Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Legalize the growing and cultivation of hemp plants for commercial use.
Recently, a panel of the republican-majority Kentucky State Senate approved a bill to license hemp growers in the state. Should this bill be approved by the entire legislature, Kentucky will become the ninth state to allow farmers to grow and sell hemp. Championed by Kentucky senator Rand Paul, this age-old movement seems to finally be getting some traction. And with enough support there is the potential to change the opinion of the Obama Administration on legalizing hemp nationwide.
Federal law makes no distinction between hemp and marijuana—both are illegal. However, hemp only contains trace amounts of the psychoactive molecule THC. In effect the plant cannot be used as a recreational drug. As former C.I.A. Director R. James Woolsey put it, “The specter of people getting high on industrial hemp is pretty much exactly like saying you can get drunk on O’Doul’s.” By way of contrast, hemp can be used for a food source, soaps and hygiene products, paper, fabric, textiles, and rope to name but a few. As such, the versatility of hemp makes it an extraordinarily valuable crop and subsequently, a source of agricultural jobs; this is especially relevant as an alternative for struggling tobacco farmers.
Kentucky has the most tobacco farms in the US and the second most total acreage of land used to cultivate tobacco. But Kentucky is not alone in being a beneficiary of legalizing the crop; North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia all have substantial acreage and farms growing and cultivating tobacco. Despite its many uses and potential for job creation the Federal Government has been as firm as ever in prohibiting hemp to be freely grown as a crop.
As it stands currently, farmers who wish to grow hemp in states that have passed laws making it permissible must acquire a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration in order to avoid being raided by federal agents and potentially having their farms seized. Opponents of hemp claim that legalizing hemp crops would allow marijuana growers to hide their plants within fields of hemp. However, no respectable grower of marijuana would risk having their marijuana plants cross-pollinate with virtually THC- free hemp plants as it would effectively reduce the potency of the drug. There simply is no good reason for hemp to be illegal. And given its potential for job creation and commercial use, hemp should absolutely be made a legal crop. Sign the petition below to let the federal government know you support legalizing hemp.
Dear President Barack Obama,
The criminalization of hemp in the United States is based on an uniformed and archaic association with the drug marijuana. While the plants are similar, they are not the same. Hemp barely contains any of the psychoactive molecule THC, which is what produces the ‘high’ from marijuana. Furthermore, it is exceedingly unlikely that hemp could effectively be used to mask or conceal marijuana plants as it would reduce their efficacy for use as a drug.
By way of contrast, hemp is an extraordinarily versatile plant that has numerous commercial uses as a food source, hygiene product, fabric, and textile. Moreover, hemp would be an extremely useful alternative for struggling tobacco farmer in states like Kentucky. Given the facts about hemp and its potential for job creation, it is senseless to continue demonizing hemp and hemp farming. Please take action to legalize hemp in America.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Glyn Baker via geograph