Payson, Illinois — Perhaps a great deal. Consider this. Opium, or Morphine, comes from the Opium Poppy. The scientific name for the Opium Poppy is Papaver somniferum. This is it’s genus and species name. However, the poppy with its colorful and showy flowers is also beloved the world over by gardeners and florists. It turns out that many of these same ornamental flower poppies are also the exact same species as the Opium Poppy, the very same Papaver somniferum. As a result of selective breeding, varieties of Papaver somniferum have been created in which the Morphine, or drug component, has been brought down to negligible trace amounts. Bread poppy seeds, the kind used on bagels, come from just such a variety of Papaver somniferum and do, in fact, contain traces of Morphine in the range of 0.01%. Yet, these varieties, as well as the seeds themselves, are perfectly legal to buy, grow and consume.
Now consider hemp. “Hemp” refers to varieties of Cannabis sativa which have been selectively bred over the centuries for their fiber content. The physiology of the plant is such that breeding for fiber selects against the drug component of the plant, in this case Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or Marijuana, and reduces it to negligible trace amounts and environmental factors cannot reverse this fundamental genetic fact. The international community has agreed on a trace amount of THC in hemp varieties of Cannabis sativa equal to 0.3 % or less for a variety of Cannabis sativa to qualify as a “hemp” variety. More and more countries around the world are accepting this standard and are lifting their sanctions against raising hemp. The United States government has so far steadfastly refused to recognize this standard or to admit that hemp is anything other then Marijuana.
Why are they capable of making the distinction when the plant is Papaver somniferum and the drug is Morphine — by every measure a more dangerous compound then THC — but incapable of making the distinction when the plant is Cannabis sativa and the drug is Marijuana?
Take a handful of processed fiber in one hand and the bagel in the other and say, “if this is marijuana then the poppy seeds on this bagel are opium!”
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