Pubdate: Mon, 06 Jan 2003
Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)
Copyright: 2003 Charleston Daily Mail
Author: Mett Ausley, M.D.


I respond to Deanna Wrenn's Dec. 18 article, "Growing hemp legally on hold 
in state," which stated industrial hemp farming is legal under West 
Virginia law but nonetheless banned, as the Federal Drug Enforcement 
Administration doesn't discriminate between hemp, which is not a drug, and 
marijuana, which is.

Officials in West Virginia and other states have sent the DEA letters 
asking how they might proceed with cultivation without meaningful reply. 
One gets used to the ordinary procession of tax dollars' obituaries, but 
the abrupt plunge here is startling. Obscure functionaries in a shadowy 
bureaucracy reminiscent of an eastern-bloc intelligence service decide they 
needn't bother distinguishing illegal drugs from other matter, impose bans 
at whim, and stonewall the puzzled inquiries of several states.

When idiocy of this magnitude can masquerade as virtue on the facile 
premise that fighting drugs trumps all competing concerns and constraints 
of law, logic or linkage to reality, it is time to consider whether a 
"drug-free society" is a reasonable goal or a mirage perpetually chased by 
politicians, bureaucrats and gullible voters in mutually reinforcing folly.

The predictable "soft on drugs," "coddling criminals" and "sending the 
wrong message to children" triteness will erupt, but the message our 
descendants inherit from the present softness on stupidity and coddling of 
nitwits may be a gene pool depleted of intellect.

Mett Ausley, M.D.

Lake Waccamaw, N.C.
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