Opinion by Mark Lathrop
May 5, 2005
Why do politicians continue to be so intentionally ignorant on the issue of hemp? The Senate, today, scuttled HB-55 which was the bill to allow NH farmers the opportunity to grow industrial hemp. Even in light of overwhelmingly positive testimony in the Senate Committee on the Environment and Wildlife where supporters outnumbered opponents 10-1 and where one NH Drug Task Force officer was caught in a blatant outright lie, the Senate still kowtowed to their fear of Law Enforcement.
The bill had many safeguards built in such as the requirement of farmers to register the GPS coordinates of their field with the Dept. of Agriculture, procure certified seed through the Dept. of Ag., open record keeping and fields to Law Enforcement scrutiny and secure a DEA permit.
Yet, in spite of these and other safeguards, Law Enforcement continues to remain the only organized lobby against the reintroduction of hemp to American agriculture. One has to ask themselves why they do this.
Fiber or oilseed hemp and the plant that produces marijuana are separate strains of the same genus, Cannabis. The same way sweet corn and cow corn are both Maize. Any farmer knows that he can't plant his sweet corn too close to his cow corn or they will cross pollinate making the sweet corn tough and rubbery and not good to eat. The same simple botany holds true for cannabis. Hemp's pollen is genetically dominant. If someone was to attempt growing marijuana within ten miles of a hemp field, hemp would pollinate the marijuana, shut down THC production and fill it with seed that contained the genetics of hemp rendering the marijuana useless on the street.
Law Enforcement has no intention of winning the "War on [some] Drugs". They only want to continue to spend your tax money fighting it. They know, but won't say out loud, that if agribusiness starts growing hemp on a commercial level, hemp pollen will frustrate outdoor marijuana growing east of the pacific north west. If they actually solve the problem of marijuana cultivation they would be looking for new jobs.
Proof of this concept comes straight from that NH Drug Task Force officer. She came into a House committee hearing a couple years ago with video of a what she called a "field of feral hemp" in Haverhill NH. Tall, spindly and full of seed. And another of a stand of marijuana in Walpole. Big, fat, bright green, pie sized sunleaves. The visual differences were striking and instantly recognizable. When I asked her what the THC content of the plants in Walpole was, she said about four percent. When asked what the THC content of the Haverhill stand was, she told the committee "We didn't bother to test it. We knew it was feral hemp". Every year they wait until September to cut it down. As they cut it the ripe seed falls to the ground, winters over and the stand comes back the following year. They know where this field is. They could cut it in July before the seed ripens but then the stand would not return and they would not be able to waste your tax money cutting ditchweed again next year. Furthermore, when asked by one of the Senators if law enforcement could tell the difference between hemp and marijuana in the field, she lied saying simply "NO".
It is not Law Enforcement's job to create public policy. It is their job to enforce policy created by the legislature. We need credible Law Enforcement and when they come into a committee hearing wearing shiny badges and big guns, testifying from a place of assumed credibility yet completely outside the realm of their expertise or lie boldfaced, that undermines their credibility creating a dangerous public environment.
With the onset of world peak oil production upon us now, and the decimation of world forest supplies, we need to shift the paradigm away from fossil fuel and irresponsible forestry and toward a sustainable carbohydrate economy. Hemp will help foster that shift. But if Law Enforcement continues to lie in order to protect their short term wealth generation scheme and politicians continue to obstruct the reintroduction of hemp to American agriculture, and corporate media continues to refuse to do anything resembling responsible journalism around the issue, we, as a society, will surely find ourselves squarely behind the eightball within the decade.
At some point, hopefully soon, you have to get out your BS meter and ask it who is really telling the truth here and tell the representatives that are elected to represent you to pull their heads out of the stupor of drunken denial and make hemp happen not just here in NH but the across rest of America as well.
Mark Lathrop, Chairman
New Hampshire Hemp Council
Proprietor, Monadnock Hemporium
10 West St. Keene NH 03431