Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jan 2001
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2001 The Sun-Times Co.
Contact:  401 N. Wabash, Chicago IL 60611
Author: Gary Storck


News reports about George W. Bush's inauguration note that the new 
president swore his oath of office on the same Bible George Washington used.

If Washington used the Bible, it undoubtedly is printed on hemp paper. Hemp 
paper was the norm back in Washington's day, and no other paper would last 
more than 200 years. It seems very ironic that Bush--taking the reins of 
power of a federal government with an irrational obsession with suppressing 
every use of this beneficial herb, including paper, medicine, food, fuel 
and clothing--used a hemp-paper Bible to take his oath.

Even more ironic is that under today's laws, Washington, who cultivated 
hemp on his estate at Mount Vernon, would have faced a mandatory minimum 
sentence of 10 years to life for his hemp farming.

With bureaucrats at the Drug Enforcement Administration now poised to 
outlaw many hemp products by administrative order, and the Justice 
Department fighting medical marijuana all the way to the Supreme Court, it 
is clear that the federal war on hemp in reality is a war on the American 

In his final months in office, President Bill Clinton acknowledged that use 
of marijuana should be decriminalized. Although it seems very unlikely that 
the Bush administration will come to its senses about marijuana 
prohibition, we can only hope that Bush will keep his campaign promise to 
allow states to set their own policies on marijuana and hemp.

Gary Storck, Madison, Wis.
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