Pubdate: Sun, 13 Dec 2009
Source: Duluth News-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 2009 Forum Communications Co.
Author: Mike Jaros


I can't believe law-enforcement officers spent time and money going
after hemp/marijuana farmers ("Two Hermantown men charged in pot
bust," Nov. 6). Federal, state and local drug programs are political
like alcohol prohibition last century. Such policies make some rich
while everybody pays, whether with taxes or lives. As long as there's
demand for any product there'll be supply.

Many statesmen and stateswomen, including George Schultz, President
Reagan's secretary of state, favor the legalization and safe
dispensation of such chemicals (probably in drug stores), their
taxation used by schools and other institutions to educate, prevent
and treat those who abuse and use harmful drugs. Right now, people are
buying drugs in alleys and causing harm to themselves and society by
resorting to stealing and other crimes to support habits. The U.S.
prison population has doubled to more than 2 million mostly due to
drug offenses. That's a huge cost to all levels of

I served on the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee in 2005
and 2006, when we borrowed more than $100 million to build additional
space at the Faribault, Minn., prison to house meth offenders alone.

Several years ago, I served on Minnesota House Agriculture Committee,
and I couldn't believe the committee defeated a bill to legalize
farming hemp in Minnesota. I co-authored this legislation and thought
the bill would pass easily. But after retail and other business and
consumer representatives testified for the bill, a Women's Temperance
lady and the director of Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
voiced opposition and the bill died.

We import hemp products instead of giving our farmers a chance. My
family grew flax and hemp on our farm in Bosnia. The crops were useful
and necessary as people made clothing and other products since there
was a lack of money and material after World War II.

Mike Jaros


The writer represented District 7B in the Minnesota Legislature for
more than 30 years, resigning in 2008. 
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