grow with few pesticides, it’s also a sound substitute for cotton, a water- and pesticide-intensive crop.

The marijuana debate is intriguing and complicated.

The hemp debate that has become intrinsically linked to it is ludicrous and unsupported.

For two different substances, a single regulatory law is not appropriate. You can’t use marijuana and hemp interchangeably, so why discuss them and legislate them as though they’re the same?

News Hawk: Johnny: 420 Magazine
Source: The University Daily Kansan
Author: Sonya English
Copyright: 2008 The University Daily Kansan
Contact: Contact : The University Daily Kansan
Website: English: But hemp and weed aren’t the same thing : The University Daily Kansan
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