Audio of Speech delivered by Erik Hunter at MassCann Rally 6/7/2017 (mp4)
Text of Speech
My Name is Erik Hunter from Cape Cod Hemp. Back in February 2012, I was approached by a small group of individuals who were in the process of submitting a hemp legalization bill in Colorado. The purpose of the bill was to permit hemp to be grown for research purposes and undo 75 years of unjust laws prohibiting the cultivation of America’s most important crop. I was initially hesitant to testify in front of the House Local Affairs Committee, because a similar proposal in 1995 had attracted the attention of the DEA, which threatened felony charges for anyone involved with hemp cultivation. DEA agent Philip Perry said “its passage would send a harmful and dysfunctional message to the people of the State of Colorado The people of Colorado deserve to be protected from this sort of subterfuge” .
At the last minute, I decided to testify in favor of the bill. To my surprise, the representatives on the committee voted unanimously to approve the bill and sent it to the next committee. By July, the hemp bill had become law. Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to speak up and stand up to career bureaucrats.
That experience convinced me that the ‘war on hemp’ was a house of cards that was waiting to be blown over. It’s a slick advertising campaign that relies heavily on the notion that citizens won’t question the underlying assumptions. No one from the DEA or Drug Czar’s office had ever come up with a SINGLE case where anyone was harmed by industrial hemp; yet they treat it like a capital crime. In the year 2000, the Drug Czar, Barry McCaffrey, claimed that "The federal government is concerned that hemp cultivation may be a stalking-horse for the legalization of marijuana,”. Read between the lines of that statement and it is obvious that the drug czar’s main goal is to outlaw an IDEA, rather than just a plant.
The main objection by the drug war industrial complex to hemp agriculture seems to be that they don’t want their authority to be questioned. How many times have we heard to the phrase that “legalizing hemp sends the wrong message to the children”? Newsflash…the ‘children’ are already aware that hemp is not a drug.
In 1999, the DEA took their war on hemp one step further and declared possession of sterile hempseeds a FELONY because hemp food products ‘caused THC to enter the body’. One hundred and fifteen thousand hemp activists like you sent messages to the DEA in opposition to the hemp ban. David Bronner and the Hemp Industries Association filed a lawsuit challenging the ‘interpretive rule” and after 2 ½ years, the ban was struck down by the 9th circuit court.
Fast forward to 2017. We now have 14 states that allow commercial production of hemp and 7 additional states that permit hemp to be grown for research purposes. Another 9 states permit CBD hemp extract. In addition, the 2014 federal farm bill allows hemp to be cultivated if it is authorized by a state department of agriculture or institution of higher learning. All of these developments represent real progress, but we shouldn’t abandon the ultimate goal of allowing hemp to be grown by anyone, anywhere with no more restrictions than we currently impose on other crops such as corn and wheat.
Hemp is a superior food product because it contains all 20 known amino acids and perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 essential fatty acids.
One myth that has been perpetuated by the DEA has been that hemp is ‘unprofitable to grow’. Canadian farmers have been making a profit of $250 per acre by growing hemp for oilseed. By comparison, soybeans yield a profit of $70 per acre and wheat yields a profit of $170 per acre. Hemp can be used in 25,000 different products, including bioplastics, clothing, paper, and building materials. In addition, hemp is one of the few row crops that can outgrow and crowd out noxious weeds.
We must ensure that our elected officials understand that ‘we the people’ want hemp to be grown here in the U.S. and not just abroad. I encourage you to contact you elected officials and support groups like the MassCann, Norml, The Hemp Industries Association, Vote Hemp, and The National Hemp Association.
D.A.R.E. to think for yourself!