Harry Browne: Government is Good at One Thing

Harry Browne

“Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, ‘See, if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.’” ~ Harry Browne

Harry Browne, former presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party, is one of the more quotable figures to come directly out of the liberty movement in the past several decades. Listen to this brilliant man dismantle conventional wisdom about government and the economy:

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George Washington: Banish the Plague of War

George Washington

“My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.” ~ George Washington

Many of the Founders carried strong antiwar sentiments, particularly after enduring the long and brutal Revolutionary War. This is not to say that Washington, Adams, or Jefferson had perfect presidencies that avoided war; far from it. However, principle is something that goes beyond humanity. Every human is fallible, but principle is something to uphold and respect. Those who founded the United States, like it or not, were largely antiwar and structured the Constitution in a way that they felt would limit war (particularly from the Executive Branch) and avoid conquest. It often was a different story once those individuals gained power (such is the nature of government), but the principles behind the Constitution were indeed extraordinary and revolutionary.

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Ron Paul: “Hemp is a Good Product”

Ron Paul

“There is no reason, in a free society, that farmers shouldn’t be allowed to raise hemp. Hemp is a good product.” ~ Ron Paul

Ron Paul

“I can very easily get into the insanity of letting a cancer patient die without allowing them access to medical marijuana and into the insanity of abolishing the right to grow hemp – an industrial product!” ~ Ron Paul

Ron Paul is one of the few representatives in Washington D.C. who has steadfastly defended the right of Americans to freely produce, process, and sell hemp products. Most officials and representatives in government have no clue even about the history of hemp’s criminalization (which goes all the way back to 1937). Hemp used to be grown by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, and other famous and revolutionary heroes in United States history.

It goes to show how effective the government’s campaign against hemp has been. Within 75 years hemp has gone from one of America’s most productive and promising agricultural staples to a misrepresented, misunderstood, and largely unknown plant forbidden from growing in the United States.

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George Washington and Thomas Jefferson: Avid Hemp Connoisseurs

George Washington

“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” ~ George Washington

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both actively grew hemp throughout many years of agricultural endeavors at their treasured Virginia abodes, Mount Vernon and Monticello, respectively. There is little evidence to suggest that either man grew the marijuana strain of cannabis; they likely grew the strain of cannabis commonly referred to today as “industrial hemp,” which has absolutely no use as a psychoactive drug. Washington and Jefferson had multi-acre fields of hemp; the plant’s fibrous qualities were invaluable for making rope, cloth, and other critical and commonplace items of the day.

Thomas Jefferson

“Hemp… is abundantly productive and will grow for ever on the same spot.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson’s journal entries related to hemp can be found on the Monticello website; this particular passage was in his Monticello agricultural journal in 1815.

George Washington exclaimed the above praise for hemp in a letter to the Mount Vernon gardener in 1794.

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Stand Up for the Bill of Rights, Protect Country from Government

Jesse Ventura

“If you want to be patriotic, stand up for the Bill of Rights. Because once they strip the rights from you, you will pay hell to get them back.” ~ Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura vehemently pushes people in the U.S. to stand up for the Bill of Rights. Thomas Paine, one of my favorite scholars and revolutionaries from the American Revolution era, steadfastly builds upon Jesse’s urging to the American people and the world as a whole.

Thomas Paine

“The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.” ~ Thomas Paine

Jesse Ventura recently endorsed Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party candidate) for President:

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The Tragic History of Hemp, and Why It Must Be Decriminalized

Perhaps one of the greatest economic and societal damages to come about through cannabis prohibition is the inability for American entrepreneurs to utilize a highly efficient cultivar of Cannabis sativa, commonly known as “industrial hemp.” During Harry Anslinger’s anti-cannabis campaign in the 1930s, hemp was lumped in and defined under the general cannabis species in federal law. Therefore, the production, transportation, and distribution of industrial hemp are federal felonies under current U.S. law.

The main ingredient in marijuana that provides the “high” psychoactive phenomena is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The marijuana strain of Cannabis has a THC level between 3% and 15%, while industrial hemp holds a THC of less than 1%; since 1990 industrial hemp carries THC at levels lower than 0.3%. Some countries, such as Canada, have lightly decriminalized hemp, but still maintain very tight control over the production and distribution of hemp through vigorous and expensive licensing processes, limitations on total hemp production, and other governmental inspection procedures.

