Someone Tell the Drug Czar That Hemp Isn't a Drug

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The brave drug warriors at ONDCP need so much help. They are just as confused as can be about so many things, but they wear industrial strength earplugs and never go on the internet except to periodically blog about how confused they are. It would be funny if they weren't destroying America.

So anyone who still thinks these people are serious should visit the Drug Czar's blog right away and read his recent post, "Terminated! Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes Pro-Drug Hemp Bill." It is downright delusional; a perfect encapsulation of the thinly-veiled psychosis that festers beneath the skin of the powerful Drug War Experts in Washington D.C.
While drug legalization groups extol hemp as some kind of miracle-plant, many Americans aren’t getting the full story. Industrial hemp and marijuana are not just "related" – they come from the same cannabis sativa plant.

The real agenda of hemp enthusiasts is to legalize smoked marijuana and it is no coincidence that legalizing hemp would complicate efforts to curb the production and use of smoked marijuana by young people.
Now, I could explain that hemp actually is a useful plant. I could propose that a hemp bill can't be "pro-drug" because hemp isn't a drug. I could point out that the farmers who want to grow it don't care about marijuana legalization. I could argue that Americans already know it's a type of marijuana. And I could even prove that you can't grow commercial marijuana anywhere near it due to cross-pollination.

But that would be pointless, because the Drug Czar doesn't care about these things. All he cares about is that marijuana legalization advocates sometimes participate in criticizing U.S. hemp policy, and if those people want hemp, he will burn to the ground every damned stalk until they pry the flamethrower from his shriveled dead hands.

In fact, as a marijuana legalization advocate, I should maybe shut up about this, lest I fuel the Drug Czar's deranged fantasy that people who want to make pants and granola bars are actually part of a diabolical conspiracy to turn California into the world's biggest rehab clinic.
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“…legalizing hemp would complicate efforts to curb the production and use of smoked marijuana by young people.”

Complicate efforts? So now Mr. Walters fears complications?

How complicated is curbing all production and use of marijuana?

While informing the botany-challenged Director Walters that hemp is not a drug, someone should also clue him in to the fact that pursuing the impossible is always crammed with endless complications. When this happens, we say the thing—aka the drug war—doesn’t work.


terrymckinney's picture


Unfortunatly,Mr.Giordano, and his ilk have no interest in truth or science and they certainly don't care about people that break the law,for any reason.Trying to reason with the religious right on drug issues is futile.They simply retreat into biblical text and leave reality at the door.When a man thinks its moral to lock a person away forever for a medical problem but immoral to leave him to his own demons under a physicians care,that man has no morals.Pandering to a political base is base to the max.


Non Sequitur

TM--Your response to my posting is a complete non sequitur. I support drug law reform, including the cultivation of hemp and medical mj. I don't belong to the religious right. I don't pander to the religious right nor deny truth. And I am pro-science. Your posting must have been meant for someone else.


I think he just made a typo.

I think he just made a typo.


sorry about that.I don't know what I was smoking that night but I will admit when i'm wrong and I was wrong.


Just went over the transcript and I wasn't even answering Giordano,I was commenting on the drug czar peice.Sorry for the slip,I guess you must've been pissed?

Re Typo

No problem. I was puzzled, not pissed.


religious right??

Guess what, there are many who don't pander to stupidity, in the religious right. That group has some, who want to bring their judgement to bear on everybody, when they are the ones not supposed to be judging. If alcohol was not striclty prohibited in the Bible, then how in the world can a, much less harmful, drug, be "the demon weed"?


Since it was not clear in the posting I just made. I am a member of the religious right. I don't agree with many of the actions of the , so called, "religious" people. I love the link above, to the interfaith site!! First and only commandment given to the jews and gentiles in the new testament---"love they neighbor as thyself". Sounds like the interfaith group has figured it out!

I don't understand, either, how the guy, above, got the message so screwed up, Giordano! Are you a nasty drug warrior in disguise?!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding! I have read your past posts!

Malkavian's picture

Picking one anecdote often doesn't save the scientific day

Yes, there are perhaps "many" who do not pander to stupidity, and I'm sure we could swap stories all night long. In the end such anecdotes are unimportant compared to the statistical regularies that we can observe.

