THE PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT
The purpose of this report is to show the need to reform the present marijuana/hemp law in the United States in order to make hemp available for industrial purposes. The first thing that I will do is define marijuana and hemp in order to avoid confusion. An explanation of how the present marijuana/hemp law originated will be given after that. Then I will define and describe the present law concerning marijuana and hemp. I will then define the specific aspect of the marijuana/hemp law that I feel needs to be changed. Some industrial and environmental needs will then be listed. I will then demonstrate how the industrial and environmental needs of the United States can be fulfilled.
THE DEFINITIONS OF MARIJUANA AND HEMP
There is a large amount of confusion about the distinction between marijuana and hemp. Hemp is an actual plant that was originally located in Asia. It can be used for many purposes. The hemp plant is most commonly used for extraction of the drug marijuana. Marijuana is a drug obtained from the flowering tops, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant. It is a drug with hallucinogenic properties that people smoke in order to get high (www.encyclopedia.com).
HOW THE PRESENT MARIJUANA LAW ORIGINATED
The technical name of the present law outlawing marijuana is the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. It originated in a very corrupt manner.
Before the drug of marijuana was common, the hemp plant was used for industrial purposes on a small scale. The production of products with hemp was still a new process, and the process didnt get a chance to fully develop before the hemp plant became illegal.
The drug of marijuana first earned its reputation as an intoxicant in the 1920s and 1930s. Recreational use of the drug became associated primarily with Mexican-American immigrant workers and the African American jazz musician community. Those two communities were commonly associated with evil and crime. The drug was also given a bad name because exaggerated accounts of violent crimes committed by immigrants reportedly intoxicated from marijuana became popularized. Once under the influence of the drug, criminals knew no fear and lost all common sense. Marijuana was even referred to by some as "The Devils Weed" (www.norml.com 1).
As "The Devils Weed" image was sweeping across the United States, hemp was starting to be used more and more as an industrial product. The use of hemp as an industrial product was a big threat to the forestry industry because products made from hemp were so much better than products made from trees. Because the forestry industry was threatened, the railroad industry was also threatened. The forestry industry was the main customer of the railroad industry, which was the most powerful industry in the 1930s. The railroad tycoons (Collis Huntington, Thomas Durant, Theodore Judah, Greenville Dodge, ect.) had an enormous amount of political power, and were able to lobby politicians for their best interests. Hemp was not in the best interests of the railroad industry because it hurt their business with the forestry industry. The railroad industry began to lobby politicians to make the hemp plant illegal entirely (www.sandi.net 2).
The politicians were eager to make the marijuana plant illegal, but they couldnt outlaw such a wonderful plant without some support from the public. The support the politicians needed was also provided by the railroad industry. They paid film producers to put together a movie that portrayed marijuana in a negative manner. The movie, "Reefer Madness," showed high school students taking one toke and becoming diabolical monsters who would do all kinds of horrid activities (www.dvddiscounts.com 1).
The lobbying of the politicians and the opinion of the public eventually led to the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. It was not passed for good reasons and shouldnt have been passed at all. It is a law with corrupt roots, and it needs to be changed because hemp can provide great industrial and environmental benefits.
THE DEFINITION OF THE CURRENT MARIJUANA LAW
The law passed to ban marijuana is a federal law; the entire nation is policed in a uniform manner when it comes to marijuana. The following figure (Figure 1.1) is the opening statement of the full text of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
U. S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT, BUREAU OF NARCOTICS. REGULATIONS. THE IMPORTATION, MANUFACTURE, PRODUCTION COMPOUNDING, SALE, DEALING IN, DISPENSING, PRESCRIBING, ADMINISTERING, AND GIVING AWAY OF MARIJUANA IS PROHIBITED UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1937. PUBLIC, No. 238. 75TH CONGRESS. NARCOTIC-INTERNAL REVENUE REGULATIONS. JOINT MARIJUANA REGULATIONS MADE BY THE COMMISSIONER OF NARCOTICS AND THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY. EFFECTIVE DATE: OCTOBER 1, 1937. LAW AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO THE IMPORTATION, MANUFACTURE, PRODUCTION, COMPOUNDING, SALE, DEALING IN, DISPENSING, PRESCRIBING, ADMINISTERING, AND GIVING AWAY OF MARIJUANA.
The law specifically outlaws the manufacture and production of marijuana. Because the hemp plant is necessary for the manufacture and production of marijuana, the hemp plant is illegal to grow or possess. This is later stated in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Products made from hemp (rope, paper, ect.) are illegal to produce in the United States because the hemp plant is required for their production. Products made from hemp that are presently located in the United States were either imported of produced illegally. Products made from hemp are not illegal to possess because the parts of the hemp plant that are used to make the drug marijuana are not present.
THE ASPECT OF THE LAW THAT SHOULD BE CHANGED
I feel that the main aspect of the law that should be changed is the production aspect of the law. The reason that I feel the production aspect should be changed is because hemp can be used to fulfill many industrial and environmental needs (www.legalize.com).
I do not feel that hemp should be legal for anything other than filling industrial and environmental needs. Hemp should not be produced to get the drug marijuana because marijuana is rightly outlawed. It should be legal to grow and produce hemp for filling industrial and environmental need only.
INDUSTRIAL AND ENVIORNMENTAL NEEDS
There are many industrial needs in modern society. One industrial need is to improve the quality and the cost effectiveness of products made from cotton. A second industrial need is to find a replacement for the rapidly depleting supply of fossil fuels (www.sandi.net 1).
There are also many environmental needs in modern society. One environmental need is to find a replacement for non-biodegradable plastics that are filling up landfills. A second environmental need is to improve soil quality for the future (www.sandi.net 1).
INDUSTRIAL BENEFITS OF HEMP
The possibility of industrial needs being fulfilled by hemp products is enormous. The need to improve the quality and the cost effectiveness of products made from cotton can easily be fulfilled by hemp. Hemp is much cheaper to use for the production of clothing than cotton. Clothing fabrics made out of hemp are stronger, warmer, and more durable than cotton. Clothes made out of hemp are not doomed to be a coarse, tough material like many think. Hemp can be spun and woven to be as coarse as burlap, as smooth as silk, or as intricate as lace (www.sandi.net 1).
The industrial need to find a replacement for the rapidly depleting supply of fossil fuels can also be fulfilled by hemp. Hemp can be used to produce a plant biomass fuel. The plant biomass fuel could provide such products as gasoline, methane, and charcoal. The fuel could be then used to make a wide variety of industrial products, and our depleting supply of fossil fuel would no longer be a problem (www.sandi.net 1).
ENVIORNMENTAL BENEFITS OF HEMP
The environmental need to find a replacement for non-biodegradable plastics that are filling up landfills can be fulfilled by hemp quite easily. Hemp fiber and pulp can make biodegradable alternatives to plastic. This would eliminate a large amount of plastic trash (www.sandi.net 1).
Hemp also fulfills the environmental need to improve soil quality for the future. Hemp does not ruin the soil, but it actually replenishes it. This would make it possible to grow other crops in previous hemp fields because they would have the minerals and nutrients in the soil that they need to survive (www.sandi.net 1).
Hemp should be made legal because it fulfills industrial and environmental needs. The United States should reform the Marijuana Tax act of 1937 to make hemp legal for industrial purposes, or they should start over and write a new law. The changes should be made because of the things that I discussed in this report: the law was passed under corrupt circumstances, the product of hemp is not being used for industrial purposes, and hemp is a very environment friendly product.
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