The USDA was not off-base when it stated “hemp production was profitable only at the higher end of estimated yields and prices.” With hemp tightly regulated and controlled by government agencies, entrepreneurs are limited in how much money they can safely invest into a hemp venture over a long-term period. Thus, consumers today are limited to choosing from relatively low-capital hemp products such as hempseed energy bars, hemp milk, and hemp shirts.

A fascinating exploration into the possibilities of hemp can be seen in two issues of Popular Mechanics in 1938 and 1941. An interesting side note is that these issues, which contain extensive praise for the possibilities of hemp production, were written after cannabis was already criminalized in 1937 with The Marihuana Tax Act. It says a lot about the secrecy and underhanded manner in which cannabis was criminalized in the U.S., given the fact that Popular Mechanics was still singing the praises of hemp a year after the plant had already been criminalized under federal law.

The articles speak as if the connection between hemp and marijuana was still being debated, when it had in fact been codified in federal law in 1937. Popular Mechanics confidently proclaims “hemp will produce every grade of paper and government figures estimate that 10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average pulp land.”

Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody “hurds” remaining after the fiber has been removed contain more than 77 percent cellulose, which can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane. ~ Popular Mechanics, 1938

The article concludes, “If federal regulations can be drawn to protect the public without preventing the legitimate culture of hemp, this vast new crop can add immeasurably to American agriculture and industry.” Little did they know it was already too late; all cannabis forms were illegal, even those (such as hemp) without any psychoactive qualities.

In 1941, Popular Mechanics featured another article on the benefits of hemp, this time focusing on the research of Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company. Today, it is little-known history that the Ford Motor Company developed a plastic car with a frame produced from “a mixture of farm crops and synthetic chemicals,” with the windshield and windows also made from plastic; the car’s weight totaled 2,000 pounds (compared to 3,000 pounds for a steel car of the same size).

Henry Ford spent 12 years researching this plastic car, and in 1941 finally unveiled the plastic car with its outer panels coming from a “recipe that calls for 70 percent of cellulose fibers from wheat straw, hemp and sisal plus 30 percent resin binder.” “Manufactures are already talking of a low-priced plastic car to test the public’s taste by 1943,” the article states. Henry Ford is quoted saying that he one day hopes to “grow automobiles from the soil.”

Hemp, in addition to containing very low amounts of THC, contains the chemical cannabidol (CBD) which blocks the high from marijuana. Dr. David West says hemp could be called the “anti-marijuana.” Moreover, the THC level in marijuana is lowered when hemp and marijuana plants naturally cross-pollinate. However, in 2001, the DEA issued a report stating that “existence of THC in hemp is significant because THC, like marijuana, is a schedule I controlled substance.” Under federal law, possession and consumption of any schedule I substance is strictly prohibited, limiting hemp products that can be legally sold in the U.S. to those that present no possibility of someone ingesting THC. Of course, if you are unsure whether a hemp product you just bought has THC, the DEA says “if you wish to err on the side of caution, you may freely dispose of the product.”

The potency of marijuana THC more than doubled to 9.6% between 1983 and 2007. Rarely, if ever, is it mentioned that this may be due to the fact that hemp and marijuana are restricted from cross-pollinating with one another, which would effectively limit the THC potency in marijuana. Hemp acts as a natural buffer to marijuana’s THC potency, and government laws preventing the production and natural growth of hemp may very well be one of the reasons why marijuana gives a much stronger psychoactive effect today than it did thirty years ago.

Certainly one of the primary factors for the increase in THC potency is because, over time, growers will select and breed marijuana plants that yield higher THC levels (just as farmers will breed tomato plants that yield the juiciest tomatoes or favor chickens that lay the biggest eggs). However, this does not change the fact that the cross-pollination of hemp and marijuana would naturally limit the ability of marijuana growers to increase the THC levels in their plants. This cross-pollination process, as well as the many other benefits of hemp, is good cause to support the decriminalization of cannabis.

The economic possibilities of hemp production alone provide solid ground for adjusting federal policy to remove all restrictions on the production of industrial hemp, as Congressmen Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) proposed in 2009 with H.R. 1866, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009.”

