Tuesday, June 20, 2006

On the 8th of June, 2006, Dr. James Klotter spoke to his fellow Kentuckians on a subject of great historical importance in that state: hemp. Their state produced more hemp than any other, and at times, up to 90% of all the hemp in the US was grown in Kentucky. The Civil War was when that started to wind down, with a slight rise occasioned by WWI.
Klotter held forth on the topic of native son Henry Clay, a Speaker of the House in the nineteenth century who was thrice a presidential candidate. Like many politicians in his day, Clay was also a hemp farmer and could speak about the economy from the personal experience of someone who worked hard and hired Americans in a profitable enterprise...a bit unlike today's brood.
While much of his speech was about the history of this plant in Kentucky, Klotter talked about it as a past and present issue for his nation as a whole. He reminded the audience that in 1942, the US government issued a film titled Hemp for Victory which was used to encourage farmers to grow it. The hope that it can still be grown exists to this day, but common sense does not prevail. Klotter brought up the fact that a bill introduced into Congress to remove industrial hemp from the controlled substance list was buried in committee. One wonders what old Clay would say today...

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