Pubdate: Thu, 03 Oct 2013 Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Copyright: 2013 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. Contact: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/about/feedback/ Website: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/339 Author: Terry H. Stern Page: 22 BLAME BIG BUSINESS FOR POT BEING ILLEGAL I asked a mother if she believed marijuana had legitimate medical uses. She nodded, then said, "I could never give marijuana to my babies. Can't they call it something else?" We used to. A hundred years ago, we called it hemp and cannabis. Hemp was for rope and cloth, cannabis was for medicine. It was the same plant. And people smoked it to relax. But hemp threatened big lumber as a source of paper and big petroleum as a source of fuels and plastics. So holders in those industries began a campaign to discredit hemp. They took a word for hemp used only in Mexico and by African-American jazz musicians: marijuana. They created a national campaign smearing "marijuana." They invented studies and statistics "proving" marijuana is dangerous, lobbied Congress and had marijuana declared illegal. Most of those stridently pro banning "marijuana" had no idea they were banning hemp and cannabis, just as big lumber and big petroleum hoped. We're still using the pseudo-facts and figures from a hundred years ago. We're morally outraged by marijuana because rich guys last century made lots of money getting us to feel that way. Give marijuana to babies? Never. But a non-psychoactive tincture of cannabis can calm an infant's seizures. That's a good thing. Terry H. Stern Pennsauken, N.J.