Wednesday, April 28, 2010
POT DEBATE HEATING UP
The New York Times gave space on Saturyday (24 April) to the debate on legalising cannabis; funny, not a word about legalising industrial hemp, and it seems ironic that the drug could be legal yet American farmers could go to jail for growing hemp...
California is about to vote in November on an initiative for legalisation...which, for hemp, has been done, but the governor vetoed it, twice.
There is more lobbying for pot than for hemp, with companies like CannaBe hoping to be "the McDonald's of marijuana", according to the NYT piece. The company is made up of four owners and their lawyer, and it is run for profit. Don't want any communists getting their hands on our drugs, now, do we? The team of would-be cannabis merchants lobbied the San Jose City Council to pass ordinances regulating dispensaries, which they saw as a step towards legitimising marijuana.
Lobbying against their efforts is John Lovell, representing state police and narcotics officers. He points to existing dispeneries as centres of crime, what with the dosh and the dope. Not only does all this attract criminals, but it attracts ad execs and lawyers; there is now a magazine devoted to it, West Coast Cannabis, and the state bar has certified a group called Cannabis Law Institute.
California is not alone; Colorado has seen a great increase in dispensaries as well. Both states would profit greatly from either pot or hemp. Presently 14 states allow medicinal cannabis, but none allow the growing of hemp as George Washington not only allowed but practiced. And Obama, the president with the hopey changey thing as Palin describes him, has disappointed great numbers of his voters with his inaction on this front.
Nationwide, AP and CNBC polls are showing that a majority of Americans approve of legalisation.
Whatever the level of support, however, there is a plethora of cases such as Stewart Hauptman's, who sells medical pot ouf of his motor home in Norco, California. The locals want to put an end to his quasi-legal clinic, and he is in the same boat as so many other 'clinics'; truth is, they are not technically legal unless they are a collectives, and many are sole proprieterships. This not only puts them in jeopardy with the local sherriff, but it makes the whole issue seem a bit, well, of a capitalist venture. In New York once, having lunch at Galxy Global Eatery, Mina (of Minwear) introduced me to a hemp activist who had just started Hemp Times, and he told us that a dealer came to his meeting and cursed him out because they did not want pot to be legal. No surprise. And it is just that kind of dealer that is a strong argument for it to be legal, to take the greed out of it all and get it regulated (so those kind do not water down the pot with gas and chemicals and send people to the hospital, as they did recently in the UK).
But, whatever the outcome of this battle for pot, what about hemp? That seems to be forgotten in a cloud of smoke. Truth is, you can get it legally or otherwise, and you can not get much hemp these days. Any debate about one ought to be about the other.