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Hemp for Victory!

December 2, 2011

Lawson Spann, Quarles spar on medical marijuana, GMOs at Ky. Farm Bureau forum

October 8, 2015

10/06/2015 04:20 PM

Candidates vying to become Kentucky’s next agriculture commissioner differed on the controversial subject of medical marijuana Tuesday during a forum hosted by Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Democrat Jean-Marie Lawson Spann, in her opening statement at KFB’s “Measure the Candidates” forum, voiced her support for medicinal cannabis, saying Kentuckians suffering from ailments like glaucoma, epilepsy and cancer shouldn’t have to seek relief in other states that allow the illicit drug’s prescription.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana since 1996, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“A doctor-patient relationship should guide the decision on whether someone is prescribed medical marijuana for a very specific illness,” Lawson Spann said.

Republican Rep. Ryan Quarles, however, said legalizing medical marijuana would imperil the state’s young industrial hemp industry and Kentucky’s status as a “clean atmosphere” for hemp growers.

“If you talk to hemp producers, the ones who are already investing in our state, they do not want to be co-mingled with its cousin, and in fact folks in Colorado right now who are wanting to invest in Kentucky are moving from Colorado to Kentucky because it’s a clean atmosphere and they’re not co-mingled with its cousin,” Quarles said at the forum. “So it’s important that if we do support an alternative crop, we listen to the industry needs.”

Medical marijuana has been a nonstarter in recent legislative sessions despite the General Assembly taking steps at cannabis legalization with industrial hemp and cannabidiol.

Lawson Spann would likely find opposition to medical marijuana from law enforcement entities, as Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer voiced his opposition to the legalization of industrial hemp during the 2013 legislative session.

She brushed aside a question on whether she has had any conversations with law enforcement on her proposal for medical cannabis. The issue, she said, “is about our families” and “our struggling Kentuckians that are suffering from cancer, glaucoma and the epileptic seizures,” particularly children.

Younger patients dealing with chronic seizures provided the impetus for lawmakers to approve cannabidiol treatment in 2014.

“As a new mom, I can’t imagine what those families are going through, and why should we tell our Kentuckians that are going through those hard times that they should have to travel to one of the other 21 states that this is offered?” Lawson-Spann said.

“I believe we should have legalized medical marijuana here in Kentucky, and I believe it should be between the doctor and the patient.”

The candidates also offered opposing stances on whether food products containing genetically-modified organisms should be labelled and a statewide indoor smoking ban.

Lawson Spann said she would like to see GMO products labelled on grocery shelves while Quarles said such a measure would unnecessarily confuse consumers.

Differentiating between GMO and non-GMO products is “a passion” of hers, Lawson Spann said. She mentioned the matter as one of her priorities in opening remarks.

“I’m a mom,” she said in response to a question on the subject. “I want to know what is in the food that I’m feeding my son. Kentucky consumers deserve to know if the food has been genetically modified, but … I also know that we’ve got farmers who grow both GMO and non-GMO, and I’m open for free trade.”

Quarles countered that science hasn’t shown that GMO foods make consumers sick. Mandatory GMO labeling “would cause confusion” as well, he said.

“It would make it harder for consumers to understand what the difference is between products which are perfectly safe, and there’s been no study that says GMO foods have made anyone sick, and if we want to feed the world with a growing population, we’ve got to embrace science.”

A statewide indoor smoking ban has been proposed in the legislature for the past five sessions, with House Bill 145 earning the cause’s first vote in the state House during this year’s session. The measure passed 51-46 but did not receive a committee hearing in the Senate.

Such proposals have been staunchly opposed by tobacco companies, which have spent heavily in lobbying efforts against the bills.

Quarles, who voted against HB 145, said he believes the matter should be left to local governments.

“The local option is working in Kentucky,” he said. “My district is primarily rural, but the majority of the population operates underneath an anti-smoking ban because they did it at the local level. It’s also important that we respect the property rights of business owners to make that sort of conclusion on their own.

“And I think it’s important that we support our tobacco industry, but I do realize this is a controversial issue in Kentucky.”

Lawson Spann said she backs Kentucky’s tobacco industry, but she added that she doesn’t “want smoking to be a part of what my son breathes.”

“I support our tobacco farmers,” she said. “I support folks that decide that they want to smoke, but do I want my child to have to breathe the smoke in an indoor, closed place? No.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.