Society as a whole will benefit tremendously from the reintroduction of hemp. During the 1800s, the Commonwealth of Kentucky grew more than one-half of all the commercial hemp produced in the United States. Hemp was a key crop in Kentucky and the Appalachian region up until the time the crop was outlawed by the federal government in 1937. Decriminalizing cannabis would provide thousands of new jobs in hemp cultivation overnight, giving farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs the opportunity to utilize the known (and yet undiscovered) benefits of hemp.

One can only estimate the future economic impact of hemp that would come with decriminalization, but it is not a decision that requires extensive pondering. There is no possibility of getting high from hemp, hemp lowers the THC levels in marijuana, and the plant has thousands of uses that would benefit society in numerous ways. The criminalization of cannabis has brought society many negative unintended consequences, but those consequences could easily be reversed with the timely and swift repeal of all governmental laws restricting cannabis production, transportation, and distribution.

Excerpted from The Clear Benefits of Decriminalizing Marijuana

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Joel Salatin: Opt Out En Masse

“We ask for too much salvation by legislation. All we need to do is empower individuals with the right philosophy and the right information to opt out en masse.” ~ Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin is recognized around the world as one of the leading voices for a return to common sense, earth-friendly farming. I had the opportunity to visit Salatin’s “Polyface Farm” this past March and walk around his beautiful land in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Salatin’s books are fun reads and full of provoking and practical thoughts for farmers and non-farmers alike. If you are interested in localism, sustainable farming, and realistic ideas to become self-sufficient in a practical manner, there is no better place to start than with Joel Salatin’s work.

Joel Salatin endorsed Ron Paul for President in 2008 and 2012.

My uncle, Robert, interacting with the pigs at Polyface Farm.

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Gary Johnson: Let’s Stop Being Sheep

“How is it that we line up like sheep at the airport and let the government grope us in ways that would get anybody else in the country fired or arrested? I say enough is enough. Let’s stop being sheep.” ~ Gary Johnson

Barring a miracle at the Republican Convention in Florida this August, Gary Johnson will be the only antiwar presidential candidate who dares challenge the status quo (including the TSA’s invasive and unconstitutional “security” practices). Learn more at GaryJohnson2012.com.

Jesse Ventura endorsed Gary Johnson earlier this week on CNN:

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Thomas Jefferson: I Abhor War

“I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Why is it that we rarely learn of Jefferson’s staunch antiwar positions?

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Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson “On Board” with Industrial Hemp

Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson

Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson came to Berea College today and spoke to our entrepreneurship class. I took the opportunity to inform him about industrial hemp and why it should be immediately decriminalized (before hemp was criminalized in 1937, it was the number 2 crop grown in Kentucky behind Tobacco, and Kentucky grew more hemp than any other state).

When I first asked the question I was hounded by just about everyone in the room for being “that California kid who just knows a lot about dope.” I took the time to explain the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp, and how industrial hemp could immediately add thousands of sustainable jobs to the Kentucky economy overnight upon being decriminalized.

Abramson had never heard of the hemp issue before, but said he was “on board” and would bring it up to people at the State Capitol in Frankfort. He agreed that, at the very least, advocacy about hemp could be made. I added that if Kentucky wanted to go a step further, the state could essentially nullify the federal legal definition of hemp (which lumps marijuana and hemp together as “Cannabis,” when they are in fact separate species within the same family) as Oregon has already done in the past several years.

I told Abramson that this is what he will hear when he brings up hemp to his advisers in Frankfort: “Hemp is related to marijuana, and if it is legalized marijuana growers can and will hide their marijuana plants in hemp fields.” Of course, this reasoning is absolutely bogus because when hemp and marijuana cross-pollinate, as they do naturally, marijuana’s THC level (the chemical that gets you high) decreases.

That’s right, the potency of marijuana decreases if it is surrounded by hemp. Only boneheaded marijuana growers would even consider growing marijuana near hemp, because the quality of their pot would quickly go down the tubes. In fact, the single most effective action the government could take to weaken marijuana would be to immediately rescind anti-hemp laws and allow the growth of industrial hemp.

Click here to learn more about the criminalization history of hemp.

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