Greener Grass (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalization)

The American Greenback after Depression 2.0

The American Greenback after Depression 2.0

So the other day, a hedge fund manager who made more money last year than you will see in your entire life quit his job. On his way out he wrote this awesome letter in which he hates on his soulless, money-grubbing former profession, and then waxes idealistic about the need for George Soros to create a new form of representative government, a vague-yet-lofty flight of fancy he clearly came up with while stoned like a fiend. The last two grafs are about (*gasp*) legalizing the DEVIL’S WEED.  Read this now:

Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy source.  You won’t see it included in BP’s, “Feel good.  We are working on sustainable solutions,” television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM’s similar commercials.  But hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products.  Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa.  Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term.  The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp.  It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won.  At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country?  Ah, the female.

The evil female plant – marijuana.  It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover.  Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating.  So, why is this innocuous plant illegal?  Is it a gateway drug?  No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country.  My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other additive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers.  This policy is ludicrous.  It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources.

Regarding the versatility and economy of hemp, this is all true, plus it’d be a new source of tax revenue. But in addition to opposition by the pharmaceutical industry and its desire to have some sort of authority over your brain chemistry (creepy!), hemp would also create competition in supply chains and industries uninterested in changing, such as textiles and farming.  It’s a potential cash crop to rival corn, which can’t sound good to the powerful corn lobby, which makes sure all of our foods are chock full of nutritious “high fructose corn syrup.”  Public health!

But my favorite factoid about why the cannabis plant should be as American as amber waves of grain:  it was the primary crop on George Washington’s farm! And a secondary crop for Tommy Jefferson!  And there were laws REQUIRING it to be grown on American farms up through the nineteenth century!  It’s all true! AND, there is reason to believe that George Washington himself, Foundingest of the Founding Fathers, not only loved growing hemp, but bred smokable weed for gettin’ high.  So get over it, people:  Real Americans Love Cannabis.

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