FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A False Dichotomy

“I’d like your opinion on the Cannabis vs Hemp issue,” writes Jeanette Doney of Fort Bragg. “Last week the house in CA passed AB 684, industrial hemp for farming. It now goes to the senate, and then to Arnold, as it did last year… Cannabis growers fear industrial hemp as a cross-pollinator. But I am with those who claim there should be no fear protecting small, indoor, legal cannabis crops from hemp crops.”

The “vs” never made sense to me, Jeanette: cannabis is hemp. It’s a myth that the plant grown for food and fiber has to be low on THC, or stalky. Japanese hemp fiber is the finest of all, and it comes from plants that are compact and bushy. If and when low-THC hemp is legalized, and low-THC strains are growing all over Mendoland, is there any doubt the local Burbanks will find ways to keep growing potent sinsemilla? Who’s afraid of wind-borne pollen? “If you don’t find a couple of seeds, it means the plant has been neutered,” says Bob Cannard, a most observant farmer. “It’s been short-changed… You’ve got to allow a plant to have a few seeds. How can it be a truly content plant without sexual fulfillment?”

Reform advocates have created niches for themselves and convinced their backers that legalizing the cannabis plant for food and fiber is a project that is and should be kept distinct from legalizing the plant for medical use (which they distinguish from legalizing it for “recreational” use, which they distinguish from legalizing coca and poppies). As if the single-issue trap wasn’t constrictive enough, these people focus on issues within issues. They think they’re being slick, they think they’re politically sophisticated, our leaders, the pros from Dover.

Last year, as you know, Schwarzenegger -who claimed while running for governor that he was “for” medical marijuana, whatever that means- vetoed the hemp bill. Because the hempster masterminds had kept their distance from the pot-smoking masses, there was nobody to hold Schwarzenegger’s veto against him. With no political price to pay, why shouldn’t the Governator do the same thing this year?

In late February I called the office of Assemblyman Mark Leno and told an aide named Bart Broome that the Society of Cannabis Clinicians wanted to get cannabis rescheduled in California in a way that jibed with medical reality, i.e., on a schedule all its own to reflect its unique range of effects and mechanism of action. (Each state has its own Controlled Substances Act and the state CSAs don’t have to mirror the one adopted by Congress in 1970.) The SCC docs were hoping Leno would sponsor a bill to reschedule cannabis and hold hearings at which they could present evidence that it is medically useful. They hoped he would move swiftly so that the discussion in California would be taken into account when Congress reconsiders whether cannabis belongs on Schedule I.

Broome said that Leno was reintroducing the hemp bill and therefore it was out of the question that he sponsor a rescheduling bill. I told Broome his boss was making a tactical mistake in treating “hemp” and “medical marijuana” as discrete issues. He said (as if educating me) that politicians were afraid to support any bill reforming the drug laws because opponents would then call them soft on crime. He said law enforcement in particular would oppose rescheduling marijuana in California because the ensuing conflict with the federal controlled substances act would put them in a terrible bind, as had Prop 215 itself.

It was a mind-blowing little sermon. Ten years after I first heard the head of the California Narcotics Officers Association complain that Prop 215 had created a “nightmare” for her members, I had to hear it from Mark Leno’s point man for drug policy reform! Young Broome seemed to assume that my real goal was “legalization,” and confided that he’d “seen some polling” indicating that a majority of Californians might vote for a legalization initiative, and that he’d recently heard from “some folks in Orange County… conservatives with ties to Lou Sheldon” that they were thinking about launching a legalization initiative… As if I should find that heartening. As if it had any relevance to the purpoe of my call on behalf of a doctors’ group.

Broome opined that changing the state CSA so that it didn’t mirror the federal CSA was probably not possible, “you’ll have to have some lawyers take a hard look at that.” I said, “Gerry Uelmen told me that in Arkansas cannabis is on Schedule Six. Rescheduling in California is definitely do-able.” Dropping the famous lawyer’s name produced an immediate change in tone. Broome asked if the doctors had money to hire a lobbyist. I told him to consider my call the first step in our lobbying process. He said “It would be very good if the doctors could hire a lobbyist.” Next I contacted the office of assemblyman Sandre Swanson and got a much friendlier reception. Stay tuned.

FRED GARDNER edits O’Shaughnessy’s, the Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice (soon to have a presence on the web). He can be reached at fred@plebesite.com

 

 

More articles by:

Fred Gardner is the managing editor of O’Shaughnessy’s. He can be reached at fred@plebesite.com

July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS class struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail