Wednesday, June 13, 2012
So, here are the hard, cold facts.
95% of your world was created by people using cannabis.
Right now, if you are sitting at a computer, or holding an iPhone or a Kindle or in some other way interfacing with the Internet and the World Wide Web of data sharing, you are enjoying the fruits of the intellectual and physical labors of a group of cannabis-using scientists.
If you are enjoying some music with your surfing, starting your morning, during your commute or throughout your day, anything from classical to light jazz to country to, yes, even a few gospel tunes, you are listening to the work of folks who routinely used hemp, cannabis, and hemp flower extracts to deal with stress and pain.
(Quite of few of them also used laudanum, opium, morphine, absinth and cocaine, which were then accepted as natural remedies, just as citizens of voting age were considered mature enough to determine those remedies’ use in their lives. There was, oddly enough, no drug problem, no multi-billion dollar prison and drug enforcement system. My, how the times have changed…)
If you enjoy the paintings, sculptures, poetry, literature, or craftworks of 95% of the last three centuries, you are, in fact, enjoying the effects of cannabis and other mind-altering substances on the real world.
Have any number of these artists died of addiction or the diseases that come with it? Yes, many if not most of the greats that we know did indeed succumb to their appetites and the dark inner flame that lit their world in the first place.
Not one of them died from cannabis.
In fact, in seven thousand years of recorded history, including the incredibly detailed records of the dynasties of Asia, not one person has ever died from the effects of cannabis; smoked, brewed into tea, eaten, or rubbed into the skin. It is humanly impossible to consume the amount of cannabis it would take to deliver enough THC to disrupt bodily function. Imagine trying to smoke a bail of marijuana in an hour. That’s how much it would take.
But I digress.
If you live or have lived in a house, or a condo, or an apartment that you did not construct from ground to doorbell with your own two hands, there is a good chance that someone using marijuana created the materials, was involved in their shipping and/or delivery, and installed or assembled them into the structure that kept the rain and snow from your head.
The streets you drive on, the shops you patronize, the restaurants you eat in, all built and staffed and possibly owned by cannabis users or their relatives or friends. The town you live in, the state in which it is located, and the country in which that state exists, all discovered and founded by cannabis and hemp growers and users.
For hundreds of years, cannabis users have been laying the foundation stones of your world.
Cannabis and hemp; twined branches of the same tree. Useful for paper, cloth, a wide assortment of building applications, fuel, protein, and a thousand potential applications to replace and preserve our depleting fossil fuels, forests, drinking water and arable land. Jobs for literally millions; farming, harvesting, processing, breeding strains for food, fuel, medical and textile applications, packaging, manufacturing, warehousing, transport, security, logistics, marketing, education, outreach, clinics, research… the list grows as rapidly as the reasons to rethink our long-held, misguided views on this beneficial plant.
Why, out of so many useful plants, is this one demonized? I’m not talking about opium poppies or cocoa leaves or psychedelic mushrooms, although medical science has found uses for all three- morphine and cocaine have been accepted as legitimate painkillers for hundreds of years, and new research into the use of psilocybin for post-traumatic stress and hospice care as well as a host of other mental disorders, is yielding amazing results.
No, I’m talking about a plant that our government has not once but twice encouraged all citizens who could do so to produce in bulk quantity. During colonial times, it was a mandate that “every household plant at least one teaspoon of good Indian hemp seed”, and hemp formed one of the principle exports of the colonies. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper , and most of our early money was printed on fine hemp paper.
Somehow, a century and a half later, this foundation stone of American life and agriculture suddenly became the demon weed. There are any number of reasons why one can see this happening; a racist reaction to white teens mixing with other races to listen to jazz, a response to the continuing influx of laborers from countries with long cannabis associations, and of course the well-documented government manipulation by corporate interests to ensure proper development of their investments.
Yet our government and the corporations that increasingly control it are adept, if nothing else, at reversing themselves without batting an eye. During the Second World War, when our supply of hemp from the Philippines was cut off, American farmers were exhorted by the US government to grow “Hemp for Victory!”
But when soldiers in Korea seemed disinclined to rush out and kill the enemy after discovering cannabis, and with the burgeoning music scene in London and Germany on the rise, American authorities once again labeled cannabis the “gateway drug” and filled schools and theaters with propaganda, little if any of it based in fact.
Such as the fact that NOT ONE Presidential research committee into cannabis/marijuana has ever uncovered ANY permanent, negative side effects from its use.
Right now it is costing American taxpayers 5 billion dollars every year just to fund the DEA. Well over 80% of that money is for cannabis interdiction. 95% of the victims of that interdiction are NOT criminals. They are parents and young people, seniors and veterans, patients and mechanics, carpenters and plumbers and roofers and electricians, teachers and writers, painters and musicians and mentors, foster parents and cab drivers, shopkeepers and janitors. They are the thousands of people who hold this society upright and together.
We have so many battles ahead. Worthy battles; to restart our economy, to clothe and feed and house and employ our people, to bring hope to the downtrodden and redemption to the broken and lost right here in our own homeland.
Together, we have come so far, and accomplished so much.
Isn’t it time to end the war on our own people?