To the editor:
"The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture." - Thomas Jefferson.
It is ironic that the country founded on freedom and liberty for all prohibits citizens from growing a plant. Not just any plant but a plant that has more than 30,000 uses for production and is considered to have superfood qualities surpassed by none. The absurdity continues by allowing hemp to be imported to America but forbidden to be grown in America.
Federal laws against hemp are a prime example of how our government stifles our freedom. Under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970, hemp and marijuana are classified as the same type of drug. To the untrained eye, the plants are strikingly similar. Little merit is given to the fact that it would take a joint the size of a telephone pole to get any type of "high" from hemp. The DEA has said it would be too difficult for law enforcement to distinguish between marijuana and hemp. Discrimination against hemp must come to an end.
Farmers across the country should be outraged. Hemp is an extremely resistant plant, requiring virtually little to no pesticides and crowds out weeds with no herbicides. Hemp requires less water than other crops, and has deep taproots that leave the soil in improved condition, proven to increase yields. This makes hemp one of the best possible rotation crops on the planet. Consumers should be outraged. The retail sales of hemp in the United States are estimated to be over $420 million annually. America is in desperate need of manufacturing jobs yet we dismiss the potential of this market. Thousands of employment opportunities from rural agriculture, marketing, distribution, sales, equipment manufacturing, etc. could be created immediately.
Many states are pushing or having already obtained permits from the DEA to be granted permission to grow hemp. While these permits do exist they limit the production and having costly restrictions and regulations that hinder hemp's potential. The fact that we have to be granted permission to grow a plant is an insult to our freedom. The only way to fully tap the potential of hemp is to decriminalize it at the federal level.