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View Diary: MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION (61 comments)

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  •  The reason cannabis was taxed and regulated out (21+ / 0-)

    of domestic production in the first place was not because of the unique effect THC has on the brain but the real commodity value of the very low THC content cousin of Marijuana, hemp. Until the mid 1930's Marijuana was just a slang term used by Mexican migrant workers for wild tobacco. Marijuana was not associated with cannabis until the tabloid like newspapers of Wm Randolf Hearst started the smear campaign to protect his forest paper pulp interests from increased competition posed by hemp pulp. Up until the advent of the "Decordicator" the separation of the long bast fibers and the short fiber pulp was extremely labor intensive but with this invention of a mechanical separator cannabis was poised to become the first American billion dollar commodity. We ended up with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 because of a corporate dirty trick to stop the competition from developing. Even today, Big Oil and King Cotton would have more to lose than even the prison-law enforcement-abuse services industrial complex.

    The prohibition of cannabis is costing the American economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Not just from the cost of law enforcement and incarceration of users but also the loss of the high energy biomass that we could be producing domestically instead of buying foreign produced oil. Industrial Hemp, the non-intoxicating cousin of Marijuana, is four times more efficient converting solar energy through photosynthesis into usable biomass energy than any other commercially viable crop. Hemp grows very quickly, producing up to 10 tons an acre of high cellulose (85% by weight) biomass in as little as 100 days allowing more than 3 harvests a year in much of America. A ton of hemp can produce up to 100 gallons of ethanol and 15 gallons of hemp seed oil biodiesel without the sulfur and 85% less CO2 emissions than fossil fuels. Big Oil has more to lose from widespread Cannabis cultivation than Big Pharma.
    The real reason Cannabis was initially taxed and regulated out of production was the major competition hemp posed against softwood fiber paper products and the moneyed interest of Wm Randolf Hearst. An acre of hemp can produce in 100 days more usable short fiber pulp than four acres of old growth forest in at least 15 years while requiring only a fraction of the polluting caustic chemicals to finish the pulp into superior paper products than softwood fiber. Personally, I believe it's shameful that we Americans continue to chop down trees to produce toilet tissue to only be flushed away when we could be producing a superior and much greener product from hemp. The real reason Cannabis remains banned is the valuable commodity hemp and the competition it would pose to existing economically and politically powerful interests. Cannabis does not lend itself to big centralized production models that are currently favored by big business and many in government. Cannabis or more specifically hemp would more likely produce thousands of small factories close to farmlands instead of large regional production sites and it would put millions of Americans to work in good paying living wage jobs.
    Ending this ridiculous prohibition on Cannabis and allowing American farmers to grow hemp as a normal rotation crop would produce enough high energy biomass to completely replace all the foreign oil energy we currently import from countries that do not have the interests of the American people at heart. Instead of sending hundreds of billions offshore we could keep that capital circulating in the American domestic economy. This would create thousands if not millions of new business opportunities all across the nation producing the more than 25,000 known high quality products that can be made from this extremely valuable commodity. We need to ignore the needs of the corporate moneyed interests and do what is right for the American people. We need to end the prohibition of Cannabis now.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 08:19:56 PM PST

    •  this is so true (16+ / 0-)

      Hemp would change many things here in North and South Dakota. Many farmers and legislators in North Dakota are trying to get the right to grow hemp because they know it's the only plant that would make sense on the prairie. It would do all the things you say and more. Plus how stupid is it that we import tons of hemp amd millions of hemp products when we have land to grow it ourselves?

      What is even more frustrating is that hemp and pot are so different. Hemp farmers don't want hemp anywhere nearby because cross polination would ruin their product. Hell, they don't even look alike.

      I live on a South Dakota Indian reservation where we tried to gain the right to grow hemp knowing it would transform our farming for the better. The tribe passed laws and ordinances legalizing hemp and my brother-in-law planted a field. He had it tested monthly for THC and shared the results with the Feds. None the less when harvest time came the DEA stepped in and raided him and confiscated his crop. We used it as a test case because the tribe is supposed to be sovereign. The Supreme Court ruled against us and that was that.

