Sanders's plan would not automatically make marijuana legal nationwide, but states would be allowed to regulate the drug in the same way that state and local laws now govern sales of alcohol and tobacco. And people who use marijuana in states that legalize it would no longer be at risk of federal prosecution.
His plan would also allow marijuana businesses currently operating in states that have legalized it to use banking services and apply for tax deductions that are currently unavailable to them under federal law.
I am sure a lot of people are talking about this because of several reasons, Marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco, lots of people especially minorities are doing time in prison for non-violent offenses related to Marijuana use, and as evidenced by the multiple thousands of people who have moved to my state of Colorado to seek Medical and now Recreational Marijuana, its a big deal.
However there is something profoundly revolutionary about this -- by providing a way for Marijuana's non-intoxicating cousin Hemp to be a legal product for its various uses, from paper, to clothes, biofuel, food and especially reducing our carbon by CO2 absorption.
Hemp cultivation and production do not harm the environment. The USDA Bulletin #404 concluded that hemp produces four times as much pulp with at least four to seven times less pollution. (Popular Mechanics, Feb. 1938).
Consider a few more facts about hemp:
• Hemp does not require herbicides or pesticides.
• Hemp can be grown in a wide range of latitudes and altitudes.
• Hemp replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen, making it an excellent rotational crop.
• Hemp controls erosion of the topsoil.
• Hemp converts CO2 to oxygen better than trees.
• Hemp produces more oil than any other crop, which can be used for food, fuel, lubricants, soaps, etc.
• Hemp nut is a very healthy food, being the highest protein crop (after soybean) and high in omega oils.
• Hemp can be used for making plastics, including car parts.
• Hemp makes paper more efficiently and ecologically than wood, requiring no chemical glues.
• Hemp can be used to make fiberboard.
• Hemp can be used to make paint.
• Hemp can produce bio-fuel and ethanol (better than corn).
• Hemp can be grown more than once per year.
• Hemp fibers can make very strong rope and textiles.
Of all the reasons for Corporations to make weed 'scary' from conspiracy theories that I have heard, DuPont wanted to make synthetic Nylon replace Hemp rope, to Wood Pulp companies wanted to do away with their competitor Hemp paper (which apparently our Constitution was written on), the most obvious might be Big Oil
Consider this evidence:
14) Henry Ford's first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed from hemp! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, 'grown from the soil,' had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel. (Popular Mechanics, 1941.)
15) In 1938, hemp was called 'Billion Dollar Crop.' It was the first time a cash crop had a business potential to exceed a billion dollars. (Popular Mechanics, Feb. 1938.)
16) Mechanical Engineering Magazine (Feb. 1938) published an article entitled 'The Most Profitable and Desirable Crop that Can be Grown.' It stated that if hemp was cultivated using 20th-century technology, it would be the single largest agricultural crop in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
The well known 'Reefer Madness' propaganda movie released in 1936 was integral to reducing the Billion dollar hemp industry to Zero, and Fossil Fuel Oil stepped in and became the polluting Trillion dollar industry.
One of my fellow musicians that I got to know this past year at our 420 performance, wrote a song which celebrates this issue
But surely if it was mass-produced, this one drawback could be overcome and its many benefits as an efficient biofuel could be harnessed.
As far as research and implementation of hemp for biofuel, the US is way ahead of Europe and there are a range of websites dedicated to the use of hemp as a fuel for cars.
In the UK, companies such as Hemp Global Solutions have been set up very much with climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions in mind, but there is little, if any, research in this country that has looked into the viability of the hemp plant as a fuel for cars.
So why was there not a single mention of this miracle crop, that, in addition to being able to be used as fuel, can also be used as paper, cloth, converted into plastic and is a rich food source containing high levels of protein?
While we environmentally concerned citizens await the mass distribution of affordable electric cars, in the meantime if we were able to cheaply grow and produce Hemp biofuel, then in a few years we could eliminate the need for Fossil Fuel based Diesel.
And unlike fossil fuels, Hemp has many other uses than just a source of fuel, and it eats Carbon Dioxide, rather than produce it.
Bernie Sanders is on to something big, and its not just about the War on Drugs, it's about revolutionizing our Fuel Energy supply.