Legalise pot now
Last weekend’s MardiGrass festival proved once again that Nimbin is a truly progressive township.
It’s willing to hold on to its ideals despite society’s scorn, and that makes it a leader in any place and time.
Hemp should not only compete with the fuel, plastics, cotton and paper industries, but be allowed as a food. Currently Australia and New Zealand are the only countries that don’t allow this, according to local hemp-fibre advocate Paul Benhaim.
He says the Australian governing body that decides the fate of foodstuffs, FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand), will submit its final report in December on hemp seed to the ministerial COAG committee. More on this can be found at www.hempfoods.com.au.
Through long-term strategic PR campaigns, the mainstream has been led to believe that pot is a gateway drug. It’s not; it’s more of a drive-through drug that leads to french fries and sugar-coated doughnuts.
There are no recorded deaths from dope smoking, though hydroponic pot is well known to be a shitty synthesis of what is a naturally occurring psychoactive element. Marijuana grown under lights with chemicals can potentially cause a higher level of psychosis and hospitals unfortunately have to cope with ‘hydro’ wards. The recent hydroponic bust in Ewingsdale has the full support of The Echo. Hydro dope is dangerous, is costly to our health system and has no benefit whatsoever.
US publication The Lowdown (www.hightowerlowdown.org) examines such topics and provides a much-needed alternative perspective to the US corporate/political agenda.
Every month, the publication examines a different subject in detail; in November 2009 it was the war on drugs. It reads in part, ‘In 1914, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst mounted a yellow- journalism crusade to demonise the entire genus of cannabis plants. Why? To sell newspapers, of course, but also because he was heavily invested in wood-pulp newsprint, and he wanted to shut down competition from paper made from hemp – a species of cannabis that is a distant cousin to marijuana but produces no high.’
The Lowdown says US president FDR signed federal prohibition laws on August 2, 1937 which remain in effect today. The article adds, ‘It’s not widely publicised by the US agriculture department, but marijuana is America’s largest cash crop – topping the value of corn and wheat combined. A 2005 analysis by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron found that legalisation would generate $7.7 billion a year in enforcement savings for local, state, and federal taxpayers, while producing annual tax revenues of $6.2 billion.’
Not many Australian politicians have the balls for this kind of reform.
Thankfully Texas native Jim Hightower from the The Lowdown will be talking about such issues with Kerry O’Brien at the Byron Community Centre on Wednesday May 16.