There is undoubtedly a majority among the very religious that are anti drug. You mention one logical implication from Biblical content, but I shall argue otherwise and show how this religion (Christianity) provides fertile soil for the prohibition idea.

Take that holy Bible and look at the whole mythical misery with the Tree of Knowledge and the fall of man that gave us original sin.

God (the state) has created all and his finest creations are Adam and Eve (citizens).

Adam and Eve are Free (constitutionally) to do what they want ... ehm ... except eating from one very special tree called the Tree of Knowledge. So here we have the first Prohibition in all creation.

Ironically this first prohibition fails miserably because the citizenry rebels against it and chooses to eat that fruit (drugs) anyway. The effects of the fruits are clearly psychedelic and imbues Adam and Eve with the knowledge of the Gods. So the fruit is an entheogen, right?

Contributing to this rebellion is the snake (aka. the pusher) who tempted Adam and Eve to try out the fruit-drug.

And what happens? Well, God (state/police) finds out about Adam and Eve's crime and exacts cruel and unusual punishment. Again a mirror image of today's US judicial system which clearly punishes drug users and sellers extremely harsh compared to the real, observable damage done by the "criminal act" of smoking a joint or popping and Ecstasy pill.

Real observations, EVIDENCE, has no place in Prohibition. It's not about real, observable damages done in the real world. Taking drugs is - and every devout Christian knows this instinctively - a moral and spiritual crime against God himself. We are know supposed to invite spiritual forces into our life by taking entheogen drugs. And then I've not even spoken of the solid tradition in religion that's very much against the physical and sensual nature of drugs. It's simply not debateable that religion in our society is very much against a wide range of pleasures, especially against the pleasures of the flesh.

What of the failure of God's Prohibition? Yet again it is abundantly clear that failure means nothing. ANY approach to a problem that's devised by God himself cannot by definition be wrong. To doubt Prohibition is, logically, to doubt in God. Why, if God wanted us to use harm reduction and stuff like that he'd probably NOT have used prohibition, would he?

So we can nitpick over scripture all day long. What's important is that the framework provided by the Bible and one of the central myths in there guides people's approach to solving this particular problem.

So while the Right is usually for freedom and all those things, they have an equally strong impulse that predisposes them to accept pretty harsh limitations to their freedom, especially when it's some higher agency that imposes such restrains and punishments. It's simply part and parcel of the religious mind-set that some "higher-up thing" can legitimately interfere in the lives of individuals.

Sensual Pleasure and Christianity

To continue with your argument, the amazing and hilarious story of the origins of conservative Christian religious attitudes toward sensual pleasure is really worth mentioning.  It so clearly illustrates the problem of religion’s role in drug enforcement.

The moral garbage about sensual pleasure emerged during the earliest evolutionary period of Christianity.  The dogma, in Latin, is called de contemptus mundi (literally: contempt of flesh); and the taboo of voluptas (sensual pleasure) is its outcome. 

Christianity began as a celibacy cult—the reason for promoting celibacy being that human suffering would be eliminated if there were no more humans that could suffer, and because Jesus was supposedly celibate, etc.  Ancient Christians actually expected humanity to totally die off, whereupon their souls would merrily spend eternity in the promised land.

Things that could lead to sex, like voluptas, were facilitators of procreation, and therefore prohibited along with sex.  Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage between 248-258 C.E., changed the celibacy/procreation debate by claiming that earthly life was a test for the purity of the soul—and thereby achieved a sustained and increasing Church membership through the birthing process.  The priesthood kept the celibacy requirement, but demanded that no Christian could enjoy sex, nor, apparently, much of anything else.

OK, so far, so good—or bad, but there was another problem.  A serious one.

A 2nd century cult of celibate Christians calling themselves the Encratites (from the Greek word enkrateia, meaning continence) decided that alcoholic beverages put people in the mood to have sex, and that alcohol consumption deserved equivalent Christian prohibitions.  For clerics who had already supposedly sworn off sex, eliminating the only sensual pleasure left to them was not taken lightly. 

