Saturday, April 30, 2016

Understanding how industrial hemp can help

By Joe Domino

Joe Domino
Guest columnist
Joe Domino Guest columnist

The history of cannabis prohibition, specifically in the United States, represents a manifold of hypocrisies plaguing our nation today.
Before I go on proving this point, first, I want the reader to reflect on how important they deem their first and second Bill of Rights. Without these provisions, what would our nation succumb to? I shudder when I think on it.
Without freedom of speech, political cartoons and peaceful protest would come to a screeching halt.
Without the right to bear arms, hunters would have no incentive to conserve vast tracts of wildlife and homeowners would be left defenseless.
Undoubtedly, these Bill of Rights protect every American from the tyranny that has existed throughout history, coming from the likes of monsters such as Stalin, Hitler and many more like them.
All Americans, knowingly or not, benefit from the foresight manifested by the framers and drafters of our Bill of Rights. But, as much as ordinary Americans are accused of taking their inherent rights for granted, should our forefathers be equally to blame for overlooking the most basic human right of them all: the right to form a relationship with mother earth? In other words, a person’s right to plant seeds and tend to their land as they please, without fear of incarceration and/or forfeiture of property and will?
And, I should make very clear, I’m solely advocating Southern Virginians to pursue industrial hemp, the cannabis variety that tests below 3 percent THC, which produces paper, plastics, fuel, food medicines and much more.
In the 16th century, the first law imposed on the “new world” from the House of Burgesses demanded that the Virginian colonists harvest and procure industrial hemp fibers for the Crown of England’s Royal Navy.
This proves that our founders didn’t only know about hemp, but they were hemp aficionados from the day they landed. Many have already heard that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their massive estates — right here in Virginia.
To unravel all the contemporary hypocrisies, one doesn’t need to dig into a history book; these hypocrisies are acutely obvious to the Hempsters of the world.
First and foremost, no one in known history has ever died or overdosed from indulging the cannabis flower, alone (let alone the non-smokeable stalks and seed, which are identified as industrial hemp).
Yet, people have been forced-fed to believe that cannabis is more dangerous than alcohol and opiates? You’re living under a rock if you think that’s still true.
And politicians rave about the importance of giving more options to the farmers, but the politicians are the ones that allow the DEA, a non-agricultural agency, to regulate a non-illicit commodity crop, industrial hemp, which should be under the sole jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and treated like anything else: corn, soy and beans.
And, to the beat of the drum, nearly everyone chants the need for more job creation. Jobs, jobs, jobs! Yet, bureaucratic agencies insist on exacerbating societal’ denial over a crop that can be purposed into 25,000 consumer and industrial products.
My goal is to open your eyes to a few possibilities. We need to wakeup and smell the roses — before they take the roses from you too!
It’s time to become a hemp patriot, once more.

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