      Now the government must spend millions of dollars per year fighting poverty on the rez when we clearly showed them we could use hemp as a way out.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 08:58:57 PM PST

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      •  Synthetic 'replacements' for hemp goods... (4+ / 0-)

        ...which of course require petroleum deposits to be found and exploited.  Once again, private gain seeks to trump public good.

        Another symptom of the loss of commons (and isn't that the point of #Occupy?  The loss of common space in which to peaceably assemble and speak freely?

        And the Digital Enclosure Acts currently before Congress just darken the overall picture, so Be Bright and Shine Your Light!


        by chmood on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 08:39:27 AM PST

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    •  The mass production of hemp... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RMForbes, gatorcog, KenBee

      ... would lead to significant uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere.  I read a figure online (can't confirm) that stated that hemp will uptake 22 tons of CO2/hectare each growing season.

      If that hemp fiber were sequestered in concrete (making a building product called hempcrete), then this would almost permanently remove this CO2 from the atmosphere.

      •  Even more important (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKinTN, KenBee, EthrDemon

        Would be the replacement of softwood paper products with hemp paper products. If hemp had been allowed to compete with softwood paper production over the last 70 years, we would now have about twice the forest lands in America removing hundreds of tons more carbon out of our atmosphere everyday. I think it's shameful that we cut down our forests to produce toilet tissue to be flushed away when hemp could produce a superior and far greener product. An acre of hemp produces more usable short fiber pulp than 4 acres of old growth forest. Processing hemp into superior paper products requires only a fraction of the air and water polluting caustic chemicals than softwood fiber. Hemp grows extremely fast, maturing in as little as 100 days allowing more than 3 harvests a year while it takes decades for a forest to regenerate. Forests are the lungs of our planet, we need to protect them.  
        Even the carbon that would be released back into the atmosphere by utilizing hemp biomass as fuels would be replacing fossil fuel carbon with its sulfur components which was sequestered millions of years ago. At least biomass fuels removes the carbon from our contemporary atmosphere first before it is burnt.  

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 08:52:26 AM PST

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        •  co2 produced in indoor mj grows (1+ / 0-)
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          In one article in the Arcata Eye they report a researcher claims 10% of Humboldt County's electricity goes to indoor grows, producing 20,000 metric tons of CO2 a year. Add to that another 20,000 tons of CO2 from diesel powered indoor grows, that's very fucked ad to that the costs associated with ruined housing....but in a way, that does sequester CO2 in the ruined house products buried at the dump.
            Now if we can capture the methane from the dump and convert that to the 'better greenhouse gas, CO2.


          ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

          by KenBee on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 09:55:04 AM PST

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          •  Yes, another issue caused by prohibition (1+ / 0-)
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            When prohibition ends there will no need to hide cannabis production for any use. Growing cannabis under artificial lights will fall away when it is no longer necessary.  

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 10:16:47 AM PST

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            •  Not entirely... (0+ / 0-)

              Cannabis has a season, and a shelf life. Tasty bud harvested in September is a dried out, harsh unpleasantness by December, assuming it would even last that long. There will always be a place for indoor grown weed but we could be making huge improvements in energy usage--LED grow lights are a promising angle, they use much less energy and produce much less waste heat.

              Plus, and this is a subjective judgment, I infinitely prefer bud grown indoors under controlled conditions to outdoor grown which tends to be less reliable in quality and flavor. Outdoor grows are usually larger and mature all at once which often results in slapdash, sloppy trimming if the grower doesn't get enough help bringing in the crop. Indoor grown plants are manicured, cosseted and more carefully tended, resulting in a higher quality, more consistent product.

              That being said, nothing beats the best outdoor grown cannabis--when everything comes together just right that stuff can be sublime.

              "Nothing's wrong, son, look at the news!" -- Firesign Theater

              by SmartAleq on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 07:18:22 PM PST

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              •  Since I live in So Cal we can grow year round (0+ / 0-)

                outdoors. My brother and sister legally grow Medical Marijuana in Oregon. Your assertion that properly dried and stored bud lasts only a couple months is not true. I had an exceptional harvest several years ago that I enjoyed for more than two seasons. I agree that a well tended crop produces a superior product which is why that quality recreational cannabis production will always be a cottage industry but I still prefer a naturally grown product. We start our plants in a greenhouse and move them outdoors in Oregon because of the short growing season. I have never had much luck producing a quality product under artificial lights.

