Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The image to the right was taken at a hemp event in California in June of 2003, put on by Minawear. Lots of fun was to be had, and where there's fire there's smoke, so that was somewhere in the air as well.
Sadly, there is lots of smoke in the press about hemp, with atrociously written stories that start off on a sound note about hemp and its uses, but then digress into some lame attempt at humour. Often the sound note is a bit flat, as too many journalists are emulating Jayson Blair of the New York Times and fail to do good research. One story tells us that a man fed hemp seed to his birds and next thing he knew he had a field of dope worth £700,000. Where that story came from I don't know, perhaps dreamed up between puffs on a spliff, but the reality is so different as to put the teller to shame.
Hemp seed, which is sold here in London for about £1 a kilo, will germinate, as it has done on occasion, but to think that someone can just not notice that they have 700 (based on a value of £1,000 per plant for high THC marijuana) plants in their yard, taking up collectively hundreds of square metres, is rubbish. It's for idiots to believe. Secondly, even if 700 plants did germinate, they could not have gotten anyone high, even if they had smoked the whole lot. Nice story, it must have entertained the usual fools, but it does little for the credibility of the author, who I will mercifully leave unnamed...the BBC now owes me a favour.
That writer, with a little bit of knowledge, is dangerous. Had he researched his subject thoroughly, he could have had a great feature, such as Lee Green's story in the LA Times magazine section of 18 January, 2004. I cannot say that there have been very many good stories in the press about hemp, and part of the reason may be journalistic apathy. Another part of it may be editorial censorship, where are all the supposedly good independent, left wing papers when we need them? One in particular completely ignores the issue, choosing rather to run stories on fish oil as a source of Omega 3 oil and print ads for American cotton. The same paper ran a story about Willie Nelson and American truckers demanding biofuel, and went so far as to say that some plants were better than others, but did not bother to tell us about hemp - even though they were mentioning Willie Nelson who is a hemp advocate.
I would invite any journalists to get it right, a good feature on this issue is long overdue, but some of you need a bit of prodding, you're acting like lazy stewards on a sinking Titanic who are unwilling to wake up and take the lifeboats down. Serves them right if they get left behind.

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