The Drug Czar Knows Even Less About Hemp Than He Knows About Marijuana

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 30, 2012

    America’s top drug cop is clearly not an expert in agriculture. So why is Obama’s Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske claiming to be one?

    Drug Czar Reiterates Government’s Opposition To Domestic Hemp Production
    via NORML’s weekly news

    Washington, DC: The federal government continues to oppose allowing licensed farmers the opportunity to cultivate industrial hemp for fiber and other agricultural purposes, according to statements posted last week by Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske on the whitehouse.gov website.

    Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (typically less than .03 percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana. According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.” Farmers in Canada and the European Union grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food.

    Stated Kerlikowske on the White House’s ‘We the People‘ website: “Federal law prohibits human consumption, distribution, and possession of Schedule I controlled substances. … While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC, a Schedule I controlled substance. The Administration will continue looking for innovative ways to support farmers across the country while balancing the need to protect public health and safety.”

    A white paper published by the North American Industrial Hemp Council counters: “The THC levels in industrial hemp are so low that no one could get high from smoking it. Moreover, hemp contains a relatively high percentage of another cannabinoid, CBD, that actually blocks the marijuana high. Hemp, it turns out, not only (isn’t) marijuana; it could be called ‘anti-marijuana.'”

    In recent years, lawmakers in several states – including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont – have enacted legislation seeking to allow state-licensed farmers the opportunity to grow hemp crops. However, according to the CRS, “The US Drug Enforcement Administration has been unwilling to grant licenses for growing small plots of hemp for research purposes,” even when such research is authorized by state law, because the agency believes that doing so would “send the wrong message to the American public concerning the government’s position on drugs.”

    In 2007, 2009, and again in 2011, federal lawmakers have introduced in Congress, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act,” to exclude low potency varieties of cannabis from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure would grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity. The present version of this Act, House Bill 1831, has 33 co-sponsors, but has yet to receive a Congressional hearing. The measure is before the US House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

    During World War II, the US Department of Agriculture actively promoted the domestic cultivation of hemp during a campaign known as ‘Hemp for Victory.’

    52 responses to “The Drug Czar Knows Even Less About Hemp Than He Knows About Marijuana”

    1. The DEA is so fucking corrupt! Here’s a little song me and my folks, C-Siccness, Trankilo of 420 Deep and SD Outlaw did called “Fuck the DEA”! It’s time to legalize and stop this bull shit war on marijuana! Cannabis is medicine and hemp could help save the planet! http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11114012

    2. govern yourself says:

      Why are we letting these people dictate our personal behavior? I guess it’s because they’ve got the guns.

    3. jed says:

      haha doesn’t surprise me… what’s next? When does it all end?

    4. Bradson says:

      This official fear of all things cannabis is simply astonishing. The continued supression of hemp continues the original reason for marijuana prohibition. It was a diversion by powerful industrialists to quash competition with petroleum and timber interests by demonizing cannabis. They were so successful, thanks to Hearst yellow journalism, that to this day officialdom actually believes that an incredibly versatile and beneficial non-toxic natural resource is so dangerous that we must conduct a global war to outlaw it.

      This policy and our government’s adherence to it is so amazingly stupid that words escape me.

    5. david c says:

      I’m not sure I understand the drug warriors’ arguments against hemp. Don’t they know that the best way to eradicate high potency marijuana would be to grow hemp EVERYWHERE?

    6. Dave Evans says:

      Yes, the governement is sending the wrong messages on drug use, drug addication, mental health in general. There isn’t any true association between marijuana use and mental health. If anything, people using marijuana have a more positive outlook than they otherwise might have.

      Stop “protecting us”, please!!!

    7. Billybob says:

      “While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, can contain THC”. Does he understand that hemp is not part of a cannabis plant? it is a different strain of the cannabis plant with low levels of thc in the buds. and the stalks of the plant and the seeds are the only parts that will be used, which don’t contain any thc

    8. War Vet says:

      Hmm, America is at war fighting foreign drug money . . . our war is a war of attrition affecting our economy (like the 1980’s Soviet Russia and her economic collapse coming from war with Afghanistan) . . . because drugs are illegal, we are in a recession because we are fighting a long war in Afghanistan and Iraq against drug money and drug money’s 9/11 and yet hemp could really help our economy and our military, but the drug czar and others won’t let it hemp be legal for consumer goods and industry, even though we are suffering from a war of attrition fighting Muslim extremists –logic dictates Gil our drug czar is a Muslim Extremist or at least a Muslim Terrorists sympathizer . . . hay, I didn’t say it or proclaim Gil to be the Muslim Terrorist holding the drug czar’s position –he did, since actions will always speak louder than words.

    9. ALmoderate says:

      As Ron White would say, ‘You can’t fix stupid’. Unfortunately our government seems to fall squarely into this rather large American demographic. I would love to be proud of our elected officials but all I seem to be able to manage anymore is outright contempt.

    10. gstlab3 says:

      Gil is an asshole.

      He is a big pharma stooge.

      Gil is a Wall street lapdog.

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