by Wayne Luers
Coalition Urges Legalization of Hemp
Daily Lobo 3/10/1992
"I grew hemp," George Washington says on U.S. dollar bills handed
out by members of UNM's Hemp Coalition.
The bills are symbolic of the fact that hemp - the marijuana plant
-- was once a large part of this country's economy, said Michael
Piper, a UNM Hemp Coalition member.
George Washington, who kept meticulous records, was a hemp grower
and Ben Franklin made paper from hemp fibers, he said.
"We got the idea for hemp dollars from 'High Times,' a major hemp-oriented
magazine," Piper said, "and thought it was a good way to get our
message out. And I love pushing hemp dollars."
"Much of our information comes from a book called 'The Emperor
Wore No Clothes.' The author, Jack Herer, compiled all the information
from public records."
Piper said farmers were growing millions of acres of hemp when
the federal govemment decided to prohibit its growth by passing
the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937. The word "marijuana" was used to
get the law passed because it probably wouldn't have had a chance
if the word "hemp" had been used.
"The law could also be considerd racist because it is probably
the only law on the books with a Spanish word in the title." Piper
Bryan Krumm. another member of the coalition said. "All the the
information we use is basad scientific evidence that is referenced
and documented, not lies."
He said the group Partnership for a Drug Free America has been
caught and confronted about using erroneous information in its
anti-marijuana TV commercials. In one such commerciaI, the supposed
brain wave scan of a teenager was actually that of a comatose
Thc legalization of marijuana could be a crucial act that could
help save the environment, Krumm said. He said hemp can be used
for food, fuel and fiber. It also grows fast, using up carbon
dioxide faster than any other plant , which, could help reverse
the greenhouse effect, he said.
A new mythology is growing up around Washington displacing the
cherry tree myth," said the coalition's- faculty adviser, UNM
history associate Professor Richard Berthold "He did grow hemp,
but, despite rumors otherwise, there is no evidence that he smoked
Pot. "lt is stupid to keep marijuana outlawed," Berthold said.
"I would support legalization without question."
The UNM Cancer Center used marijuana as a treatment for chemotherapy-induced
nausea and vomiting from 1979 to the mid-'80's, after New Mexico
adopted The ControIled Substance Research Act that had been established
by Congress. New Mexico was the first state in the union to adopt
Susan Champerlin, program development director for the cancer
center, said the program has since been stopped because better
and less controversial drugs have been developed.
The University policy on marijuana is that of a drug-free environment,
as mandated by the federal govemment and current laws, said Don
Burge of UNM Public Affairs.
If an individual is caught smoking marijuana on campus, any officers
called can use their own discretion in the matter, Burge said.
But. if the person is charged with possession, including anything
from probation to firing or expulsion can be used to deal with
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