4/20 Facts: The Cannabis Plant Should Be Not Only Legal, It Should Be Encouraged

“Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?” — Bill Hicks

Tony Geren
April 21, 2015

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(THEPONTIACTRIBUNE) For thousands of years, Hemp has been used by humans to more effectively produce many of the materials and resources we use today. During hearings on marijuana law in the 1930’s, claims were made about marijuana’s ability to cause men of color to become violent and solicit sex from white women. William Randolph Hearst, who was the owner of a large newspaper and paper mill, was set to lose millions of dollars to switch over to hemp instead of wood, because of hemp’s increase in popularity as a more effective resource.

At the same time, DuPont had just patented processes for making plastics from oil and coal, as well as a new sulfate/sulfite process for making paper from wood pulp. According to DuPont’s own corporate records and historians, these processes accounted for over 80 percent of all the company’s railroad car loadings over the next 60 years into the 1990s.

Put simply, the facts were:

1.) Trees were the major paper source during this time and Hearst not only owned a nationwide chain of newspapers, he also owned all the timber needed to produce them. The new threat of cheap hemp meant that trees would no longer be the cheapest source of paper.

2.) DuPont had patented the process for producing synthetic nylon from oil and coal as well as a new improved sulfate process to make paper from wood pulp. Competing against environment-friendly hemp products could potentially bring down DuPont’s organization.

Hearst wrote an article demonizing “marijuana” by stating: “People were smoking it, and Blacks and Mexicans are rapeing White Women.” This imagery became the backdrop for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which effectively banned the sale and use of marijuana, including hemp.  While the Act was ruled unconstitutional years later, it was replaced with the Controlled Substances Act in the 1970’s which established Schedules for ranking substances according to their dangerousness and potential for addiction. Cannabis was placed in the most restrictive category, Schedule I.

It is important to come to terms with the reality of hemp as this plant is nearing its end under prohibition by governments around the world. With many states in the US opening up their assessment on marijuana and hemp, the movement is becoming a snowball no corporation can stop.

Industrial hemp has low THC levels compared to marijuana specifically cultivated for personal psychoactive use. Whereas marijuana that can be smoked usually contains between five and ten percent THC, industrial hemp contains about one-tenth of that. In order to get a psychoactive effect, one would need to smoke ten or twelve hemp cigarettes over a very short period of time.

The reason for the low THC content in hemp is that most THC is formed in resin glands on the buds and flowers of the female cannabis plant. Industrial hemp is not cultivated to produce buds, and therefore lacks the primary component that forms the marijuana high. Furthermore, industrial hemp has higher concentrations of a chemical called Cannabidiol (CBD) that has a negative effect on THC and lessens its psychoactive effects when smoked in conjunction.

Compared to cannabis indica, cannabis sativa (industrial hemp variety) has a much stronger fiber. This fiber can be used in anything from rope and blankets to paper. Marijuana fiber has a low tensile strength and will break or shred easily, making it a poor fibrous plant when compared to industrial hemp.

It is said that hemp has up to 50,000 uses, from fiber to fuel to food, but I’ll just provide a taste here:

In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food, fuel, and medical purposes with modest commercial success. In the past three years, commercial success of hemp food products has grown considerably.

Hemp fiber is the longest, strongest and most durable of all natural fibers. Hemp cultivation requires no chemicals, pesticides or herbicides. Grown in rotation with other crops such as corn and legumes, hemp farming is completely sustainable. Hemp produces four times as much fiber per acre as pine trees. Hemp tree-free paper can be recycled up to seven times, compared with three times for pine-pulp based papers. Hemp is easy to grow, and actually conditions soil where it grows. The seed and seed-oil are high in protein, essential fatty and amino acids, and vitamins. Hemp would be an ideal source of biomass for fuel, and hemp Ethanol burns very cleanly.

Hemp and humanity have been linked for over 10,000 years. Hemp was our first agricultural crop, and remained the planet’s largest crop and most important industry until late last century. Most of the non-Western world never stopped growing hemp, and today hemp for commercial use is grown mostly by China, Hungary, England, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, India and throughout Asia.

