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The societal costs of propagandizing against marijuana and marijuana law reform, funding anti-marijuana 'science', interdicting marijuana, eradicating domestically grown marijuana and industrial hemp, law enforcement, prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana smokers costs U.S. taxpayers in excess of $12 billion annually.
Don't we have better things to spend that $12 billion tracking sex offenders, and arresting violent criminals? Why are we paroling violent criminals and thieves out of overcrowded prisons to make room for more marijuana users?

What a complete and utter waste of public funds. Gee, I feel so much safer that marijuana smokers are behind bars....forget about all the rapists, murderers, and thieves

Originally Posted by Jimmy Carter
Penalties against a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use. The National Commission on Marijuana and Abuse concluded years ago that marijuana use should be decriminalized, and I believe it is time to implement those basic recommendations.

Therefore, I support legislation amending federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.

Our schools are suffering, our country is in debt, and yet we prosecute a valuable revenue source? What sense does that make?
We shall estimate the size of the commercial cannabis market by posing two price scenarios. (1) Given a $.50 excise tax and a minimum price of $1 per joint, we will assume that home growing absorbs 20% of consumption (that is, one-third of the consumption of multiple daily smokers), leaving a commercial demand of 12 - 24 million joints per day. This works out to about $2.2 to $4.4 billion per year in tax revenues. (2) Given a $1 excise tax and a price over $2 per joint, we assume commercial consumption would be cut by 40% to 9 - 18 million joints, yielding $3.2 to $6.4 billion per year. We conclude that revenues from cannabis excise taxes might range from $2.2 to $6.4 billion per year. This is comparable to the revenues currently raised through the federal tax on alcohol ($8 billion) and cigarettes ($5 billion).
By comparison, in the Netherlands, a nation of 15 million people, total domestic sales of soft drugs have been estimated at under 1 billion guilder, or $500 million.22 Extrapolating this to the U.S. population, one arrives at total retail sales of about $8 billion. If one-half of this went to taxes, one would get $4 billion per year.
Similarly, in Bengal, with a population of 50 million, the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission reported total tax revenues from ganja of 24 million rupees in the year 1892-3, or about $10 million (1892 dollars).23 Extrapolated fivefold to the current U.S. population, this would work out to $700 million in 1992 currency. The tax on ganja was about 8 rupees per kilo in Bengal, or just $.04 per joint in current dollars.24 Were the tax increased tenfold to the level we have proposed, revenues would presumably increase to $7 billion, minus a substantial amount due to decreased demand from higher prices.
In addition to excise taxes, states could impose sales taxes on cannabis. Unlike excise taxes, sales taxes would be proportional to final retail price, including the added markup for premium brands. Just like alcohol, it can be expected that marijuana would often be sold for substantially more than its minimum price: in a hotel bar, a good sinsemilla joint might well go for $5. Assuming average retail prices of $ 1.50 - $2.50 per joint, and sales taxes between 4% and 6%, the total revenues raised might range from $200 million to $1.3 billion.

Finally, the legalization of cannabis would also permit the agriculture of hemp, a versatile source of fiber, protein, biomass and oil, which was once one of Americaís top crops. Hemp production might well rival that of other leading crops such as cotton or soy beans, which are currently on the order of $ 6 - 10 billion per year.

