Pubdate: Fri, 15 Feb 2013
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2013 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Regarding your editorial, "Victory for hemp," the United States is one
of the few industrialized countries that deny farmers the right to
grow industrial hemp. Apparently this is because bureaucrats in
Washington can't tell the difference between a tall hemp stalk and a
squat marijuana bush. Prior to passage of the Marihuana Tax Act of
1937 (sic), few Americans had heard of marijuana, much less smoked it,
despite widespread cultivation of industrial hemp.

The first anti-marijuana laws were a racist reaction to Mexican
immigration during the early 1900s. Ironically, Americans did not
begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy
began funding reefer madness propaganda. Decades later, marijuana use
is increasingly mainstream. The forbidden-fruit appeal has only served
to encourage marijuana use.

If health outcomes instead of cultural norms determined drug laws,
marijuana would be legal in all forms. The direct experience of
millions of Americans contradicts the lies used to justify marijuana
prohibition. Reefer madness is a poor excuse for criminalizing
Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. There is no excuse for
denying farmers the right to grow industrial hemp.

Robert Sharpe. Arlington.
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