Pubdate: Mon, 11 Feb 2013
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2013 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC.

War on Non-Drugs


Every truth goes through three stages, Schopenhauer is said to have 
said. First it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, then it is 
accepted as self-evident. The truth about industrial hemp seems to be 
somewhere between the second and third stages.

Having had some heart-to-hearts with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he now thinks the 
wide-scale production of hemp for fabrics, rope and other uses is a 
good idea. Paul has penned a bill to remove the federal ban on the 
production of hemp  a product Washington once encouraged through 
wartime "Hemp for Victory" campaigns.

That was back in the 1940s, before Washington launched another war - 
on drugs. Hemp fell victim to that war because it is closely related 
to marijuana. But the hemp grown for industrial use has so little THC 
(the active component in marijuana) that anyone trying to catch a 
buzz off it would die of smoke inhalation first.

With marijuana growing in public acceptance  medicinal use is legal 
in 18 states, and a majority of Americans think recreational use 
should be legal everywhere  the hemp ban looks increasingly foolish. 
Indeed, its wisdom no longer can be considered self-evident. In some 
circles it is violently opposed. If Paul and McConnell have their 
way, it one day might even be ridiculed.
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