Hemp harvest begins

September 29, 2015

Kentucky State researchers begin to bring in school’s 1st crop

By Brent Schanding, Published: September 25, 2015 8:20AM

Sheri Crabtree carries a bundle of cut hemp plants at the Kentucky State University Reasearch Farm. (Bobby Ellis/

Kentucky State University researchers on Wednesday began harvesting the school’s first hemp crop at the Harold R. Benson Research and Demonstration Farm on Mills Lane off U.S. 127 South. 

They spent about four hours in the field cutting stalks before hauling them to a greenhouse to cure. 

“This is a new crop for Kentucky so part of this research is to help give farmers an idea as to how they can use it,” said Chelsea Jacobson, a research coordinator for Nicholasville-based agri-giant Alltech that’s been partnering with KSU on its efforts to revive the once prominent cash crop.  

Dr. Kirk Pomper — associate research director and professor of horticulture at KSU who is co-leading the university’s research efforts — says he’s interested in converting the hemp to fiber and cloth. It’s a market that has a growing potential in Kentucky since hemp was legally reintroduced here in 2014.  

In June, researchers with the College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems along with a technical agronomist from Alltech took soil samples and treated and prepared a test plot before sowing several small parcels with hemp seeds at KSU’s farm.

“We’ve got two different products here so we’re looking for differences between them. Difference in height, seed count and oil content,” Pomper said. “We’re looking at the effect of the influence of soil enzymes on the two products.”  

Hemp revival
Hemp was first planted in Kentucky in 1775 when the state served as leader in the U.S. hemp industry. It flourished for generations before largely disappearing by the late 1940s when federal lawmakers restricted its production with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 made hemp a controlled substance under federal law, with production regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. 

However, Kentucky lawmakers in 2014 approved legislation to permit industrial hemp production in the state. In February of 2014 Kentucky announced five pilot hemp projects across the state and several farmers have since revived the crops in fields across the Bluegrass. 

While hemp and its cousin marijuana are both derived from the same cannabis plant, industrial hemp production relies on the commercial use of the plant’s stalk and seeds to produce textiles, paper, plastics and body care products among other things.


"Welcome to Kentucky, the leading industrial hemp-producing state"

September 29, 2015



By Janet Patton

September 28, 2015

Hemp has come a long way, increasing from 33 acres in 2014 — the first legal crop in Kentucky — to more than 922 acres planted this year.

“Welcome to Kentucky, the leading industrial hemp-producing state in the country. It feels good to say that,” Agriculture Commissioner James Comer told a sold-out crowd Monday at the annual Hemp Industries Association Conference in Lexington.

This was the first time in 22 years that the conference of hemp entrepreneurs and activists has been held in a hemp-producing state, said Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association.

Among the crowd of 200 were attendees from as far away as Hawaii, Alaska and Australia, including people well known in the fight to legalize industrial hemp and separate it from more controversial marijuana. The notables included Hawaii state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, who fought to establish one of the first DEA-regulated test plots years ago, and David Bronner, whose multinational soap company has contributed $10,000 to grants for Kentucky farmers to transition to organic hemp.

Comer, the conference’s keynote speaker, was greeted with a standing ovation for his efforts to bring industrial hemp back to Kentucky after decades of federal banishment.

“We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for his efforts,” said Andy Graves, CEO of Atalo Holdings, a Central Kentucky group that has organized growers and processors.

Kentucky has more than 121 growers working with seven universities around the state on research into growing, processing and marketing hemp into everything from oil, food and fiber to energy, manufacturing, textiles, automotive composites, construction materials and paper, Comer said.

Most importantly, Kentucky has attracted more than 20 processors, who will be key to taking the crop into profitable markets.

Comer predicted that in coming years, Kentucky will go from less than 1,000 acres to thousands, and from 24 processors to hundreds.

“We’re going to be the epicenter of industrial hemp in this country,” Comer said.

The next battle, he said, will be with the Food and Drug Administration. He plans to lobby to keep cannabis oil products regulated as supplements rather than as medications.

Comer plans to work on the FDA until December, when he will leave office for the private sector, he said. He has no plans “at this time” to run for political office again, he said.

Kentucky’s hemp program will be in the hands of a new agriculture commissioner; candidates Jean-Marie Lawson Spann, a Democrat, and Ryan Quarles, a Republican, are scheduled to meet with hemp conference attendees on Tuesday.

