Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jul 2012
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Copyright: 2012 C.E.G.W./Times-Shamrock
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Larry Gabriel's Higher Ground column "Hep on hemp" (July 11), the 
United States is one of the few countries in the world that denies 
farmers the right to grow industrial hemp. Apparently drug war 
bureaucrats can't tell the difference between a tall hemp stalk and a 
squat marijuana bush. Before passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of 
1937, few Americans had even heard of marijuana, despite widespread 
cultivation of industrial hemp.

The first anti-marijuana laws were a racist reaction to Mexican 
immigration during the early 1900s. White Americans did not even 
begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy 
began funding "reefer madness" propaganda. Decades later, marijuana 
use is now mainstream. Marijuana prohibition has been 
counterproductive at best.

If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, 
marijuana would be legal. 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 hemp.

- -Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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