Oregon: Freedom VS Prohibition - The upside of pot (PRO)
By Patrick Emerson, Clackamas Print
The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act Initiative (OCTA) is here again in 2012 with more support than ever. According to gallup.com, half, yes, HALF of all Americans they polled last year are in favor of the legalization of marijuana. Proponents of OCTA, Initiative 9, are busy gathering the 82,213 signatures needed to place the decision in the hands of Oregon voters this November and set a precedent for the legalization of marijuana for states across the country. With enough signatures, citizens of Oregon will once again have their chance to reap the potential statewide benefits of legal cannabis and hemp this November.
The flowers or buds of the female plants have properties that are very well known to most and valued highly by others. But what about its other properties? There was a time before prohibition when presidents grew hemp for fiber and food on the White House property. There was a time when hemp clothing was very popular amongst the upper class because of its strength and longevity. In the recent past, we have also discovered that hemp can be grown for the production of nutritious foods and biodiesel.
According to the USDA hemp can produce four times the paper per acre that trees and is less caustic to manufacture. BMW is using hemp in the manufacture of some of its cars with the goal of making its cars more recyclable. Biodiesel, health and beauty products, wood replacement and other construction materials for concrete reinforcement and even plastic are some of the uses that have been found for hemp.
A Google search of "hemp" will open a Pandora's Box of products and possibilities of this potential "wonder" plant. To get a better perspective, Paul Stanford, founder of the Hemp and Cannabis Foundation established in 1999 and host of Cannabis Common Sense (Portland Public Access Television, channel 11, Fridays at 8 p.m.) Stanford believes we need to change the law that is already in place regarding medical marijuana, because he believes it's not working.
"People are still going to jail," said Stanford. "Cannabis is one of the greatest gifts. Our future's in jeopardy if prohibition continues."
One of the biggest impacts that legalization of marijuana would create is an entire new crop for farmers. The vast array of products that industrial hemp can be used for is tremendous. The options in fuels such as, biodiesel and heating oils are huge. Nutritious food products like cooking oils and organic fillers and fibers for the use in making fabrics, paper, plastics, concrete and other building materials are just a few of the uses that Stanford talked about. Farmers would have a profitable and sustainable crop to produce and sell. The OCTA initiative could be a solution and the salvation of our struggling state's economy.