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Ray Cook: Indian Country should say yes to cultivation of hemp

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: doj, economic development, marijuana, ray cook
     


A hemp farm in Canada. Photo from Hempsters / Facebook

Ray Cook, the opinions editor at Indian Country Today, offers his take on the legal marijuana debate:
In most cases, as with gaming, successful recreational and medicinal marijuana production would eventually and quickly serve a saturated market, one with experienced growers ready and able to turn legal at the drop of a hat. It is a limited market and very competitive. The chance of making lots of money is slim. And capitalization of any company wanting to compete would be in the tens of millions of dollars.

However, industrial marijuana (hemp) is another story. In a world where environmental and exploration costs of fossil fuels has become increasingly burdensome, hemp has the potential to find a market niche here and abroad. Industrial hemp has less than 1% THC content (the stuff that gets one high) and its tough, fibrous stalk had many uses. Historically—and before the turn-of-the-century demonization of hemp and marijuana by the lumber and petroleum industries—it was used for ropes, building material, even dry wall, and is a sustainable source for cloth and paper.

America was built with hemp. This hardy weed grows everywhere thanks to the efforts of first the Jesuit missionaries, and was promoted by none other than Ben Franklin. The first American flag is made of hemp. The Declaration of Independence was written on, you guessed it, hemp. The United States Constitution is written on hemp paper. Given the legal, moral, and market hurdles presented by medical and recreational marijuana, it would be better for Indian nations to explore advanced technologies that will take advantage of the potential offered by hemp.

Get the Story:
Ray Cook: Rez Should Say No to Pot—But A Huge YES to Hemp (Indian Country Today 2/20)

Relevant Documents:
Department of Justice Policy Statement Regarding Marijuana Issues in Indian Country (October 2014)

Related Stories:
Menominee Nation leader wants to move quickly on marijuana (2/20)
Poarch Creeks bring up marijuana in Florida gaming deal talks (2/20)
Closed session at NCAI winter meeting to focus on marijuana (2/19)
Lummi Nation leader announces meeting to discuss marijuana (2/18)
Northern Cheyenne Tribe enters debate over legal marijuana (2/17)
Opinion: Vast opportunities for tribes and marijuana industry (2/16)
Evictions linked to Pinoleville Pomo Nation's marijuana project (2/13)
Washington bill authorizes tribal-state marijuana agreements (2/12)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation puts marijuana farm on temporary hold (2/11)
Brian Pierson: State law still matters as tribes pursue marijuana (2/11)
Harlan McKosato: Marijuana debate heats up in Indian Country (2/10)
Alfred Walking Bull: Move slowly on marijuana in Indian Country (2/9)
Red Lake Nation to hold community meetings on legal marijuana (2/9)
Chairman of Havasupai Tribe welcomes marijuana opportunity (2/5)
Company claims major interest in marijuana in Indian Country (2/3)
Quapaw Tribe interested in cultivating marijuana for medical uses (1/30)
Seneca Nation doesn't foresee taking action on legal marijuana (1/29)
First-ever conference to focus on marijuana in Indian Country (1/27)
Fort Peck Tribes moving towards full legalization of marijuana (1/27)
Fort Peck Tribes approve marijuana use for medicinal purposes (1/19)
MPR: Red Lake Nation takes a small step towards legal marijuana (1/16)
Red Lake Nation backs study on medicinal marijuana and hemp (1/15)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation to use marijuana revenue for programs (1/15)
Column: New Mexico should strike marijuana deals with tribes (1/13)
Native Sun News: Tribal members debate legalization of 'peji' (1/12)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation confirms deal for legal marijuana farm (1/9)
Speculation grows about tribal marijuana operation in California (1/8)
Company set to announce tribal marijuana operation in California (1/7)
Column: Legal marijuana could bring dramatic changes for tribes (1/5)
Editorial: Legal marijuana is the last thing Indian Country needs (12/24)
Some South Dakota tribes said to be interested in legal marijuana (12/22)
Editorial: Showing caution for marijuana sales in Indian Country (12/18)
Column: No rush on marijuana sales at Eastern Cherokee casino (12/17)
Opinion: DOJ marijuana policy in Indian Country raises questions (12/16) DOJ announces new policy affecting marijuana in Indian Country (12/11)

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