Friday, April 03, 2009

Cafferty says the War on Drugs is insane

Commentary by Jack Cafferty on CNN: War on drugs is insane:
"How many prison cells are filled with drug offenders? And how many corrections officers does it take to guard them? How much food do these convicts consume?

And when they get out, how many parole and probation officers does it take to supervise their release? And how many ex-offenders turn right around and do it again?

So how's this war on drugs going?

Someone described insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. That's a perfect description of the war on drugs."

Hemp for Victory Template Sticker stickerCafferty is right on this. The more you look at the "conventional wisdom" of drug policy, the less sense it makes, the less savory the motives, the more side effects and the less social benefit. And let's remember that this isn't as simple as - say, outlawing chewing gum. It's not even as simple as outlawing the use of Marijuana as a recreational drug. It banned the plant itself - and made all products and uses illegal.

Many of those products and processes have the potential to form the core of next-generation, "green" industries - and if you will note, the United States has a conspicuous and very significant lack of domestic industry and innovation.

Hemp can be rendered into fiber, fuel, plastics, paper and engineered materials - all of which are sustainable. Hemp - before it was banned - was integral to agriculture and industry. The more one looks into the banning of the entire family of hemp plants, the more one begins to believe that the point was not to eliminate drugs - but to eliminate entire industries that, under free-market conditions - would have enormous competitive advantages over tree-based paper, petroleum refineries, cotton grown with petrochemical-based pesticides and so forth.

Perhaps even more significantly, there is little point to large, centralized methanol and biodiesel refineries. The technology to produce fuels from organic materials is far less expensive and unwieldy than petrochemical refining - to the extent that it could well make economic sense for individual farms, and certainly would make sense in any three-elevator prairie town.

The domestic security advantages of a widely distributed fuel supply that is not vulnerable to foreign intervention, terrorism and hurricanes is pretty obvious.

You need an oil press - a simple device. Cold pressed hemp oil can then be processed into biodiesel - or used on your salad. Meanwhile, the fibers are extracted and the leftover biomass is fermented into methanol. It's three crops in the space of one - although obviously, various strains are going to have greater or lesser utility for each of those outcomes.

Oh, it requires no pesticides to grow - and it's an immediate, fast growing crop that can be used, right now, to deal with excess CO2.

Hm. I wonder what that would do to large energy monopolies? More to the immediate point, wouldn't it feel good doing it to them?

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