Both candidates have indicated that they support continuing the state’s hemp program, which Steenstra said will be crucial because it isn’t clear that the pilot program could continue without the state’s involvement in coordinating farmers with researchers through legal memoranda of understanding.

Federal efforts to legalize full-scale industrial hemp production continue, Steenstra said.

“Groups like HIA and Vote Hemp will be more important than ever, because now we have something to lose,” Steenstra said.

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

Read more here:

What happened to the hemp crop in kentucky? (It took a trip!)

September 18, 2015

Low hemp harvest yield expected

Story by Lauren Epperson, Contributing writer

Emily Harris/The News Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said problems with this years seeds could lead to a low yielding harvest.Emily Harris/The News
Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said problems with this years seeds could lead to a low yielding harvest.

By late May, Murray State agriculture students still were awaiting the arrival of the key ingredient to their summer hemp-growing program: the seeds.

Getting them to Murray took two more months, attempted shipments from two countries, a pair of bureaucratic paperwork snafus and two of the largest delivery companies in the world.

“There were significant problems with this year’s seeds,” said Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture.

As a result, this fall’s hemp harvest – the second since the federal government allowed Kentucky universities to grow the crop – won’t be a big one, Brannon said.

“We will probably harvest the full two acres,” he said. “It will not be high yielding, but we will try to harvest all of it.”

Murray State’s agriculture students harvested their first crop last year in late October. But Brannon said college officials haven’t decided when that will be this fall or what they will do with the crop once it’s harvested.

Just getting it to Murray was a logistical miracle.

Sixty tons of seeds left Germany and arrived in Chicago without a key piece of customs paperwork. The seed company, which forgot the seeds’ certification form, paid to ship the 60 tons back to Germany.

Plan B was to receive a different shipment from Canada. FedEx picked up those seeds and brought them to Louisville only to realize FedEx policies prevented them from delivering any hemp seeds, Brannon said.

That hemp went back to Canada, only to be picked up by UPS and returned to Louisville. Upon arrival, U.S. Customs agents seized them and placed them under embargo at the UPS processing and packaging center for another two weeks before the seeds finally reached Murray State.

Murray State’s Department of Agriculture partnered with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, U.S. Hemp Oil and CannaVest this summer to raise and conduct research on hemp for the second time. Murray State became the first university to plant a legal industrial hemp crop in the nation in the spring of 2014.

“It’s been an exciting project,” Brannon said. “Our mission is to provide opportunities for regional agriculture, and if it’s an opportunity for regional agriculture, we want to be a part of it.”

Kentucky was the leading hemp-producing state in the United States until it was outlawed by federal legislation in 1938.

The National Council of State Legislatures has stated that the federal government classifies hemp as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act because it contains trace amounts of the same hallucinogen found in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC).

Hemp production was legalized for research purposes at registered state universities when the Agricultural Act of 2014 was signed into law in February, 2014.

Although Murray State was the first university to plant hemp for research, it is not the only university. The University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University also have conducted pilot programs concerning hemp.

“I think it’s really cool that we’re one of the only universities in the state that is allowed to conduct this type of research and I hope that we are able to continue in the future with this agricultural pursuit,” said Sarah Luckett, sophomore from Beechmont, Kentucky. 

Murray State’s most recent crop, planted July 12, has reached an average height of three to four feet. Murray State’s Department of Agriculture has not yet set a date to harvest the crop or decided how that process will be conducted.

Adam Watson, industrial hemp program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, said that he expects the pilot programs to continue and further research to be conducted.

“I think it’s good that our school is able to conduct relevant, respectable and legal research about this issue,” said Chris Albers, junior from Breese, Illinois.


‘A grand experiment’, Tobacco farmer’s crop biggest in Ky.,

September 13, 2015
  • By Rebecca Walter, New Era Staff Writer
  • Updated Sep 10, 2015


    Hemp crop biggest in state

    Beside a humming industrial combine, Crofton farmer Kendal Clark gazed across his field, home to the largest hemp crop in Kentucky.

    During the harvesting process Tuesday, Clark said while the future is foggy, there is great potential for this year’s crop.

    “It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure,” he said. “But it is showing some potential when it didn’t have the best chance in the world. It’s really turning around more than I would have imagined.”

