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Mixed Messages

Posted Monday, July 26, 2010, at 8:18 AM

(Photo)
A while back, I started to work on a blog about industrial hemp and it's possible reintroduction into Nebraska agriculture. I spent hours researching hemp and its products, growing requirements etc., and I even wrote the Governor and asked for his feelings. I got a quick response from the gov, and I'll share it here.

First off, the gov stated "Industrial hemp has received increased attention over the years as a potential value-added agricultural product. While I support the development of value-added agriculture, there are a few concerns I have with respect to industrial hemp, mostly related to law enforcement."

The letter I got from the Governor went on to say...

"First, it would be very difficult to visually distinguish between legal hemp and other cannabis plants using aerial surveillance. This makes the detection of marijuana patches virtually impossible. Second, hemp would have value to drug dealers as an additive to increase marijuana bulk. Lastly, current federal law makes hemp in any form illegal, so there would be a conflict of enforcement interest between federal and local law enforcement officers.

"There is also concern with regard to the market for hemp products and whether there is sufficient demand to warrant legalization. It would be tragic to commit additional state resources (increases in personnel and funding) to make industrial hemp a reality only to find out that there was no appreciable benefit to Nebraska's agriculture economy."

It seems to me the governor has a well thought out position. What is difficult for me to understand is the mixed message the Federal government is passing down the pike... Yesterday the VA announced that patients taking medical marijuana ("legal" in 14 states) would not be denied some services at VA hospitals. This smacks of official approval for medical marijuana to a casual observer.

Lets talk about those 14 states a moment... Colorado as a Nebraska neighbor has approved medical marijuana, and is trying to find ways to properly regulate it. If the feds didn't step back from enforcement, this would be a moot point. In California, a state considering total legalization of pot, the city council of Oakland has approved four 100,000 square foot indoor marijuana grow operations. Of course California is drooling at the possible tax ramifications if recreational use of marijuana is approved.

Oh and one more thing, the US of A is the only industrialized country that outlaws hemp production. Why? The drug war is why!

So what kind of messages are we getting? Mixed to say the least. In Colorado, California, and 12 other states, medical marijuana is available and the feds do little or nothing about the laws already on the books regarding it's cultivation and use. I guess our governor is behind the 8 ball then since as our kids like to say "everybody else is doing it". Actually, I feel our gov is doing the right thing as he is at least trying to follow the laws already on the books.

It seems much the same as the immigration fiasco in Arizona right now. The laws are on the books, but the feds do nothing and then get mad when the states do something about it... what a bunch of hooey! I wish "our" representatives in Washington would quit writing new laws and find ways to enforce the ones we already have, fix them, or repeal them if they don't work. The message sent to the people would likely make some sense at least.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
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Brain,

You've brought up a number of interesting points, however your missing a few. Why are we still outlawing a plant that was made illegal not because of scientific evidence, but because of grandstanding and yellow journalism from the past?

Why is it that Americans have the freedom to drink if they are of age, but can consume marijuana? A drug proven to be less detrimental to society overall comparatively to all other legal drugs? (prescription and otherwise..)

Also, why are we wasting precious police time going after people who are hurting no one but themselves. I always had a problem with the police prosecuting victimless crimes when so many other murders, rapes, and other crimes with victims go unsolved. (How many murders have we had in McCook that have gone unsolved?)

Another interesting note, the reason we have hemp growing all over Nebraska in ditches and prarie land is up until the 30's hemp was a major crop in Nebraska. The number of textiles and uses from the plant is amazing. Not to mention you don't need to cycle crops with it as Hemp is better for the soil than corn and many other currently grown crops.

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Jul 26, 2010, at 10:26 AM

Brian,

My name is Sean and I'm a cannabis activist in Idaho. I am interested in republishing your post on my site blog. http://www.hemp4victory.com/cannabis-blo... This would of course only be done with your approval which would be greatly appreciated.

I've been getting similar responses from my senators and governor regarding this issue and would like to work with you in the near future to help make a change.

