Native Americans are having their industrial hemp crops uprooted and confiscated. Why? Industrial hemp couldn’t make a hippie happy in a month of Sundays! With absolutely no high and no addictive properties, why should people like the Narragansett Indian Tribe not be able to grow it?
That’s the puzzle that Providence Journal tried to tackle in its report on the proceedings that left the hemp growers without a crop that, ironically, can be imported into the US from other countries around the world.
Hemp products stream in from foreign shores – no problem!
Hemp products from fabrics to CBD oil can be and are being imported, but although certain states are providing permits for industrial hemp growing, not all of them do, and therefore hemp is an illegal product – unless it comes from overseas.
What makes the case of the Narragansett particularly tragic is that they’ve been using hemp to make all sorts of products ranging from baskets to blankets for generations says their lawyer, William Devereaux. He points out that he can walk into a health foods store and buy hemp foods over the counter with ease. Of course, the hemp is imported, and so selling its products is fine, but growing it is another matter altogether.
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Hemp is marijuana?
Although no dedicated stoner would agree with this statement because hemp could never give them a buzz, that’s how the situation currently stands. Hemp certainly is cannabis, but it is by no means marijuana, unless you stick to the letter of the law. But does the law make any sense?
The reporter for the Providence Journal struggled to come to terms with the inconsistencies: it is a drug, but it isn’t a drug. It is a banned substance, but you can import as much of it as you like. You can buy it but you can’t grow it. If your mind is boggling now, so was the Providence Journal’s reporter.
Legal precedent says hemp is marijuana – not many others agree
Repeated court cases have come up with the same conclusion. Industrial hemp is marijuana. But if this were really the truth, why can one import it and openly sell it, even in states where marijuana is illegal?
Although the difference between hemp and marijuana isn’t botanically obvious, the distinction is found in the molecules inside the plant. It all comes down to THC, the ingredient that makes stoners smile. Industrial hemp contains so little of this compound that it has absolutely no effect, but one look at ‘high times’ mag will tell you that marijuana is all about THC content. The more there is, the higher you get.
A proud American tradition
George Washington grew hemp, and so did Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson (although contrary to popular belief, he probably did not smoke marijuana), the declaration of independence is said to written on hemp paper, and it said that the first American flags were made from hemp fiber as were sailcloth and ropes.
It’s certainly true that the US encouraged farmers to grow hemp during World War II, and even gave away free hemp seed to farmers. But hemp looks like marijuana, and like marijuana, it is illegal to grow it in much of the US. It can’t even be moved across state lines when it is legally grown in the states that allow it – at least for now.