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 09:04:44 AM PST

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      •  Factor in reductions due to decreased timber and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKinTN, RMForbes, trueblueliberal

        paper production.  The number of trees that could be left standing by abandoning pulpwood farming and framing-timber farming is beyond the scope of my brain, but I've seen what pulp plants do to the world around them, I've seen the empty miles where clear-cutting has left nothing but ruts, bugs and worms.

        Leaving those trees to grow and age would be a great good in so many ways:  more CO2-uptake, restoration of old-growth habitats, long-term expansion of resources - and more importantly, the people and the land are one.  When we rip up the world around us, we rip ourselves up, and our relationships suffer on all levels.  We get distorted, alienated, crazy, desperate;  we make bad decisions, stupid choices, dangerous misjudgments, and we all suffer.

        Maybe that was the point of the Enclosures:  not to fence the land in, but to fence US in, remove us from the natural world and crowd us into towns and cities where everything is owned, where we can't provide for ourselves, and we must make money to buy the food we can no longer grow, find or catch, so we can sleep under shelter that we can no longer free to find or make for ourselves.

        A few hundred years of that, and you 'cultivate' a crop of humans incapable of understanding their own self-interest (or of telling shit from shoe-polish).  Easy to control, pre-frightened, pre-domesticated - not a whole lot different from how dogs are turned into killers.

        Not used a whole lot differently than those poor dogs are used, either.  Gosh, I'm rambling today, aint I?


        by chmood on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 09:04:10 AM PST

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    •  Not "related" plants, they are the same plant (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKinTN, KenBee

      Potency aside, the differences between "marijuana" and "hemp" are ENTIRELY due to growth habit and light cycle - both manipulable via cultivation, whereas potency is in fact selected for genetically.

      It's like the wave/particle experiment in physics (senior moment on the common name thereof):  if you grow cannabis for fiber, you will get little (if any) herbal value from your crop;  if you grow cannabis for medicine, you will render the resulting plants 'un-useful' as a source of fiber.

      The goals are exclusive, and each has its own path.

      Otherwise, preach it!


      by chmood on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 08:34:00 AM PST

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      •  True (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        There are two main strains of cannabis, cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. Sativa grows as a single tall stock with a single mostly female flower on the top with few narrow leaves growing from the main stock. Indica is a bush with broader leaves and produces multiple branches and flower heads. THC like most active substances we extract from plants as drugs, is a substance the plant produces to protect it from insect infestation. Stressing either strain of cannabis and extending it's growth period by several days will increase the plants production of THC especially if the female flowers are not allowed to pollinate. However, even growing Indica in on a farm scale would only produce far more seeds for food, feed and oil instead of a good quality herbal plant. Producing medicinal quality cannabis with higher THC requires much more attention to properly stress the plant into producing more THC. This could not be done on a massive scale. There is no danger of a Monsanto taking over medical marijuana production after end of prohibition. Because of the nature of cannabis medical marijuana production will continue to be a cottage industry.
        One point that you made should be clarified, while the Indica plant is far better to produce more seeds and not as useful for fiber, the fiber is still useful at the very least for biomass energy and even the waste product left after producing the ethanol or methanol is an excellent fertilizer for soil. Ever part of every cannabis plant is useful, there is no waste with cannabis. Even the roots can be made into a very effective topical pain ointment.  

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 09:53:57 AM PST

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      •  but (0+ / 0-)

        couldn't one engineer a strain that would grow 30 feet high with large amounts of high quality hemp fiber and massive amounts of high potency buds? It would be the best of both worlds!

        when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

        by bunsk on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 12:38:28 PM PST

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        •  It could happen, I suppose, but not until after... (0+ / 0-)

          ...researchers are able to do so 'out in the open'.  And maybe not even then.

          'Course, if we had a lunar colony, direct solar input, and 1/16th-normal gravity, I'm sure it could be done!


          by chmood on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 01:58:49 PM PST

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