“Surely no member of the vegetable kingdom has ever been more misunderstood than hemp. For too many years, emotion-not reason-has guided our policy toward this crop. And nowhere have emotions run hotter than in the debate over the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana.” – David P. West Ph.D, North American Industrial Hemp Council.
When discussing an issue of such political relevance, some might think that emotions and personal feelings would be left at the door, yet those individuals clearly do not understand American politics. This particular topic has a long and devious history of waters being muddied by those who stand to gain the most by keeping those waters unclear.
Since the first use of the word “Marihuana” and its purposeful muddling with the idea of hemp in the early nineteen hundreds, the average American is only recently beginning to distinguish between the two, even today. Americans have been conditioned since that time to see, first and foremost, that marijuana is bad for you, or flat-out wrong, and that hemp is the same as marijuana. That is one of history’s biggest misconceptions.
Today, hemp is still absurdly considered a Schedule 1 substance even though it usually possesses a useless 0.3 percent THC, (the substance that is considered illegal) whereas typical marijuana has anywhere from 3 to 20 percent. It is in the same genus or species as marijuana, however it would be like comparing two types of apples and assuming they both contain the same sugar content, when in fact some apples are very tart and not meant for individual consumption at all. There are examples all throughout nature of the same variance. It is first important to understand that hemp in itself is an altogether different animal than marijuana with many different, and extremely beneficial uses to society.
At the time, the two being lumped together allowed specific men in power to profit on the country’s slow decline into fossil fuel dependence, and the desired wars that follow, fortifying the need for the military industrial complex and its massive budget, versus the nation’s collective rise on the back of an all-encompassing plant that could produce all the same necessities.
This was no mistake. It was hemp, not marijuana, that stood to overcome the use of fossil fuels, as well as eclipse the newly manipulated medical industry that would begin an extreme focus in pharmaceutical drugs that were predominately made using this same fossil fuel reliance. Marijuana and its recreational use were the perfect cover. By criminalizing marijuana, and behind the scenes connecting hemp to this criminalization, men in the right position stood to profit greatly with hemp’s demise, all while burying humanity’s best kept medical, industrial and nutritional secret … its future.
However, those men are gone, and this country is in a different and more intelligent time with all minds working towards a healthy, independent and sustainable future, using all possible outlets to secure the country’s green and continuous rise to the proverbial top of the mountain, right?…
Americans find themselves in a time where hemp is considered illegal by default. Most are comfortable with not knowing or even caring about this topic because most don’t know what it means to their daily lives, not to mention their future, and that of the planet. Yet, it has grown increasingly more difficult for actions of any nature, or lack there of, to go unseen. In other words, the people are beginning to awaken to the stark reality of current circumstances and the lack of action by those in power. Slowly, people are becoming aware of this illogical illegalization of hemp and its foundation of intentionally led misconception for monetary gain. However, a journey of this magnitude must begin with a single step. A step that has been attempted many times before.
To date, thirty-three states and Puerto Rico have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 20 have passed some sort of hemp bill. Thirty-one states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. Of those, fifteen states had hemp pilot programs or research in 2016. Despite the authority to grow hemp given by the state, or the 2014 Federal Farm Bill allowing more research, all hemp farmers still run the risk of federal raid, prison time, and property or asset forfeiture by the DEA, should they choose to plant the crop, due to the federal policy that still does not differentiate between non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of cannabis from psychoactive drug varieties.
This is similar to the current double standard of marijuana; whereas the vast majority of Americans feel it is not a danger, and have since passed state laws allowing its use in some form, yet federal authorities have fought tooth and nail to maintain its illegality on a federal level so as to keep ultimate control should they need to once again use it to manipulate the populace in some way. This should be yet another reminder to every American that in this “democracy” the majority will of its people only holds sway over the decision-making process should its ruling faction feel the need to placate, otherwise, it is wishful thinking at best.
Americans need to come to terms with the simple fact that they no longer live in a democratic society, and so taking action within a broken system in hopes that the next candidate will actually follow through with their promises, is futile and ultimately counter-productive. The dire need for this country, this planet, to wrestle away the driving force behind the current seat of power and set course for a viable and sustainable future can not be overstated, and is likely beginning to become starkly apparent to the average American. We see it in our collectively declining health; we see it in the alarming loss of life of entire plant and animal species due directly to humanity’s practices; we see it in the astounding way in which we knowingly create non-biodegradable products that are designed not to be reused, creating an incontrovertible path to destruction as we literally poison the planet for a few more pieces of paper. We watch as a solution to all of these problems is ignored, demonized and propagandized as, ironically enough, “the real problem.”
We see all of this, yet many do nothing. We see the path laid out in front of us–a simple extrapolation of our current practices and the subsequent conflict, hostility and animosity–yet many somehow manage to look to their shoes and pretend, that what they know in their heart is coming, is simply a fearful lie spread with “un-American” intentions, despite the clear contradiction of logic in that sentiment.
Some speak out, and some take action, but until those of you who are afraid, and rightly so, come to understand that by choosing to remain quiet and comfortable(for now) you are dooming your children and future generations to a life of sickness, struggle and strife that could have been avoided should the American people have found their voice and declared for the world to hear, “We will not stand by as our very future is sold to highest bidder.”
It is clear that this country is in decline, and while that is not a welcomed statement to be made, the clear signs of that decline can no longer be denied. The question is: Will the American people stand by as their government slowly leads the charge to the planet’s very destruction? Or will they find their courage and stand resolute in destruction’s path, between salvation and destruction, reclaiming that which was taken with from them all those years ago: Their destiny.
Ryan Cristian is the author of website, The Last American Vagabond.