Philosophers such as Plotinus and Philo of Alexandria rescued the clergy from the Encratites’ interpretation of the taboo of voluptas.  Employing lengthy writings, the desperately clever philosophers promoted the principle of sobria ebrietas (literally: sober intoxication). The arguments maintained that the physical effects of drunkenness were a type of spiritual contemplation.

The advocacy of alcohol prohibition in early Christendom came to an abrupt halt in 381 C.E. when the Church declared the Encratites to be heretics.  The ritual consumption of alcohol within the Church was thereafter refined to assure that the clerics obtained enough spiritual contemplation to meet their needs.  The clergy permitted the fortification of various types of altar wine by adding distilled alcohol to bring what is called licit dry altar wine to a maximum alcohol content of 12-percent (24 proof), and valid altar wine (the good stuff) to an alcohol content limit of 21-percent (42 proof).

The Catholic religion consolidated its rituals and beliefs, and symbolized things like wine consumption in ways that made something other than their use a violation, or an indicia of “the other,” the heretic, the competing religion.  In 396, Christians sacked the Temple of Eleusis, located 26-kilometers northwest of Athens, and ended its ritual use of a psychedelic drink that had for 2000 years inspired the likes of Pindar, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Cicero and Roman emperors such as Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius.  It was the beginning of a long series of drug raids by the Catholic Church and its many progeny religions.

So that’s all the drug war really is, this vast conspiracy against marijuana, et al.; a vestigial remnant of a religion that bit the dust centuries ago.  And we can’t get rid of it because most Christians don’t know, or don’t want to know, the history of their own religion.

More information on the religious history of voluptas can be found in The body and society : men, women, and sexual renunciation in early Christianity / Peter Brown (1988).  The information on wine is from the Catholic Encyclopedia.



Nice history lesson, Giordano. But, the ones here, who prohibit wine, were eventually labeled, truly, as heretics. And a religious sect that wanted celibacy would be self-limiting, would they not? No sex, no kids, no continuation of the nutty people in that gene pool! Except maybe here and there for a few new converts who wanted to have no sex! Sure, I bet they were celibate! I guess they figured out they had to change!

And we have seen the results of celibacy in the Catholic church! I am refferring to the assaults on alter boys and girls!! I guess, maybe, the priests should have had some better sexual release than that!

And as far as modern day Catholicism goes, I know of no prohibitions to alcohol. I guess all things evolve, even Catholicism! But, the real joke is thinking that the members of the Catholic church still think sex is not to be enjoyed. But, I guess that could explain dropping church membership! Most Catholics practice birth control, too! It is forbidden, you know!? That would mean they wer haveing sex because it felt good! How insane that belief, obviously, is!

I don't see this history as affecting reality in the 20th century. You still have nuts that think drug prohibition is good for "the kids" when they are just handing them to the drug dealers on a silver platter! And others who want to NOT practice Christianity by forcing their judgement and beliefs on others. But, not all of us believe that way! But, then again, I thought I was blogging about the drug war and not arguing about my Christian beliefs.

Wisdom of the Ages

Not only the wisdom of the ages, but their insanity, too, breaks out in us.

                                                                                                -- Friedrich Nietzsche

History’s application to religion and its relationship to psychotropic drugs is very relevant to drug law reform, since history’s parallels can illuminate current events; plus there are some religious ideologies or memes that appear to never go away.

It is difficult to tip-toe through the mine field that the subject of religion presents in any discussion of the cultural origins of ongoing social battles.  Most critics understand that there is a wide variation of different beliefs within any single religion itself, the Catholic Church being a prime example.  But I don’t think our language is set up very well to elicit those distinctions in the heat of argument.

Most criticism of religion in America is indeed directed at the extreme religious right.  And not so much because of their beliefs, but because their political activism seeks to impose their beliefs on those who have better things to do.  For example, no one that I know of criticizes the Amish.  One reason is that the Amish know how to mind their own business.

Also, it’s recognized that religious organizations such as the National Council of Churches have advocated decriminalization of marijuana.  But overall I don’t think organized religion looks carefully enough at the harm the drug war does, and I think it is because religion tends to be bound up more in ideology and injecting mythology into a culture as a cure-all as opposed to empirical approaches to social issues that demand positive, visible results.