On the other side of the ledger, legalization would save the considerable economic and social costs of the current criminal prohibition system. Current federal drug enforcement programs run at $13 billion per year. State and local programs are probably of similar or greater magnitude: in California, the Legislative Analystís Office estimated the cost of state drug enforcement programs at around $640 million per year in 1989-90, plus perhaps twice as much more in local expenditures.26 A sizable chunk of these costs involve cannabis, which accounts for 30% of drug arrests nationwide. Legalization of cannabis would also divert demand from other drugs, resulting in further savings. If legalization reduced current narcotics enforcement costs by one-third to one-fourth, it might save $6 - $9 billion per year.
The economic benefits of marijuana legalization are summarized in Table 2. The total direct savings to government in taxes and enforcement come to some $8 - $16 billion per year. These figures are somewhat lower than those sometimes bandied about in public discourse, as both legalizers and prohibitionists have a tendency to make consumption estimates that are in our opinion inflated. Nonetheless, the benefits of legalization seem both substantial and undeniable, and deserve to be taken seriously.
This is just the economic benefit as calculated by current rates of usage. Imagine what the potential revenue from cannabis could be if the illegality and stigma were removed. Imagine what potential revenue could be gained by an expanding hemp industry.
Cannabis Hemp really can provide all the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, clothing and medicine. It has been said that "anything made from a hydrocarbon can be made from a carbohydrate." Hemp is the cousin of marijuana. They are from the same plant -Cannabis sativa L. There are over 1,000 strains of Cannabis Hemp bred for various uses. The term, "Hemp" refers to the industrial use of the stalk and seed. Cannabis or "marijuana" refers to the smoking or ingesting of the flowers and leaves.

Psychoactivity requires high levels of THC -TetraHydraCannibinol. Cannabis contains 5%-10% THC. Industrial hemp contains only .3%-1.5% THC, yet has a higher concentration of Cannabidiol, or CBD, which maintains an inverse relationship with THC and tends to moderate its effects.

The plant itself is easy to grow in temperate as well as tropical climates, and requires the usual amount of fertilizer and water, but no pesticides nor herbicides. A hemp crop is usually harvested in 100-120 days after reaching a height of 4-15 feet, depending on the variety. At that point one can make it into whatever suits their needs.

The hempseed is the only source of food from the hemp plant. It is not really a seed, but an achene -a nut covered with a hard shell. Hempseed is used for people and animal food, and industrial use. Whole hempseeds imported to the United States or Canada must be sterilized to prevent sprouting. This is not the case in Europe where fresh seeds are used. Shelled hempseeds are the latest technological advance.

Whole Seed
The whole seed contains roughly 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 15% insoluble fiber, Carotene, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, as well as vitamins E, C, B1, B2, B3, B6. Hempseed is one of the best source of Essential Fatty Acids with a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid, good for strengthening the immune system. It is also a source of Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA) which is otherwise available only from specialty oils like evening primrose oil or borage oils. Whole seeds are made into: snack bars, cookies, and porridge, or they may be roasted and consumed alone or in a trail mix, or brewed with coffee or beer. Wild and domestic birds love hempseeds too.

Shelled Seed
Removing the outer coating of the hempseed produces a wonderful nut that is being used in many different food applications, including snack bars, cookies, nutbutter, chips, pasta, tortillas, and hummus. The flavor is nutty and can be used as a topping on just about anything. It can be roasted with spices or just eaten raw.

Seed Oil
Hempseed is 30% oil, and is low in saturated fats. Hempseed oil is good for lowering cholesterol levels and strengthening cardiovascular systems. The oil has a pleasantly nutty flavor. Among the foods hempseed oil is made into are: sauces, butter, salad dressings, condiments and pesto. Processing of hempseed oil starts with drying the seeds to prevent sprouting. The seeds are then pressed and bottled immediately under oxygen-free conditions. Hempseed oil is fragile and should be kept refrigerated in dark, air tight containers.

Seed Meal and Presscake
The meat of the seed is also highly nutritious and versatile as a seed 'meal" and may be made into hemp milk and cheese, non-dairy ice cream, burgers, and anything else one might conceive of. Left over from pressing the oil is the 'presscake" -high in amino acids, which can be crushed for animal feed or pulverized for flour to make breads, pastas or pancakes.

Throughout history, hemp has provided a nourishing food supply to many cultures around the world. In Asia, roasted hempseed is eaten as a snack, like popcorn. In Russia, hemp butter was used as a condiment by the peasant folk. In Poland, seeds are used for holiday sweets. Hempseed was eaten by Australians during two famines in the nineteenth century. The most famous hempseed consumer is Buddha himself, who ate them during his fast of enlightenment.