    The crop, planted in mid-June, is a first for Clark, who is primarily a tobacco farmer. He said he’s already been contacted by several agencies, including the Epilepsy Foundation and various pharmaceutical chains, for potential uses for the crop.

    “The possibilities for this crop have barely been tapped,” he said.

    While this is the first year Clark has grown hemp, he is no stranger to the farming game. He has been harvesting most his life and full-time since 1977. Farming is embedded in his family’s roots, and his parents grew hemp during World War II under a federal contract.

    New beginnings

    Before planting, Clark had to obtain a permit, which he said was a lengthy process. Clark is working through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program, which stemmed from the passage of two separate laws — Senate Bill 50 passed in 2013 and the Farm Bill signed into law February 2014.

    Doris Hamilton, coordinator of the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, confirmed Clark’s hemp field is the largest in the state.

    Clark is among 99 people approved to plant hemp this year. Last year, the first year hemp production was legal in more than 50 years, that number was only 20.

    Hamilton said the approval process is selective and only about a third of applicants were approved this year. Individuals have to go through a background check and orientation before beginning production.

    She said the scale of hemp plots this year ranges from small greenhouses to the extent of Clark’s field. Clark’s main field is approximately 60 acres, and he has small additional fields bringing the total up to 100.

    Hamilton said yields varied across the state, with some “very successful” and others not so much.

    “The rain in July was detrimental to a lot of folks,” she said. The first six weeks are the most crucial, Hamilton added, and if there is too much rain and not enough sunlight, it can damage the crop.

    Hamilton expects crops across the state will be developed into several products, ranging from oil to Cannabidiol, used in various medical treatments.

    Last year, there were hemp crops in Pembroke and Dawson Springs. Katie Moyer, a local hemp advocate and partner in a new hemp-based company, Legacy Hemp, said the Dawson Springs crop didn’t survive, and the crop harvested in Pembroke is still bundled and waiting for its next move.

    Moyer said the next step for Clark’s crop is to put the seed in bins where it can dry. Then the seed cleaning process will begin.

    “We are in a good position to benefit big time from this crop,” she said.

    A historical crop

    Hemp was first grown in Kentucky in 1775, and the state became the leading producer in the nation. The peak production was in the mid-19th century, with 40,000 tons produced in 1850, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

    Production dropped off after the Civil War, and Kentucky became almost the exclusive producer of hemp.

    Federal legislation passed in 1938 outlawed the production of cannabis, including hemp. But production revved up again during World War II.

    Clark’s parents were contracted under the government to produce hemp during the war. The crop, like their son’s, was planted in north Christian County. It was used to make rope for the U.S. Navy.

    The crop has faced a certain stigma because it is a variety of cannabis sativa, which is of the same plant species as marijuana.

    But Clark said the crops are distinctly different, pointing out how easily the difference can be detected by looking at it. He has faced a few jokes around the community about growing hemp, but said the response has generally been positive.

    Looking to the future

    Clark said he plans on planting hemp again next year, taking what he has learned this season and carrying that knowledge into next year’s crop.

    “It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve been learning,” he said. “It has intrigued us enough and really hasn’t had a fair chance this year with the weather. We just want to give it the best shot we can.”

    The exact economic impact is still unclear, and it may be months before an answer is known.

    “This is a grand experiment,” Clark said. “But you have to start somewhere.”

    Hemp facts

    – The first hemp crop in Kentucky was grown in 1775.

    – An estimated 55,700 metric tons of industrial hemp are produced around the world each year.

    – China, Russia and South Korea are the leading hemp-producing nations and account for 70 percent of the world’s industrial hemp supply.

    – More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.

    – Current industry estimates report U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.

    – It is illegal to grow hemp without a permit from the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency).

    — Information from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s website

    Reach Rebecca Walter at 270-887-3241 or


  • Officials hope fiber will replace coal in eastern Kentucky

    September 2, 2015

    By ADAM BEAM Associated Press


    HAZARD, Ky.

    In the 1970s, as the oil crisis spurred an increase in mining, Victor Justice taught people in eastern Kentucky how to mine coal.

    Forty years later, his son is teaching them how to write code to build websites.

