Posted by: Jack | July 8, 2008

Legalize Industrial Hemp – Your Thoughts?

Psych! My blog = My thoughts.

A campaign is underway in Oregon, attempting to obtain ~85,000 signatures to get an initiative on a 2010 ballot. The Cannibus Act would allow industrial growth of hemp for use in food, clothing, plastics and fuel. Oh, and on a side note, marijuana would also be legal for sale to individuals over 21.

I find the last point, although semi-relevant, to be teetering on the edge of piggybacking. I suspect the reality however, is that legalizing marijuana is the real intent here and the rest of it is being used as a worthwhile mask of legitimacy.

From the little I’ve read, it sounds like hemp is a pretty usable material and it’s legalization could bring a lot of money into the state. The sole reason the plant can’t be grown is that it is a close relative of the marijuana plant, both falling under the genus of cannibus. So yeah, go ahead and legalize it; it never should have been made illegal in the first place. I suppose I can’t say for sure but I’m assuming that when prohibition was enacted, no one suggested a ban on all the various fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. used in producing various alcoholic beverages.

So marijuana is a whole different issue. But ya know, I’m still going to stick with the choice of legalizing it, though it should happen via it’s own initiative/act. Justifications:

  • A significant portion, if not a majority, of my generation and the generations before and after mine use marijuana anyway.
  • Everyone always says “buy local” and there are a lot of great reasons to do so. Legalizing growth of marijuana would make that possible.
  • Illegal dealers are generally not forthcoming when it comes to taxes. Legal sales would take money away from the criminals and put it into the state.
  • The war on drugs would cost less with one less drug to worry about.
  • Although accidental deaths result from marijuana use, the numbers are minute when compared to the same resulting from alcohol consumption.
  • There are no established short-term or long-term adverse health effects so it’s way healthier than smoking cigarettes or drinking (too much) which means it consumes fewer health care dollars.
  • …and the rest of the arguments you’ve also heard before.

I’m not a tobacco user, and while I would prefer that cigarettes were not present in the world around me, the truth is that they are and people smoke them. Legal or not, they’re here to stay. Having accepted that, I’m all for keeping it legal and taxing it to death. On a side-note, I do think long term smokers should be ineligible as recipients of any sort of publicly funded health care, organ donations, etc. for treatment of related health problems. Addicts may be predisposed, but it’s still a conscious choice.

Edit: Excellent suggestion was offered up by Bok of the Unicycle Bastards: In order to aid in justifying this revoked privilege, tobacco companies should be required to fully finance all programs/products intended to help smokers quit. That would serve as a form of reparations that actually lives up to the definition.

Getting back to the point – just like cigarrettes, marijuana is not going away. So lets make the best of it.

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