Body Care
One of the fastest growing market sectors for hempseed oil is body care products. The phenomenal essential fatty acid content of hemp oil makes it ideal as a topical ingredient in both leave-on and rinse-off bodycare products. The EFA's help soothe and restore skin in lotions and creams, and give excellent emolliency and smooth after-feel to lotions, lipbalms, conditioners, shampoos, soaps and shaving products.

Non Food Uses:
Other non-food uses for hempseed oil are: lamp lighting, printing, lubrication, and household detergents, stain removers, varnishes, resins and paints. In this area, hempseed oil is similar to linseed oil.

One of the most valuable parts of the hemp plant is the fiber, commonly referred to as "bast," meaning that it grows as a stalk from the ground. Other fibers such as sisal, manila hemp and jute are mistakenly referred to as hemp, yet only Cannabis sativa is considered "true hemp." Among the characteristics of hemp fiber are its superior strength and durability, and its resistance to rot, attributes that made hemp integral to the shipping industry. The strong, woody bast fiber is extracted from the stalk by a process known as decortication. Hemp fiber contains a low amount of lignin, the organic glue that binds plant cells, which allows for environmentally friendly bleaching without the use of chlorine. In composite form, hemp is twice as strong as wood. All products made with hemp fiber are biodegradable.

Long Fiber
Extracted from the bark of the stalk, this type of fiber is called "long" because it stretches the entire length of the plant. The length of the fiber enhances the strength and durability of the finished goods. Hemp can grow to 15 feet or more, making it excellent for textile production. Hemp is most similar to flax, the fiber of linen products. By contrast, cotton fibers are approximately 1-2 cm in length and are prone to faster wear. Hemp fiber also has insulative qualities that allow clothing wearers to stay cool in summer and warm in the winter. It also provides UV protection. Long hemp fiber is used in twine, cordage, textiles, paper, webbing and household goods.

Short Fiber
The short fibers, or 'tow," are the secondary hemp fibers. While not as strong as the long fibers, the tow is still superior to many other fibers. Tow is extracted from the long fibers during a process called 'hackling," a method of combing and separating the fiber from hurd. Short fibers are used to make textiles, non-woven matting, paper, caulking, auto bodies, building materials and household goods.

As long ago as 450 BC the Scythians and Thracians made hemp linens. The Chinese first used hemp for paper making in 100 AD. Hempen sails, caulking and rigging launched a thousand ships during the Age of discovery in the 15th Century. The American Declaration of Independence was drafted, not signed, on hemp paper.

Also known as hurds or shives, the core is the woody material found in the center of the hemp stalk. It is rich in cellulose, a carbohydrate that can be made into paper, packaging and building materials, as well as plastic composites for making skate boards and auto bodies and interior parts such as door panels and luggage racks.

Hemp biomass as a source of fuel is the most under-exploited use of hemp, due to the fact that is economically unfeasible at this time. Hemp stalks can be used in the generation of energy through a process called 'chemurgy" which is a cross between chemicals and energy. The hemp stalk can be converted to a charcoal-like substance through a process called pyrolysis, and used for power generation and to produce industrial feed stocks. Auto giant Henry Ford was a pioneer in the pyrolysis process, and operated a biomass pyrolytic plant at Iron Mountain in Northern Michigan.

Hemp as an auto fuel is another potential use. Almost any biomass material can be converted to create methanol or ethanol, and these fuels burn cleanly with less carbon monoxide and higher octane. In fact, the diesel engine was invented to burn fuel from agricultural waste yet ended up burning unrefined petroleum. Hempseed oil can also be refined to produce a type of hemp biofuel. Woody Harrelson just toured with a diesel bus run on hemp biofuel, and a hempcar is touring this summer, demonstrating the environmental benefits of biofuels.

What reason, other than ignorance and fear, do we have to continue the war against hemp? Why not legalize and commercialize a product which can benefit humanity in so many ways?
Old 08-14-2005, 03:47 AM Kato is offline  
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