    As the coal industry disappears across Appalachia, politicians and entrepreneurs have been trying to find something to replace it. On Monday, hundreds of people gathered in Hazard to hear one solution: A 3,400-mile network of fiber optic cables that state and private sector officials say will create one of the country’s fastest networks in one of the nation’s worst areas for access to high speed Internet service.

    “We’re betting our future on the coming of this dark fiber,” Rusty Justice said of his company, Bit Source, which builds websites.

    State and federal officials christened the network Monday, the product of about three years of negotiation that spanned political and geographic rivalries in a state that has plenty of each. The network will cost about $324 million to build. Taxpayers will pay about $53.5 million, with the rest coming from private investors. Kentucky will own the network, which will begin in eastern Kentucky but eventually reach into all of the state’s 120 counties. But the Australian-based investment firm Macquarie Group and its partners will build the network and operate it for the next 30 years.

    On Monday, a packed auditorium watched as the CEO of a technology company demonstrated how he can build networks that can download video in less “five milliseconds.” And in an area that has a shortage of OB-GYNs, people watched a pregnant woman lay down on an exam table while a doctor in Lexington, about 100 miles away, gave her an ultrasound with telemedicine technology.

    It’s the kind of benefits officials say the broadband network can bring to eastern Kentucky, which has suffered for years with little cellphone service and limited access to high-speed Internet.

    “Broadband is not just about Facebook or HD Netflix,” said Jared Arnett, executive director of the Saving Our Appalachian Region, a group charged with transitioning eastern Kentucky’s economy. “This is about economic opportunity.”

    Construction will begin this year and is scheduled to be finished by the middle of 2016 in eastern Kentucky. Other parts of the states will take longer to build. Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear called it the most important infrastructure project in the state’s history, more so than the Interstate highway system. But they cautioned that the network will only help if people use it. The network is just a means for information to travel. Businesses, school districts, hospitals, local governments and others have to build the products that would make the network worthwhile.

    Earlier this month, Beshear created a governing board to oversee the construction of the network. And his state finance cabinet has put together a fiber planning guide for local communities to use as they prepare for how to use the network.

    “We know that broadband is not a silver bullet. There is none. But it levels the playing field. It gives us a chance,” Rogers said. “It takes away the historic barriers to better jobs: the difficult terrain, the isolation that we’ve endured these generations.”

    Bit Source is based in Pikeville, the center of what was once the state’s largest coal producing county. It’s the same county where, 40 years ago, Rusty Justice’s father worked for the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program to train people how to operate heavy machinery and other skills needed in the coal industry.

    Now Justice said he is seeing those same workers ask him for a job. Justice offered to hire 10 people, preferably out-of-work coal industry workers, and train them how to code. He got 974 applications. The company opened in March and, after 22 weeks of training, has been building websites for companies and local governments.

    “We now have a small, embryonic tech sector alive and well in Pikeville,” he said.

    Read more here:

    Phytoremediation of Urban Brownfields: a Case for Industrial Hemp

    August 25, 2015

    Phytoremediation of Urban…

    Phytoremediation of Urban Brownfields: a Case for Industrial Hemp

    Brownfield land , Phytoremediation , Environmental remediation

    Phytoremediation of Urban Brownfields:
    A Case for Industrial Hemp
    By: Jeff Lemon Thursday, June 21, 2012
    Brownfield Phytoremediation
    Page 2 Page 4
    A Case for Industrial Hemp?
    Page 5
    Executive Summary
    There are a number of reasons why we should care about brownfields. From encouraging urban sprawl through the ‘development’ of greenfields to their environmental impacts on soil, air and ground water, these properties are a drain upon the urban environment. Redevelopment of brownfields are complicated by the potential contamination of hazardous waste, heavy metals and pollution that has been left behind in the soil. Although this land can be used once the soil has been cleaned, landowners are not financially incentivized to do so and inevitably ‘sit’ on these properties due to the current tax policies. The last decade has spawned a number of methods of remediating these potentially contaminated properties. One approach that has been gaining a lot of press of late, is phytoremediation. This approach to brownfield remediation works in favour for all the stakeholders involved. For the landowner, bioremediation not only offers a cheap solution to the decontamination of their land, but it also allows them to continue to utilize current tax incentives by creating a ‘green space’. For the urban farmer, phytoremediation gives the urban farmer access to valuable land, while allowing for the potential cultivation of certain cash crops. With the number of brownfields in Metro Vancouver growing, it is imperative to understand how increasing awareness and responsible redevelopment can transform environmentally damaged properties into productive lands, which can result in environmental, economic and social community benefits.
    Purpose of Research
    The purpose of this report is to examine the benefits of using industrial hemp as a potential cash crop in the practices of phytoremediation for the reclamation of Vancouver’s urban brownfields. Through…

    Please upgrade to read full document.

