Senators McConnell And Paul Want To Farm Hemp: ‘Let It Grow, Let It Grow, Let It Grow’ (IMAGES)

Farmer Mitch McConnell and his buddy, Farmer Rand Paul, have set their sights on hemp as the new cash crop for Kentucky. McConnell, with the help of many Democrats, added a provision to the 2014 Farm Bill to allow states to initiate programs to research the crop. Currently 20 states have passed legislation to start their programs with many in progress at the present time. It feels like an out-of-body experience agreeing with McConnell and/or Paul on anything but hell is frozen over and I’m on board.

photo courtesy of IVN

photo courtesy of IVN

Hemp use to be a legal crop in the United States. Prior to the Civil War, 90 percent of hemp crops were grown in Kentucky where the climate and soil was best suited for the plant. But in 1970, and following an attempt to tax it because of its close relationship to marijuana, it fell under the Controlled Substance Act and could not be grown without a permit from the DEA. The DEA is not handing out those permits—without a fight—to anyone, and growing hemp without a license could lead to the government seizing your land and property. Universities are afraid of losing federal funding because hemp is classified as a controlled substance. And so the stupidity continues, unchecked.

Photo courtesy of hempforfood.org

Photo courtesy of hempforfood.org

So what’s the difference between hemp (industrial hemp, ditch weed) and marijuana? While there are many myths and misconceptions about the differences, both come from Cannabis Sativa L, but are cultivated much differently. Hemp is grown for its seed and fiber while marijuana is grown for its THC content which is used for recreational and medicinal purposes. In order to be classified legally as hemp, the THC content must be .3% or less, while marijuana generally contains between 3 and 20% THC (for the good stuff).

What’s the major argument against hemp? It seems that some believe that law enforcement can’t tell the difference between a hemp plant and marijuana. According to the president of the National Narcotics Officers’ Associations Coalition, Bob Bushman:

“I can’t look at a plant and tell you that is marijuana or if it’s hemp … that’s a scientific determination. The confusion and potential commingling lends itself to an easier path for illegal marijuana growth across the country.”

Give this man an eye exam.

And the fall back position by those opposing hemp farming is that it is a small crop and not worth the trouble. At the present time, the U.S. imports a little less than $600 million in hemp products like soap, clothing, food and rope.

Photo courtesy of ArizonaMarijuana.com

Photo courtesy of ArizonaMarijuana.com

Then it should be no skin off the government’s nose. It is just a small crop for those hippies selling soaps at craft fairs. If it is more, and it provides jobs, then it’s a win-win for everyone.

Those are the facts but what is reality? Well, the hemp growers feel pretty good at the present time that they have bi-partisan support and that leaders in the Senate like Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell along with Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore) are pushing a bill through the Senate as Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky), along with a multitude of bi-partisan co-sponsors, is pushing his through the House to remove hemp from the controlled substance list. What is really interesting is that Massie, in explaining the fine qualities of hemp, threw the Keystone XL pipeline under the bus arguing that hemp would create jobs:

“People used to downplay the number of jobs industrial hemp might create and say, ‘Well it’s a few thousand jobs and a couple million in commerce,’ But all told, legalizing the crop has the potential to create 10 times as many jobs as the Keystone XL pipeline will create 10 years from now.”

Knowing what we now know about ‘job creation’ and the pipeline that may not be saying much, but for a Republican, it is a mouthful.
States like Nebraska are pushing ahead and planting their hemp crops following the rules and implementing state regulations. While importing the seeds has been a problem because the DEA has seized the seeds making their way into the U.S. to Kentucky and Colorado, Nebraska has found a source.

Truthfully, this is such a small farmer issue that should have been handled decades ago but once hemp was tagged as an illegal drug, the stigma attached and Republicans running for office needed to be ‘tough on drugs.’

It is time to educate the masses, let the little farmers grow their hemp and for the United States to stop the ridiculous arguments about not being able to tell one crop from another. Has the drug enforcement agency been living in a cave? Hemp is tall, scraggly and thin. A good crop of finely grown marijuana is not. With legalization of marijuana picking up pace and with the majority of Americans that support its legalization, classifying hemp as a controlled substance just makes us look stupid as over 30 other major countries cultivate hemp and import their hemp made goods to our backwards country for us to use.

Let’s stop being stupid. Let’s just sit down, hold hands, sing Kumbaya, pass this bill, forget that we dislike the Senators from Kentucky and remove hemp from the list. Then we can spend some quality time passing some bigger job bills. I vote for a jumbo infrastructure job bill. What do you think?

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow….’

Featured Image courtesy of DoobieDuck.com (along with a big thank you for all your amazing work DoobieDuck)