Own your ow legal marijuana business
Your guide to making money in the multi-billion dollar marijuana industry
The Drug Legalization Debate

Myths and Misconceptions of Drug Legalization: US Dept. of Justice

Chapter Ten: Environmental Issues and the Legalization of Drugs


I. Their Argument

Some extremists in the drug legalization debate suggest that we should legalize hemp - the plant from which we get marijuana - because hemp could be used as fiber to make clothing, alternatives to lumber, paper products, and the like.

II. Our Argument

Some of the arguments of the legalizers are at least plausible (plausible, but wrong). This is not one of them. The argument that we should grow hemp for fiber is completely absurd. First, if hemp is such a good all-purpose fiber, why isn't any country in the world seriously growing it? Second, there was a time in the U.S. when it was legal to grow hemp (before 1937), and no one did. By 1937, so few people chose to grow hemp that it wasn't even mentioned in Department of Agriculture or Department of Commerce reports.154 If it is such a good idea, why didn't anyone do it when they could have?

Finally, assume (although this assumption is contradicted by history) that hemp could provide all of the environmental benefits that the legalizers claim. These benefits would still have to be weighed against the costs of allowing farmers to grow thousands, if not millions, of acres of marijuana. It would be impossible to have a policy that allowed the legal sale of hemp for fiber but not for smoking, for one simply could not enforce it. (By comparison, think of how plausible a policy would be that said farmers could grow wheat to make bread but not to make biscuits). Thus, in order to get the supposed benefits of "hemp as fiber," you would also have to allow people to use it as marijuana. But when we recall all of the harms associated with marijuana use - medical problems, lost productivity, increased accidents, increased crime, etc. - we find that even granting the supposed benefits of "hemp as fiber," these benefits are still outweighed by the negative consequences of such a policy.

Thus, the "hemp as fiber" argument is disproved by both history and the fact that no other countries are seriously considering it as an option. But even granting the legalizers arguments here, the costs of such a policy still would clearly outweigh the benefits.

154 For proof of this fact the reader is invited to scan any Agriculture or Commerce reports from 1916 to 1937.

Chapter Ten Summary Sheet: Environmental Issues and the Legalization of Drugs

It they say...

We should grow hemp and use it as fiber, thus achieving environmental benefits.

Then you say...

When farmers could do this in the early twentieth century in the U.S., no one did. [Reports of the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, 1916-1937.]

If it is such a good idea, why aren't any other countries in the world doing it now?

Even if we granted the supposed benefits of "hemp as fiber," (which we should not), the costs of such a program would still clearly outweigh the benefits.

Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet

DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | The Drug Legalization Debate


Library Highlights

Drug Information Articles

Drug Rehab