    Topics in this document

    Brownfield land , Phytoremediation , Environmental remediation , Bioremediation , Urban agriculture , Hemp , Groundwater , Pollution , Urban sprawl , Affordable housing , Ministry of Environment (South Korea) , Wetland , Soil , Water resources , Heavy metal (chemistry)

    Falsifying History on Behalf Of Agendas. “US Civil War was about Money not Slavery”

    July 26, 2015



    In an article on April 13, I used the so-called Civil War and the myths with which court historians have encumbered that war to show how history is falsified in order to serve agendas. I pointed out that it was a war of secession, not a civil war as the South was not fighting the North for control of the government in Washington. As for the matter of slavery, all of Lincoln’s statements prove that he was neither for the blacks nor against slavery.

    Yet he has been turned into a civil rights hero, and a war of northern aggression, whose purpose Lincoln stated over and over was “to preserve the union” (the empire), has been converted into a war to free the slaves.

    As for the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln said it was “a practical war measure” that would help in defeating the South and would convince Europe, which was considering recognizing the Confederacy, that Washington was motivated by “something more than ambition.” The proclamation only freed slaves in the Confederacy, not in the Union. As Lincoln’s Secretary of State put it: “we emancipated slaves where we cannot reach them and hold them in bondage where we can set them free.”

    A few readers took exception to the truth and misconstrued a statement of historical facts as a racist defense of slavery. In the article below, the well-known African-American, Walter Williams, points out that the war was about money, not slavery. Just as Jews who tell the truth about Israel’s policies are called “self-hating Jews,” will Walter Williams be called a “self-hating black?” Invective is used as a defense against truth.

    Racist explanations can be very misleading. For example, it is now a given that the police are racists because they kill without cause black Americans and almost always get away with it. Here is a case of a true fact being dangerously misconstrued. In actual fact, the police kill more whites than blacks, and they get away with these murders also. So how is race the explanation?

    The real explanation is that the police have been militarized and trained to view the public as enemy who must first be subdued with force and then questioned. This is the reason that so many innocent people, of every race, are brutalized and killed. No doubt some police are racists, but overall their attitude toward the public is a brutal attitude toward all races, genders, and ages. The police are a danger to everyone, not only to blacks.

    We see the same kind of mistake made with the Confederate Battle Flag. Reading some of the accounts of the recent Charleston church shootings, I got the impression that the Confederate Battle Flag, not Dylann Roof, was responsible for the murders. Those declaring the flag to be a “symbol of hate” might be correct. Possibly it is a symbol of their hatred of the “white South,” a hatred that dates from the mischaracterization of what is called the “Civil War.” As one commentator pointed out, if flying over slavery for four years makes the Confederate flag a symbol of hate, what does that make the U.S. flag, which flew over slavery for 88 years?

    Flags on a battlefield are information devices to show soldiers where their lines are. In the days of black powder, battles produced enormous clouds of smoke that obscured the line between opposing forces. In the first battle of Bull Run confusion resulted from the similarity of the flags. Thus, the Confederate Battle Flag was born. It had nothing to do with hate.

    Americans born into the centralized state are unaware that their forebears regarded themselves principally as residents of states, and not as Americans. Their loyalty was to their state. When Robert E. Lee was offered command in the Union Army, he declined on the grounds that he was a Virginian and could not go to war against his native country of Virginia.

    A nonsensical myth has been created that Southerners made blacks into slaves because Southerners are racist. The fact of the matter is that slaves were brought to the new world as a labor force for large scale agriculture. The first slaves were whites sentenced to slavery under European penal codes. Encyclopedia Virginia reports that “convict laborers could be purchased for a lower price than indentured white or enslaved African laborers, and because they already existed outside society’s rules, they could be more easily exploited.”

    White slavery also took the form of indentured servants in which whites served under contract as slaves for a limited time. Native Indians were enslaved. But whites and native Indians proved to be unsatisfactory labor forces for large scale agriculture. The whites had no resistance to malaria and yellow fever. It was discovered that some Africans did, and Africans were also accustomed to hot climates. Favored by superior survivability, Africans became the labor force of choice.

