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Throughout many areas of the United States a small, slender plant can be found growing in the wild. It is commonly referred to as hemp. Hemp is a plant that comes from the Cannabis sativa family. Hemp looks strikingly similar to marijuana and can very easily be mistaken for it, but these two plants are far from being the same. The major difference between the two is that hemp contains no chemicals that produce the same euphoric effect produced by marijuana. The plants growing in the wild are the descendants of those that at one time were grown in abundance on many farms. For generations hemp has been grown, cultivated and processed into many useful products in the United States. The uses for hemp were numerous and the profit from this crop was higher then that of most other cash crops. Today, in the United States growing hemp is illegal in almost every state. The possibility of reintroducing hemp cultivation in the United States is something that is now being debated in several state legislatures and in the United States Congress. There is a rather large movement pushing for the repeal of laws that prevent this crop from being grown.
Hemp cultivation cannot and should not be reintroduced in the United States. Hemp may have served a useful purpose in the past, but there is no place for it in today's society. Two major problems will arise from the cultivation of this plant. Law enforcement agencies will struggle to fight drug trafficking. Because fields of marijuana and hemp are almost completely indistinguishable, measures would have to be taken to protect the rights of those practicing hemp cultivation. This would slow down the efforts of those whose job it is to thwart domestic growth of the illegal drug. Also, allowing hemp cultivation would open a large market for hemp to be used in cooking products and foods. This would cause major problems for employers, in that drug testing would be rendered useless because hemp contains trace amounts of the psychoactive element found in marijuana. With these two major concerns, there is only one way to deal with the issue. The federal government should ban hemp cultivation until bio-engineering can be used to eliminate the presence of these psychoactive elements, and alter the appearance of the crop so that it may not be mistaken for marijuana.
An incident occurred in October of this past year that illustrates the ongoing battle over the hemp issue. One of Canada's leading weekly magazines, Macleans, published an article that described an incident that occurred in Detroit. A rather large shipment of birdseed was seized by U.S. Customs officials. The reason for this action was that the seeds were industrial hemp seeds and did contain trace amounts of tetrahydrocanabinol (THC). This is the chemical that produces the euphoric "high" for marijuana smokers (Clark 86).
In this case, the THC content was 0.0014%. Marijuana contains anywhere between 4 to 20%. 0.0014% is a small amount, too small to have any narcotic or psychoactive value, but a spokesperson for the DEA made the point that these seeds could be used to produce foods that, when consumed, would cause drug tests to show the presence of THC. He raised an interesting question: "What happens to the people who are using hemp oil to cook and THC tur
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
marijuana, THC, Law enforcement agencies,
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