Drugs Courts into Plowshares
posted by November 12 at 14:24 PMon
Today’s Washington Post features a story about Wayne Hauge, a North Dakota bean farmer suing the federal government to cultivate industrial hemp despite federal laws banning pot. North Dakota’s legislature saw the crop’s benefits – profitable, environmentally sound, useful – and passed a law in 1999 allowing farmers to grow hemp, the same genus as marijuana, provided it contains less than .3 percent of the psychoactive compound THC. But federal agents have ripped up every crop planted.
Godspeed, lawyers and farmers. I’m all for legalizing hemp – shit, I was director of Hempfest for years – but social activism around this issue is a box canyon.
It’s ridiculous to think that laws will change if enough people wear clothes that look like burlap sacks. And unlike the hippie lettuce, which people use in small quantities and can be decriminalized at the state level without tangling in the fed’s jurisdiction, hemp is always grown in enormous fields. Attempts to grow 2,000 acres of marijuana are sure to end up before a federal judge. And federal law on pot is steadfast—it’s set by Congress, beholden to the DEA, which couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the popularity of hemp lip balm. The DEA tenaciously argues that pot and hemp can’t be visibly distinguished, so if hemp were legalized it would disguise vast pot farms. They also contend that the traces of THC in hemp could turn teetotalers into pot addicts—maybe the same way poppy-seed muffins turn pastry eaters into heroin junkies.
So sue the fuckers to bypass the DEA and change federal law! But if this legal strategy fails to yield results, the path to sanctioning the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp – we currently import it from 30 other countries – is by loosening the fed’s grip on pot laws. This might upset the hemp purists who don’t want to confuse alternaculture with agriculture, but Hempfest embraced the connection years ago. The event is overtly about pot now. Hemp’s illegal because of our mindfuckingly backward pot laws. We legalize pot for adults and we get a windfall of other benefits.