#OccupyHemp: Don’t let the truth go up in smoke

by Adam

Mickey Z.


ā€œThe illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.ā€

Carl Sagan


Upon receiving an invite to the NYC Cannabis March on May 5, I found myself meditating upon this concept: If you wanted to find one topic that effectively illustrated the sheer disconnect between perception and reality, that topic just might be – drum roll, please – hemp.

Wrestler-turned-Governor Jesse Ventura sez: “Industrial hemp is a very useful plant. I challenged the attorney general to get rid of the criminal stigma associated with hemp so we can look at it in terms of how it might be useful.”

Actor-turned-Governor Ronald Reagan sez: “I have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast.”

Obviously, there are more than a few ways for us to view hemp:

Illegal. Despite industrial hempā€™s proven, well-documented value, it cannot be commercially grown in the United States. Why, you ask? Well, it seems the powers-that-be canā€™t grasp the reality that thereā€™s a difference between industrial hemp and marijuana.

Medicine. Here’s the scoop from NORML: “Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief — particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) — nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective. Currently, more than 60 US and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician’s supervision.”

Efficient and Economical. “Industrial hemp is an incredible resource,” explain the good folks at Hemp.com. “Hemp is harvested for its fibers for hemp clothing and seeds for hemp oil. With a relatively short growth cycle of 100-120 days, it is an efficient and economical crop for farmers to grow.”

Super Fiber. HempOrganic.com explains http://hemporganic.com/whyhemp.html: “Hemp is the world’s strongest natural fiber. It has been used to make cloth and rope for over 10,000 years.Ā  Hemp was the first crop ever cultivated for textile production. Hemp cloth is stronger, longer lasting, more resistant to mildew, and cheaper to produce than cloth made of cotton.Ā  Hemp ropes are known for their strength and durability.Ā  The original Levi Strauss jeans were made from a hempen canvas. Even Old Glory was made from hemp fiber.”

Animal-Free Protein Source. The edible part of hemp provides many nutritional benefits. This includes higher protein levels than those found in nuts, other seeds, meats, dairy products, fish, and poultry.

A Way to Ride the Waves. Thanks to EcoFoil by OceanGreen, instead of polyurethane or polystyrene blanks being used on their surfboards, explains Warren McLaren, “they use hollow balsa wood from FSC certified Nicaraguan forests. These handcrafted blanks are purchased under fair trade arrangements for the final shaping in Cornwall.” Fiberglass is eliminated from the mix through the application of an organically grown hemp cloth “skin” which has about 10% of the CO2 emissions associated with fiberglass.

Your Next Home. Researchers at the University of Bath believe hemp “could be used to build carbon-neutral homes of the future to help combat climate change and boost the rural economy.” To which, the crew at Eco Worldly add: “Homes built from the hemp-lime material can reach carbon neutrality in large part due to the remarkable efficiency by which the fast growing hemp plant can store carbon as it grows.” Gives new meaning to the term “grow house.”

Misunderstood. As pointed out by David P. West of the North American Industrial Hemp Council: Smoking industrial hemp will not get you high, using hemp oil will not get you high, and hemp fields cannot be used to hide marijuana plants because hemp is grown quite differently and harvested at a different time than marijuana.

Better than alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol abuse is the third leading “preventable cause” of death in the US.

Number of deaths from smoking weed: 0

Way better than tobacco. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the US each year, causing about 1 of every 5 deaths. This is more than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined.

Number of deaths from smoking weed: 0


ā€œHerb is the healing of a nationā€¦ā€

Bob Marley


Of course, the war on weed can trace some of its roots to longstanding racism. In addition, marijuana arrests/convictions help feed the ever-growing profits of the ever-growing prison-industrial complex while criminalizing hemp helps protects the ever-growing profits of the ever-growing pharmaceutical-industrial complex.

Mic Check: No matter where you may personally stand on using hemp and/or marijuana, it should be apparent that this issue is very much connected to the other socio-economic battles being waged by Occupy Wall Street (OWS).

It’s all part of a much larger fight for a holistic global justiceā€”so let’s make the big connections, broaden our scope, and find more allies. Nothing less than our shared future is at stakeā€¦

We are the 99%. Expect us. Join usā€¦

#OccupyHemp. OccupyMedicalMarijuana. #DeOccupyPropaganda.


Mickey Z. is the author of 11 books, most recently the novel Darker Shade of Green. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on an obscure website called Facebook.