You can contact me through my ersonal e-mail if you like, tampabay_bucaneers2006@msn.com this would be prefferred by me.

-- Posted by Sean89 on Mon, Jul 26, 2010, at 11:50 AM

Touchy subject, Brian. When I first joined the Navy, we handled Hemp on a very regular basis, not knowing it did anything except keep our ship tied to the pier, so we could go home, or on liberty....Not too groovy, looking back at all we must have missed, not knowing we didn't have to leave the pier, to go on a trip. Hmmm.

Cannabis does have some Medical benefit, but, I fear that benefit is being abused, to a point where we may loose even that tightly controlled source of help, for Cancer patients, and such.

Controlling the crop residue (leaves) would probably cost way more than any crop benefit.

-- Posted by Navyblue on Mon, Jul 26, 2010, at 4:15 PM

Wow, I really missed making my point today apparantly. I was trying to say that the government sends mixed messages and that causes a lot of problems.

Example is our Nebraska governor not wishing to commit resources towards a crop that seems proven to offer benefits for Nebraska agriculture because of federal law.

Another example is Fremont, Nebraska. Their new illegal alien laws will cost the town tens, if not hundreds of thousands to defend. If the feds did their job, it would be a non issue don't you think GI? The fact that you (and a lot of others) see no sense in using law enforcement assets in pursuing criminal activity regarding marijuana any longer does not change the laws or the penalities imposed.

Inconsistant messages seem to me to be part of the root cause of several problems in the US, but I'd like to hear what you think is a more important topic so we can hash on it for awhile.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Mon, Jul 26, 2010, at 5:07 PM

Why legalize weed and not other illicit drugs? Magic mushrooms will open the mind to a new world, isn't this good? Chrystal meth causes rapid weight loss, this should be great. Huffing glue cleanses the gene pool, isn't this desirable? Cocaine makes the mundane real fun, who wouldn't want this? So why can't we see the big picture here?

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Mon, Jul 26, 2010, at 9:55 PM

@CPB Your thoughts are on the right track, your reasoning is a bit off though. How can we call ourselves a free society when we incriminate people for choosing what they want to do with there own bodies?

Why can we not see that making these things illegal is one of the largest contributors to crime in this nation? (Think Alcohol prohibition only on a much larger scale)

Many would say that this would open the flood gates yada yada yada, but Portugal has already done this and they have no ill effects. In fact there rates of usage have gone down. When you take away the air of mystery to the drugs and people get actual facts and not ridiculous propaganda they usually make informed choices.

Then again even if they don't, it's still there decision. We don't lock people up for drinking anymore (Funny story though during prohibition you could get Medical Alcohol, Sound familiar?) we saw the error in our ways there. As a nation we should only provide facts not try to dictate morality through legislation.

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Jul 26, 2010, at 10:19 PM

@GI Even if the laws are on the books I was recently informed of something simple citizens can do. Jury Nullification, interestingly enough this isn't something I recollect being taught in school. I ran across it in a different article I was reading awhile back.

-- Posted by Damu on Mon, Jul 26, 2010, at 10:22 PM

"Why can we not see that making these things illegal is one of the largest contributors to crime in this nation? (Think Alcohol prohibition only on a much larger scale) "

So if something is a large contributor to crime we should legalize it then there will be less crime?

Murder is a good sized contributor to crime also, should we make that legal?

If people would follow the laws we have, crime would go down also.

At least with alcohol you can stop drinking before getting to the point of doing stupid crap.

Personally I could careless about medical pot. I think it's too loosely regulated.

I support Industrial Hemp. Never thought about it looking too closely to other forms of marijuana to regulate the growth easily. It has less THC and makes some good rope.

I agree with Brian, if the government enforced the rules already on the books, then a lot of problems would be solved. This goes from illegal immigration, guns, drugs, and many other things.

