Pubdate: Fri, 20 Oct 2000
Date: 10/20/2000
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Author: J. Kearney

EVAN BLACKIE (28.9.00) is mistaken in believing that the medicinal and
industrial uses of cannabis are separate issues to the debate about
its use as a recreational drug. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act in the
United States was designed to sabotage a resurgent hemp industry, and
its environmentally-friendly science called chemurgy, using
bureaucracy under the guise of protecting society from the newly
fabricated "marijuana menace". The medical profession protested
against this vociferously until the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (a tax
department no less) prosecuted thousands of doctors for prescribing

Mr Blackie is also mistaken for thinking that hemp crops could be to
camouflage the growing of the "real thing". Industrial cannabis is
planted at a density of 400 plants per square metre whereas only two
marijuana plants are grown per square metre.

Hemp is stalky and grows tall whereas marijuana is bushy and

Marijuana growers would not grow their plants near hemp, anyway,
because of the risk that pollination would ruin their seedless
sinsemella (the seeds are very nutritious but non-psychoactive).

Mr Blackie is not mistaken, however, for alluding that the debate
should not progress to examining what form of decriminalisation should
be employed, as every major study into cannabis and its use, from the
Indian Hemp Commission's in 1894, to the New Zealand Health
Committee's in 1998, has found that cannabis prohibition is far more
harmful than cannabis use.

J. Kearney,