That is why people like me can really help to counter the disinformation of the religious zealots who add new "rules" to those already established "guidelines" in the Bible. They are twisting the guidelines, that do exist, to support their rediculous reasoning, as well. Sort of like the Feds, and the DEA, telling pain doctors that guidelines and red flags are reason enough, for them, to destroy the doctors' pain management practices (first-hand experience!). Rules and guidelines are very much different. Maybe, the Amish are left alone because they are truely following the guielines they believe in! And, as you said, are not trying to shove them down our (yours and mine), throats! Nice talking with you!

religion and Christianity

The fact is, Christianity is used by "religious" to impose sanctions on many people, as you said. But, who are those doing the imposing. Is it those who really want to practice what I read in my Bible, or a bunch of power hungry people finding one way or another to control others, but abusing those same religions?! We do not need to get into a religious debate here. It is better that the generalizations do not occur and we do not alienate ANY PERSON who would support the thought that the drug laws are nuts.

And since when does anyone get put in jail for "sins of the flesh?" Well, maybe prostitutes. (but not in all states!) My question is, what happened to those women back in the Bible, who were prostitutes? I do not know. But, I have never read any stories about them being punished or killed. Many warnings were given as to what "sins of the flesh" might lead to. (Have any doubts about this. Just go out and have unprotected sex with prostitutes! You will get something!) Yet there are many preachers and priests violating those laws every year! We do not, still, stone adulterers, in my form of Christianity. Jesus pardoned the women caught in adultery, when none of the accusers could admit to being sin free and "casting the first stone"! (But the real question is where the heck was the man. He was not threatened with stoning!)

And I don't understand how you call, what I said, an anecdote! I am not claiming any scientific merit to any statement! Are there statistics out there to support the fact as to how many "real Christians" support jailing everybody who will not follow their rules? If you choose to have faith in nothing, that is your right. But putting me down for it, is dead wrong. Don't we live in a free country? Was it not established to stop tyrants from persecuting people of faith?The police state does not remind me of Christian teachings of mercy, at all. They are getting worse all of the time. Now you can' t even flash a peace sign without getting arrested!

Oh, and since "every devout Christian" knows that it is sin against God to use drugs? Does that include wine? The pinnacle of the religion drank wine! Or do you think the story about Jesus is that he used "grape juice", like good BAPTISTS!! When you start saying "every" you start being unbelievable! And claiming anything is not debatable makes it clear that you are very close minded.

I had a preacher who told me that if I wanted to know how Christians should behave, ask the atheists. They know more than most Christians about their own Bible! There are plenty out there that love to tell us when we are wrong! And saying that generalization points to the fact that you want to ridicule anyone who does not believe the what those "religious" do! I would get mad if you called me religious. I do not believe in most of those controlling sects, anyway!

You are attacking the wrong guy, here. Wars have been fought and millions killed in the name of religion , since time began. It does not mean that it is right. It is what people have done, in thename of religion. Especially those who want to judge and treat others in an un-Christian way! The religious right has a lot of bad actors in it. But do not attack the faith of those who would be supportive on this forum. It seem sort of mean and counter-productive!

Your interpretation of the "framework" of the Bible is your own. It does not prohibit me, and people like me, from fighting against merciless un-Christian behavior of the religious sects, you complain of! Did you even look at the interfaith site. Or do you just want to put us all down as one group, with one agenda? I heard that referred to as ethnocentrism! Well, I got too involved here. Thank you for your time and your previous response.

young people!

It has, in his statement, that he wants to curb the use in "young people"! Then maybe he should take the market out of the hands of the drug dealers!!! They don't care what age the children are, from whom, they make their money. The stupidity of the situation should be obvious. The drug war is counter-productive, when it comes to keeping the drugs out of the hands of "young people" especially KIDS!! We are handing them to the drug dealers and telling them "here, sell them anything you can!" The kids can't get alcohol and cigarettes, as easily as they get illegal drugs! And, as far as I know, the drug dealers, are not, as yet, carding!