-- Posted by npwinder on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 3:43 PM

@Npwinder Incorrect sir, when you murder someone you take away there right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When you smoke marijuana at your home your hurting no one. Based on recent research not really even yourself (Numerous studies show THC retards cancer growth in mice) I'm going to mid paragraph include a nice article comparing marijuana to tobacco smoke. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles...

At least with marijuana you have no chance of death from overdose. None. Zero. Any idea how many deaths there are from alcohol each year? How about tobacco? How about prescription drugs? How about aspirin?

Anyway, making drugs illegal isn't helping the crime problem. It is creating one, that is the point I'm trying to make. We can throw thousands of people in prison and it doesn't make a difference, availability and consumption hasn't changed. The government can come out with all the DARE (Practiced here in McCook sadly, even though there is mounds of evidence showing its ineffective and in some cases actually contributes to youth using drugs.) and ridiculous commercials they want. People have been using mind altering substances for literally thousands of years. Human nature won't change.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 4:05 PM

@Npwinder Also I would guess your not real versed in the history of how marijuana and hemp became illegal. You should perhaps do some research. The entire thing is based on fabricated lies, yellow journalism, and some very interesting corporate ties between many of the people who made it illegal and dupont among other companies.

Not to mention the complete disregard of a doctor at the senate hearings.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 4:13 PM

Senior Loud,

That should be the role of our schools, to teach our youth how to imbibe properly. Much research has gone into the levels of intoxication of various illicits. Our children should not go out into the world and not know how much weed or 'shrooms to smoke before vomiting and hallucinations occur. The same for meth and coke, how much or future can smoke or snort before psychosis occurs. I'm sure there is a safe level of heroin one can inject or smoke. Our kids need to know, and who better to teach them than our schools.

-- Posted by Chunky Peanut Butter on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 6:51 PM

But the laws are applied in an inconsistant manner GI. This blog had nothing at all to do with pot laws and everything to do with inconsistency. I could have used the BP oil spill instead of industrial hemp when it comes to sending mixed messages. If the government was on top of the enforcement hill, then perhaps the Gulf situation could have been avoided. The same could be said about just about anything the government regulates. The food industry could be the target instead.

The reason I used industrial hemp in this blog was that I did a bunch of reasearch about it, queried the governor, and immediately determined my topic was pretty useless because federal law stands in the way and is holding the state back, and likely will continue to do so. After researching hemp, I believe it could substantially benefit Nebraska well beyond it's farmers, and I wish the state could be a leader in legalization of this crop but...

The governor has his made his feelings known about it. How do you feel about spending assets on something that most feel would probably be OK, but have the feds put the kaibosh on the whole thing after the fact?

A pot legalization blog was not my idea here, and though I think marijuana laws are ineffective and incriminate folks that have no business in jail for their offense, the laws are there, and the states enforce them... depending on which state you are in or who is running the DEA show in your area. However since this topic has devolved, I'll allow it to continue for educational purposes...

GI said... "nobody should be enforcing any marijuana laws, period". This is a very broad statment that I can't agree with. Some kid selling pot on the corner outside an elementary school would be pretty good example of marijuana laws that I think should always be enforced.

-- Posted by Brian Hoag on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 7:31 PM

@Brian True, but with legalization you wouldn't have that scenario. In fact marijuana would be just as difficult for kids to get as alcohol. That is one of the big things I don't understand about peoples view of prohibition. You always hear cries of remember the children. When in fact the shear act of pushing the issue underground takes control of it out of the hands of the government. It does make them a lot of money though.

As far as industrial hemp goes, the state of Nebraska could feasibly legalize it, with what California is doing it will be interesting to see what kind of states rights suits come from that. Sadly thought with the governor thinking like he does it more than likely won't happen any time soon.

-- Posted by Damu on Tue, Jul 27, 2010, at 8:06 PM

I was hoping to get some more debate out of this. However, its fairly difficult to debate with a person who is clearly correct.

-- Posted by Damu on Fri, Aug 6, 2010, at 5:50 PM


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