Pubdate: Fri, 20 Oct 2000
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2000
Contact:  P.O. Box 181, 52-66 Lower Stuart Street, Dunedin, New Zealand
Author: J. Kearney, Dalmore


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 cannabis.

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 shorter. 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, Dalmore
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