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Separating the Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Issues

NAIHC is an association of farmers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, environmentalists and public servants that has the sole purpose of promoting industrial hemp. It supports the use of industrial hemp varieties of Cannabis sativa --those with a THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) level of 1% or less--for food, fiber, oil and other products. In contrast, street marijuana varieties are at commonly at least 10% THC and can be up to 30% THC. End use of all or part of the cannabis plant correlates (for industrial and commercial purposes or for psychoactive effects) nearly perfectly with THC content. There have been no scientific studies that have shown industrial hemp- such as those grown commercially within the European Union- to have any psychoactive effect. Some of the confusion about the plant C. sativa arises from honest misunderstandings about the species while the rest is intentionally perpetrated by those seeking their own ends. This confusion unnecessarily hinders debate about non-pharmacological aspects of the species.

Debate is vigorous over the use of various varieties of C. sativa.
The two major uses/variety groupings are:
a. Industrial Hemp (oil, fiber, seed, etc. for food and products); and
b. Marijuana (intoxicating recreational and/or therapeutic medical uses)

Industrial hemp is not a drug and is therefore not a drug issue-except to the extent that it is presently misclassified by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration as a drug.
Because NAIHC's sole purpose is to promote the use of such low-THC varieties, it therefore has no position on marijuana (medical or recreational).
Our interest and expertise are solely in non-drug varieties. NAIHC has no opinion on marijuana.

The North American Industrial Hemp Council calls on all parties debating C. sativa to:
1. Use proper terminology in the cannabis debates.
There are in fact two debates: (1) marijuana (further divided into medical and recreational) and (2) industrial hemp.
Please don't use "hemp" when you mean "marijuana" or "marijuana" when what you are actually referring to is "industrial hemp."

2. Do not seek to buttress your arguments for or against the use of some varieties of C. sativa by lumping them with all varieties of C. sativa. It is intellectually dishonest and does nothing to further education, discussion or resolution. As the public learns more about these two very different kinds of C. sativa, you will be less credible if you don't distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana varieties.

Industrial hemp advocates:
* Limit your arguments to industrial hemp.
* Whether you are for or against, keep your views on marijuana to yourself.
* Since industrial hemp is not a drug, don't allow the debate on industrial hemp to devolve to drugs. Manufacturers, marketers and sellers of industrial hemp products:
* Don't market industrial hemp products by associating them with marijuana by the use of graphics, slang, turns of phrases, etc. (it has been overdone anyway and is too cute by half).
* Realize that industrial hemp will truly compete in the market because of quality and/or price, not the transient cachet of a product made from taxonomically related (but not intoxicating) varieties of cannabis.

Pro-marijuana (recreational and/or medical) advocates:
* Limit your arguments to marijuana and the benefits you see from its use.
* Don't conflate marijuana with industrial hemp or use "hemp" when you mean "marijuana."
* Conflating the drug and non-drug varieties together in policy debate hinders the effort to recommercialize industrial hemp in the United States.
* If you also favor the use of industrial hemp, don't advocate it in forums where you are advocating marijuana.
* Resist temptation to score debating points by discrediting anti-marijuana advocates for their failure to distinguish industrial hemp and marijuana.
* Not distinguishing between the drug and non-drug varieties leads to the same credibility problems that anti-marijuana advocates have who do the same thing (and you play into the hands of anti-marijuana advocates).
* Don't bank on the domino theory that if industrial hemp is (re)legalized, then marijuana will follow (several other nations have allowed for hemp production without changing their stance on marijuana). Anti-marijuana advocates:
* Limit your arguments to marijuana and the dangers you see from its abuse.
* Acknowledge industrial hemp is, in fact, not a drug (you lose credibility saying that it is-and you play into the hands of pro-marijuana advocates).
* If you continue to insist that industrial hemp is no different than marijuana, you'll be increasingly fighting two opponents (NAIHC won't ally with pro-marijuana advocates, but will oppose anti-marijuana advocates who fail to distinguish industrial hemp from marijuana).
* Don't fear the domino theory that if industrial hemp is legalized, then marijuana will follow (several other nations have allowed for hemp production without changing their stance on marijuana).

The United States of America is an island of denial in a sea of acceptance. Industrial hemp is easily distinguished visually from marijuana. Industrial hemp cannot be abused as a drug. (If users confuse it with marijuana all they will get is a big headache; if traffickers sell it, they will be diluting the marijuana supply.) Industrial hemp is now grown commercially in Canada, France, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Canadian mounties, English bobbies, or French gendarmes can tell the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana and are not concerned. Are American cops less capable? Industrial hemp can be environmentally friendly and a cost-competitive substitute for unsustainable and environmentally harmful supplies of petroleum, cotton, wood and other raw materials. There is money to be made, rural economies to be revitalized, agricultural and industrial processes to be greened. It's time to again grow and use industrial hemp as part of the move from the hydrocarbon economy of today toward the carbohydrate economy of tomorrow.

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