    Slaves were more prominent in the Southern colonies than in the north, because the land in the South was more suitable for large scale agriculture. By the time of the American Revolution, the South was specialized in agriculture, and slavery was an inherited institution that long pre-dated both the United States and the Confederate States of America. The percentage of slave owners in the population was very small, because slavery was associated with large land holdings that produced export crops.

    The motive behind slavery was to have a labor force in order to exploit the land. Those with large land holdings wanted labor and did not care about its color. Trial and error revealed that some Africans had superior survivability to malaria, and thus Africans became the labor force of choice. There was no free labor market. The expanding frontier offered poor whites land of their own, which they preferred to wages as agricultural workers.

    A racist explanation of slavery and the Confederacy satisfies some agendas, but it is ahistorical.

    Explanations are not justifications. Every institution, every vice, every virtue, and language itself has roots. Every institution and every cause has vested interests defending them. There have been a few efforts, such as the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution, to remake the world in a day by casting off all existing institutions, but these attempts came a cropper.

    Constant charges of racism can both create and perpetuate racism, just as the constant propaganda out of Washington is creating Islamophobia and Russophobia in the American population. We should be careful about the words we use and reject agenda-driven explanations.

    Readers are forever asking me, “what can we do.” The answer is always the same. We can’t do anything unless we are informed.


    The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, S.134, only has nine (9) cosponsors and "VOTE HEMP" needs signatures now!

    July 10, 2015

    VH Report header



    The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, S.134, only has nine (9) cosponsors. The most recent cosponsors are Senator Bennett (D-CO), Senator Tester (D-MT) and Senator Baldwin (D-WI). We are grateful for their support but we need many more.

    This important legislation would greatly benefit opportunities in terms of jobs and economic development in legal hemp states by removing industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

    Together we can pass this legislation, but we need your support today. Add your name to show the Senate the overwhelming grassroots support behind the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.



    Sign the Petition Today!

    As always, thank you for your continued support of this effort to restore industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. Please share this with friends, family and any network that is willing to help with our cause.

    About Vote Hemp

    Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for industrial hemp, low-THC oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow the crop.

    Web Site:

    Support Vote Hemp

    Vote Hemp depends entirely on donations to support our work. Please consider making a donation today.

    Contribute Here:

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    National Outreach Coordinator

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    Rand Paul gets highest marks in Marijuana Policy Project’s presidential voter guide

    June 27, 2015

    Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican (Associated Press)



    By David Sherfinski – The Washington Times – Friday, June 26, 2015

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky received the highest grade among more than 20 declared and potential 2016 presidential candidates in a voter guide released Friday by a marijuana policy group, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania fared the worst.

    Mr. Paul, received a grade of “A-” from the Marijuana Policy Project. The group said his grade was based largely on his sponsorship of a medical marijuana bill, support for reducing marijuana-related penalties and support for allowing states to regulate marijuana for adult use.

    Mr. Christie and Mr. Santorum, meanwhile, two other GOP contenders, both received a grade of “F” “because they oppose reform efforts and they are the most vocal supporters of enforcing federal prohibition laws in states that have made marijuana legal,” the group said.

    “Some of these guys who tout states’ rights, fiscal responsibility, and getting the government out of people’s private lives want to use federal tax dollars to punish adults for using marijuana in states that have made it legal,” said Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the group. “They say using marijuana is immoral or just too dangerous to allow, but serve alcohol, a more dangerous substance, at their fundraisers. The hypocrisy is astonishing.”

    Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry scored the second best among Republicans with a “B,” with the group citing his stated support for reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

    On the Democratic side, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and former Rhode Island Gov. and U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee fared the best with a grade of “B+.” The group cited Mr. Webb’s stated support for overhauling the criminal justice reform system and Mr. Chafee’s signing a marijuana decriminalization into law in 2013.

    Former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton got a “B-,” with the group citing a willingness to support more research into potential benefits of medical marijuana.

    Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the lowest among Democrats with a “D.” The group cited his spearheading legislation to create a federal “drug czar” and mandatory minimum sentencing for marijuana-related offenses.

    The full guide can be found on the group’s website.

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