If all goes well, the same laws that were on the books in 1619 could be revived to inspire the growth of medical marijuana as well as hemp plants which have thousands of uses. We haven’t always demonized this miracle plant, so what happened along the way?
In 1619, King James the First decreed that every colonist in the New World was to grow 10 hemp plants for export to England. George Washington grew hemp at Mount Vernon. It was used for ship sails and paper, among other valuable commodities. It was considered to be a valuable cash crop.
Fast-forward some 300 years and we have dirty fuels, sooty air, depleted soils, contaminated water (with endocrine-disrupting chemicals and plastic microbeads), and pesticides in our food. Each and every one of these problems could be remedied in part or whole with the cultivation of hemp.
Arguably, hemp shouldn’t be mandated nor prohibited. It is a God-given right to grow any plant – just watch out for the man-made GMOs which are questionable by nature.
In the case of both marijuana and hemp (different species of the same plant), they have incredibly beneficial uses, but we still lack federal laws that support its cultivation.
We’ve made forward-strides in past months and years, but the arguments against these plants’ demonization are still infantile, though necessary.
For example, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Feds bulldoze all attempts to legalize hemp, with particular consternation since 2001, in order to ban all food products containing even a trace of the plant. This, even though the compounds found in hemp, are not psychoactive.
Hemp can contain upwards of .3% THC, which makes it remedial hemp. This is what people call marijuana. Hemp looks very much like marijuana as it is essentially the same plant. But unlike marijuana, it does not contain anywhere near the amount of THC needed for someone to feel ‘high’ if they were to smoke or ingest it.
Michele Leonhart, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, reportedly criticized President Obama for saying marijuana was safer than alcohol, though this has been proven again and again. Alcohol provides some benefits only in specific forms (such as antioxidant-rich red wine), but marijuana has been shown in numerous cases to help treat cancer, stop seizures caused by multiple sclerosis, and reduce pain, among other benefits.
The arguments made to the DEA concerning these and other facts fall on deaf ears because the smear campaign, which was created against hemp and marijuana alike, was at the behest of paper corporations, pharmaceutical companies, and petroleum behemoths.
Cannabis can be translated into almost 50,000 products with an infinite number of permutations in variety thereupon. Do you think that Big Pharma, Big Ag, and Big Industry really want to compete with that?
Cannabis covers all the major areas of needs in our lives – from food and shelter to clothing and medicine. This is why, in part, King James mandated its growth when the Americas were first being developed by colonizers.
Today, only a few states are even allowed to grow hemp, primarily through the special permission of the recent Farm Bill, which allows industrial hemp to be grown ‘for research’ in several states.
If a farmer wants to grow Cannabis sativa L., in these states they must be in compliance with Section 7606 of the bill and be certified by and ‘registered with the State department of agriculture AND conduct research or a pilot program approved by the State department of agriculture.’
There are so many farmers eager to grow hemp, but regulations make it difficult to receive a permit. Interestingly, Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, nor Syngenta need a ‘permit’ to grow GMOs, which are highly questionable and have been shown to be dangerous in some research.
In Tennessee, for example, 53 farmers submitted applications to grow hemp, and only a few were given permits. One farmer said:
“Farms used to have tobacco allotments, and farmers could use all the land they had available to make a little money off of it . . .When I was reading about this new program, I saw it as being able to help a whole lot of farmers statewide to recoup some of those losses. It could make land that has not been productive for some time to be productive again.”
Furthermore, marijuana growing is limited to a few plants per person in 23 states and DC which have legalized its use for medicinal purposes. Others wishing to grow marijuana on a larger scale must also apply for a permit.
While land is being polluted with GM pesticides and herbicides or sitting idle throughout this country, arguably destroying the small farmer, the farmers of 1619 at least had a right to grow hemp, though mandated by a monarchy. It is indeed strange how times have changed.
Odd, too, that the U.S. government holds the sole medical marijuana patent ever granted, which suggests that cannabinoids from cannabis are powerful medicine that can save thousands of lives annually and save the government billions of dollars in health costs, treating everything from cancer to neurological diseases. But this also means that unless Big Pharma patents marijuana, they will lose billions on its legalization. The same is true for Big Petroleum, and Big Paper.
If we can organize, as we have, to put pressure on organizations like the World Health Organization to test if pesticides chemicals are carcinogenic, why not do the same to legalize this plant once and for all? From the remediation of our soil to the treatment of cancer, this plant could save our planet.