And ignorance about the many problems with the drug war, in our country, is more than commonplace. Yeah!!! the druggies will grow the hemp in the pot fields!?! Or is it the other way around? The plant is hardy and easy to grow. It is "greener" than corn and other crops. And it can be used in many items that would increase the productivity of agriculture and business in this country! You don't need a lot of fertilizer and horticulture. It practically grows itself!! DUH!! It is not only a good source of fiber and paper, it could drastically reduce the cost in producing a replaceable fuel source for our, energy glutton of a, country! Want to be an expert on anything---just go fake a few credentials and declare yourself and "expert"! Or , just become a politician, who says"I don't believe in medical marijuana"! Where do they get their medical degrees?!? Or even better, go to work for the government and I will help pay your salary while you spout off ignorant crap and downright lies!

Notice the emphasis on smoked marijuana

Twice in one paragraph! Some PR hack must be writing this.

And then there is this piece of convoluted thinking:

"Industrial hemp and marijuana are not just "related" – they come from the same cannabis sativa plant."

They don't come from the same plant. Industrial hemp and marijuana come from different varieties of Cannabis sativa.

I found that in Wikipedia:

ONDCP afraid of reader comments

I tried to post a scathing comment about the article at the ONDCP blog, but those fools don't post reader comments. If you submit something, there's a nice little message that says "comment received." Meaning, I suppose, that it's gone down the Memory Hole. What I wanted to post was this:

First, why do you even have a comments section when IT CANNOT BE VIEWED BY READERS?

Second, do you honestly believe what you write? Or are you a sinister pawn of special interest groups (pharmaceutical, timber) that support hemp prohibition?

You are wrong at every point in this post. Here's how:

1. "While drug legalization groups extol hemp as some kind of miracle-plant, many Americans aren’t getting the full story. Industrial hemp and marijuana are not just "related" – they come from the same cannabis sativa plant."

Drug legalization groups praise cannabis as a miracle plant FOR GETTING HIGH--and they are talking about strains of cannabis with THC content above 1.5%. Hemp legalization groups praise cannabis for its myriad uses in commerce specifically EXCLUDING any potential to get people high. Industrial hemp is a cannabis variety containing less than 0.3% THC--impossible to smoke for psychotropic effects. Are you even aware that plant species can have different cultivars? For example, opiate-free varieties of Papaver somniferum, the 'opium poppy,' are widely grown in gardens across America.

2. "The real agenda of hemp enthusiasts is to legalize smoked marijuana and it is no coincidence that legalizing hemp would complicate efforts to curb the production and use of smoked marijuana by young people."

The real agenda of hemp 'enthusiasts' is to legalize a plant that CANNOT GET PEOPLE HIGH and that has thousands of known industrial/commercial uses. Since ++THC cannabis varieties cannot be grown within several miles of industrial hemp due to THC reduction via cross-pollination, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that hemp would 'complicate efforts to curb the production and use of smoked marijuana by young people.'

3. "Marijuana is not a harmless substance."

This is partially true, if marijuana is smoked rather than vaporized. But what do you mean by this statement? Tobacco is not a harmless substance either. Yet if your drugs policy was based on harm reduction, punishment for tobacco sales and possession would be more harsh than for marijuana commerce. This is an unjustifiable and inexplicable double standard.

4. "Public health experts know that cannabis is much more powerful today than it was 30 years ago and has been proven to be psychologically addictive."

You've nested two un-truths in a single sentence! Cannabis-for-getting-high is just as 'powerful' today as in the 1970's. The idea that contemporary cannabis has more THC emerged from a comparison of today's strongest strains to average content in the '70's. Apples to oranges, sir! And so what if ++THC cannabis is psychologically addictive? SO IS TELEVISION! And tobacco and alcohol are PHYSICALLY addictive, yet perfectly legal under your double-standard law system.

5. "If we are to make the drug problem in America smaller, we must push back against the forces that spread misinformation and promote policies that would lead to increased use of dangerous drugs."

I FULLY AGREE! We must 'push back against' the ONDCP! YOU, Mr. Walters, are spreading misinformation. YOU, Mr. Walters, promote prohibitionist policies that generate black markets in and 'dangerous drugs,' thereby increasing their use among youth.


Damn, that was goooood! Too bad these facts get put into a "black hole" somewhere! "Don't bother me with the history or the facts", seems to be the ONDCP's motto!