CBD is extracted and separated from specific varieties of cannabis. Chemically, CBD is one of 85 chemical substances known as cannabinoids, which are all found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the second most abundant compound in hemp, typically representing up to 40% of its extracts.

However, here is where the confusion starts.

Whats most known about cannabis is the cannabinoid known as THC, the part that is responsible for causing users to get “high.”

CBD is completely separated and isolated from THC and CBD cannot get you “high,” there is still a lot of stigma as many people tend to mistake CBD for THC. These fears, though unfounded, are understandable to an extent, especially since the terminology surrounding CBD can be very confusing.

Nonetheless, it is impossible to get “high” by smoking or ingesting CBD-high hemp (that has only traces of THC), as it is also impossible to get high by consuming CBD oil products (that contain no THC at all).

CBD is extracted in oil form and is often found mixed in hemp oil extracts in varying concentrations.

Numerous people are reporting success in using CBD to ease a variety of symptoms, and the scientific community is currently experimenting with the substance on a wide scope of medical applications to epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spasms, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, nausea, convulsions, inflammation, and many other conditions, including cancer.

What we know with fairly high certainty is that CBD has been shown to be effective for decreasing anxiety and helping in a number of inflammation-related problems, including arthritis and other inflammatory ailments as well as multiple sclerosis.

CBD is also proven to inhibit the growth of the MRSA bacterium (a strain of staphylococcus resistant to antibiotics), which causes several difficult-to-treat infections. Strictly as a chemical substance, CBD also has strong antioxidant properties, a fact that so far has been largely ignored by the broader dietary supplements industry.

As each person is different, and because CBD’s beneficial effects are still under study, we strongly encourage you to do your own research before incorporating CBD to your daily life.

The War on Drugs and the Financial Gain from banning Cannabis:

The war on drugs, as President Ronald Reagan named Americas policy towards illegal drugs, has been widely considered a complete failure. Instead of treating addiction to illegal drugs as a public health issue, the war  has been fought by profiting law enforcement and private prison corporations who go after offenders of the law. Many of these offenders are put in prison for mere possession.

Take a look at these facts from Drugpolicy.org on the “War on Drugs”:

  • Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000
  • Number of people arrested in 2013 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.5 million
  • Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2013: 693,482
  • Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 609,423 (88 percent)
  • Number of Americans incarcerated in 2013 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,220,300 or 1 in every 110 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world

Private Prison Industry
Infographic credit: Online-Paralegal-Degree.org

If we examine the process that pharmaceutical companies traditionally use to maximize profits, we see that there is a life cycle to many medications that they produce. They will produce a medication until the patent expires, then they will introduce a replacement medication, usually at a higher cost, which may or may not actually perform better than the medication that was replaced.

Prescription drugs also kill far more people than illegal drugs, and while most major causes of preventable deaths are declining, those from prescription drug use are on the incline.

For example, prescription drug fatalities more than doubled among teens and young adults between 2000 and 2008, and more than tripled among people aged 50 to 69.

Legal prescription drug abuse is a silent epidemic, and is part of the reason why the modern American medical system has become one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States.

An estimated 450,000 preventable medication-related adverse events occur in the US every year. Merck’s painkiller Vioxx alone killed more than 60,000 people within a few years’ time before being withdrawn from the market.

In case you have been living under a rock, or corporate funded media, Cannabis has never killed a single person in the thousands of years of its use.

cannabis-vs-other-drugs-deaths

The monetary system requires cyclical consumption and this, naturally, incentivizes corporations and companies to limit or even eliminate natural resources such as hemp, which historically was abundant, to keep price up on inefficient materials which they have a private interest in. And because hemp can be used to so many things like making plastic, building houses and curing illness, there are private interests to diminish that in order to gain profit for their own product.

We are seeing something remarkable happening in Colorado, and the sheer amount of benefits from this plant are growing. In a world where 50% of the trees on the entire planet are being cut down for the profit of corporations, Pharmaceutical drugs, tobacco, and alcohol are killing hundreds of thousands of people while being legal, you cannot deny the hypocrisy. It’s finally time to end Cannabis Prohibition.


This article originally appeared on The Pontiac Tribune and is licensed Creative Commons. Tune in to the Anti-Media radio show Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Help us fix our typos: edits@theantimedia.org.

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