Saturday, February 8, 2014

The View From My BACK Porch

The neat thing about having a front and back porch is that when you get tired of the view from one, you can move on to the other.  Recently, I posted The View From My Front Porch (1/14/2014).  Since then, I followed my nose to the back porch; there was a strange smell in the air.  

That smell is from marijuana.  Currently, weed is legal for public consumption in two states (Washington and Colorado) and legal in 20 for medical purposes.  You can bet that this has the DEA in a tither.  And it rightly should - weed is illegal under federal law.  Can you imagine how frustrated this agency must be when a sitting President states that marijuana is no worse than alcohol.  Add to that, statements made from members of government agencies, past and present, claiming that weed is less harmful than alcohol.  Yes, this is going somewhere.  That "somewhere" is the irony of this whole mess.  

Prior to one day in 1937, marijuana and hemp were a legal commodity.  But before we go further, one point must be made.  Some confusion needs to be undone.  

Industrial hemp (AKA hemp) and medical marijuana (AKA weed) are Not the same thing.  Yes, they are a part of the same genus family, cannabis sativa, but hemp lacks the active cannabinoids that makes weed "medical."  Comparing the two and believing that they are one and the same is like trying to compare a virile berserker to a very de-nutted eunuch.  That said, let's continue.  

The Marijuana Tax Act (MTA) of 1937 made weed and hemp illegal.  There were many motives, varied players, and hands that stirred the pot, that conspired to make this happen (there are many who think that a bit of skulduggery took place).  I discuss this as a small point in my Reluctant Hero Trilogy.  The important point to know is this:  before the MTA of 1937, there were 28 patented medications, made from weed, and proscribed by doctors for a host of problems.  Industrial hemp was farmed, harvested and made into things from heavy rope cabling to clothing.  And the group, the heavy hitter that condemned the MTA of 1937 the most was the AMA, the American Medical Association.  Fast forward to the 21st century.  

Consider all that was said in the previous paragraphs and add these two points:  patent 6630507 and the Farm Bill (Feb. 2014).  You, like me, just might find the irony of all of this stifling.  

The U.S. Farm Bill (Feb.2014) legalizes the growth of Industrial hemp by universities and state agricultural departments within the 20 states that allow medical marijuana.  The purpose?  Research!  That answer I find laughable when you consider that the USA imports millions of dollars or raw hemp products a year.  Hemp is a cash crop that can help family farms and add jobs to the national payroll.  If it was good enough for George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and so many more to plant and harvest in the past and present, why is there a need for research?  I find much of this to be a no-brainer.  Moving on to patent 6630507.  

Patent 6630507 was issued 10/07/2003 to the Department of Health and Human Services, representing the USA (in this case, the body/entity applying for the patent).  The patent is for a hybrid cannabis sativa, marijuana, AKA weed plant.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The folks employed to make the patent happen all have their MD's and/or PhD's.  Their patent data reports tell of all the great stuff about the plant, how it can help humanity in a multitude of ways (remember, we had 28 patented medications before the MTA, these guys went deeper with proposed uses).  Imagine that, from something that can be grown as a simple plant.  Well, all of this was known before the MTA of 1937.  Then we have about 5,000 years of historical data.  Obviously, all of this does create a dilemma for government.  

There will be people, who after reading this post, will think that I am some kind of pot-head.  So sorry to disappoint you, I am not.  When Elliot Ness, of the FBI's "Untouchables" fame was asked what he would do once Prohibition was repealed, he had a simple reply.  Ness said that he would walk into a saloon and have a drink or two, like any other American.  But as long as Prohibition was in effect, he would not partake.  In a way, I am like Ness.  I can see the irony but will not partake.  It's time for me to grab another PBR and move to the front porch.  

Anyone can google .... the uses for hemp and patent 6630507.  Check it out for yourself.  

                                                   Copyright @2014 Terry Unger        


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