And we would bond in the face of oppression from big business and the deans,
But I knew there was a problem, every time the group would meet everyone would light up,
That made it difficult to discuss glaucoma and human rights, not to mention
- The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis Of A Co-ed, Dar Williams
This month, two North Dakota farmers filed a federal suit seeking a declaratory judgment against the Drug Enforcement Administration that would allow them to cultivate hemp. They say the current regulations put them at a competitive disadvantage because hemp farmers in other countries can sell their legal hemp in the U.S., but their U.S. business cannot. They say that industrial hemp is distinct from marijuana and cannot be used for ilicit purposes.
The DEA has traditionally taken the position that the law prohibits everything with THC in it, plant-wise, including industrial hemp.
The original law’s language excluded the “…mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.” The intent of that language was to permit hemp but prohibit marijuana.
Over the years, the interpretation was tightened up, for a number of reason – primarily to sweep in synthetic production of THC – and here we are today.
First an admission: like the narrator in Dar Williams’ song, I find that often, the most vocal proponents of legal hemp are those that are already blazin’ up doobies at any excuse. For me, this undercuts the sincerity of their arguments; I find myself asking why, if industrial hemp is so readily distinct from “true” marijuana, why many of the people that seeem so passionate about its acceptance are illegal marijanua users.
Trying mightly to put aside that prejudice, though, I find myself in reluctant sympathy with the arguments raised by these farmers.
Should our legislators step in here and support the orginal “hemp, but not pot” law? I’m thinking yes – I don’t support complete decriminalization of actual marijuana, but industrial hemp, once you subtract its usual glassy-eyed defenders, actually seems to have solid uses.