Pubdate: Thu, 03 Oct 2013
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2013 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Terry H. Stern
Page: 22


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.