I submitted the following comment to them:

Since you guys are apparently incapable of doing research and actually reading something, maybe you would enjoy watching a couple of news videos:


Attorney argues Libson man's pot crop was actually wild hemp

Last Update: 11:30 am

A Lisbon ,NY man in Federal custody for marijuana possession is free on his own recognizance after his lawyer successfully argued that his only crime was growing land where wild hemp grows.
52-year-old Patrick Green was arrested in August and accused of having nearly 900 marijuana plants and pot being prepared for sale in his barn on Keystone Road. Authorities said they were tipped off to Green’s activities by parents of youths who may have been involved in the drug activities.

Green’s lawyer Melissa Tuohey argued that the plants were hemp and not marijuana, and were growing in an area known to have wild hemp. She and a Private Investigator visited the site of the farm and found “numerous” areas where the plant was growing.

Additionally, a bust in 2003 that was credited as a massive seizure by authorities just 1 mile away from Green’s farm is now believed to have been hemp growing wild. The Sheriff said at the time they believed it was marijuana, even though it was apparent there had been no one tending it and was growing at random.

Tuohey said they are waiting for final test results back from lab before moving forward and said motions will be filed “in the near future” to have the charges dropped.


Why "in" barn?

But, why was it "in" the barn? Sounds a little fishy, to me. Unless,of coures, he was selling it to kids for the real thing!

How smart! Sell them a thing they had a high demand for, (getting more per ounce than gold) and use a product that would get them, no more, high than taking a couple of aspirin! The high school kids, actually, got what they needed! Maybe getting ripped off would make them smarter the next time around! (Can't trust drug dealers, you know!) They don't need to be drinking or using anything intoxicating, until they are "of legal age" as far as I am concerned. After that time, it is their decision!

But, the only way they are going to make good decisons, is by having all of the honest to God , true, facts. Not a bunch of baloney and lying propaganda, fed to them by the media and their drug warriors! Now, this is a personal opinion. But, I can't understand how people can be stupid enough to put some of these chemicals in their bodies! I guess they can't figure out the facts from the lies!

Education and regulation is what will help more than this failed drug war! The drug warriors, all have their heads in the sand (putting it more politely)

The sad thing about this is

The sad thing about this is that legalizing hemp would be great for the environment--you can get a lot more paper pulp out of an acre of hemp than an acre of trees, the oil can be used for biofuel, and you can even make biodegradable plastic out of it. Not to mention how nutritious the seeds are. The environment is yet another victim of the drug war.


"you can get a lot more paper pulp out of an acre of hemp than an acre of trees"
You can also replant that acre every year with hemp (but only every 20 years with trees grown specifically for pulp), With hemp there is no need for pesticides, fertilizers, or even irrigation.

On the issue of cross pollination between hemp and marijuana, if the feds had any sense (and I'm glad they don't in this case, or smokable pot would be much harder to find and much more costly), they'd allow hemp to be grown all over the national forests and agriculture land to make it harder for marijuana growers to find a hemp free spot to grow their crops.

The effects of marijuana compared to alcohol

Through my experience in life itself, in fact marijuana does get an individual high but I've never seen on the news especially a person causing a car accident ( under the influence of marijuana slow driver, under the toxication of alcohol aggressive driver),killing an individual, hit and run, salt and battery....while under the influence of marijuana....but I know and you all know....that in these cases it was cause from being under the influence of alcohol. So why is legal to sell alcohol when it causes individual to act in violence? Marijuana may cause the person's body to slow down, but it doesn't cause them to come in rage. What is wrong with the government? Are the companies itself distributing alchohol to the people, controlling the government? Why can't marijuana itself be legalized? because people can grow them. and the government can't make money off it. So they wait for individuals to grow and sell them until they make a good sufficient amount of money and finally take them for everything they got and put them in prison. the rich only get richer. I smell corruption in the highest levels. If they can have an alcohol level of consumption, why not have a marijuana level of intake.



taking hemp?!

I smoked hemp out of my uncles yard, when I was in college! (my aunt thought it was a very pretty plant!) Guess what! It is not capable of producing intoxication! That is what peple are trying to say here! The feds don't even know the difference! And I don't understand what you are trying to say?!! No, se comprendes?

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