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Smoke a rope?

Posted on June 15, 1998

Anyone who hopes that legalization of commercial hemp means they can get a buzz by lighting up a rope or jacket or sheet of stationery will be disappointed, according to a group of farmers and a trade organization that filed a lawsuit to make it a lawful crop again. The Controlled Substances Act of 1972 outlawed hemp growing, but farmers and other advocates of the natural fiber long have complained that the government makes no distinction between marijuana and hemp, which has industrial uses from rope to paper to clothing.

With tobacco a threatened crop, farmers in states such as Kentucky see hemp as a hedge against an uncertain future. In other areas, disease-resistant hemp is touted as a rotation crop among grains and vegetables. But law-enforcement officials aren’t sold on the benefits of legalization, taking the view that hemp fields would be used as camouflage for growing its look-alike cousin, marijuana. The reasonable observer of human nature would find it difficult to dispute that suspicion.

So, is the answer to legalize marijuana and let the law worry about some other problem? True, that won’t satisfy everyone, but it appears to be the thrust of a newly launched crusade by magicdragon puffers at the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU. A full-page ad in a leading liberal magazine offers the question: “If you had a choice what would it be, Marijuana or Martinis?” In the ad, ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser questions a policy that sends thousands to jail for using “less toxic” and “rarely harmful” marijuana while legal alcohol “is a leading cause of disease, violence and accidents.”

Without even going into the health, legal and moral implications of the latest ACLU crusade, you have to wonder what sort of folks are going to buy into the basic question. To respond to it one way or the other implies a certain gullibility. It is like asking, “If you had a choice what would it be, crazy or stupid?”

(Photograph Omitted)
Captioned as: Hempsters: Erica Karson and Cory Brown model 100 percent hemp clothing from their Fremont Hemp Co. boutique in Seattle.

Copyright © 1998, Insight on the News. All rights reserved.