Pubdate: Thu, 13 Aug 2009
Source: Santa Ynez Valley Journal (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Santa Ynez Valley Journal
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Harris Sherline's Aug. 6 column: The U.S. is one of the few
countries in the world that denies farmers the right to grow
industrial hemp. Apparently, government bureaucrats in Washington
can't tell the difference between a tall hemp stalk and a squat
marijuana bush. Prior to the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937,
few Americans had heard of marijuana, despite widespread cultivation
of its non-intoxicating cousin, industrial hemp.

The first anti-marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican
immigration during the early 1900s. Dire warnings that marijuana
inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. White
Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be
entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.

The original "reefer madness" myths have long been discredited,
forcing the drug war gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on
politicized research, trying to find harm in a relatively harmless
plant. The direct experience of millions of Americans contradicts the
lies used to justify marijuana prohibition. Reefer madness is a poor
excuse for criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis.
There is no excuse for denying farmers the right to grow industrial

For historical background please visit:

Robert Sharpe, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, DC
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