Welcome to an astounding talk
given in 1990 by Hugh Downs on ABC News Radio in New York.
To see the original transcript with the footnotes, please go to the
site we borrowed this from :
Last checked, link no longer working.
Below the transcript you will find the commentary from Dave at that
Transcript of Hugh Downs' commentary on hemp, for ABC News, NY,
Voters in the state of Alaska recently made marijuana illegal again
for the first time in 15 years. If Alaska turns out to be like the other
49 states, the law will do little to curb use or production. Even the drug
czar himself, William Bennett, has abandoned the drug war now that his
'test case' of Washington, D.C., continues to see rising crime figures
connected with the drug industry.
Despite the legal trend against marijuana, many Americans continue
to buck the trend. Some pro-marijuana organizations in fact tell us that
marijuana, also known as hemp, could, as a raw material, save the U.S.
economy. That's some statement. Not by smoking it--that's a minor issue.
Would you believe that marijuana could replace most oil and energy needs?
That marijuana could revolutionize the textile industry and stop foreign
imports? Those are the claims.
Some people think marijuana, or hemp, may be the epitome of yankee
Mr. Jack Herer, for example, is the national director and founder
of an organization called HEMP (that's an acronym for 'Help End Marijuana
Prohibition') located in Van Nuys, California. Mr. Herer is the author
of a remarkable little book called, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, wherein,
not surprisingly, Mr. Herer urges the repeal of marijuana prohibition.
Mr. Herer is not alone. Throughout the war on drugs, several organizations
have consistently urged the legalization of marijuana. High Times magazine
The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws or NORML for
short, and an
organization called BACH--the Business Alliance for Commerce in
But the reason the pro-marijuana lobby want marijuana legal has little
to do with getting high, and a great deal to do with fighting oil giants
like Saddam Hussein, Exxon and Iran. The pro-marijuana groups claim that
hemp is such a versatile raw material, that its products not only compete
with petroleum, but with coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, pharmaceutical,
timber and textile companies.
It is estimated that methane and methanol production alone from hemp
grown as biomass could replace 90% of the world's energy needs. If they
are right, this is not good news for oil interests and could account for
the continuation of marijuana prohibition. The claim is that the threat
hemp posed to natural resource companies back in the thirties accounts
for its original ban.
At one time marijuana seemed to have a promising future as a cornerstone
of industry. When Rudolph Diesel produced his famous engine in 1896, he
assumed that the diesel engine would be powered by a variety of fuels,
especially vegetable and seed oils. Rudolph Diesel, like most engineers
then, believed vegetable fuels were superior to petroleum. Hemp is the
most efficient vegetable.
In the 1930s the Ford Motor Company also saw a future in biomass
fuels. Ford operated a successful biomass conversion plant, that included
hemp, at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan. Ford engineers extracted
methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl-acetate and creosote. All fundamental
ingredients for modern industry and now supplied by oil-related industries.
The difference is that the vegetable source is renewable, cheap and
clean, and the
petroleum or coal sources are limited, expensive and dirty. By volume,
30% of the hemp seed contains oil suitable for high-grade diesel fuel as
well as aircraft engine and precision machine oil.
Henry Ford's experiments with methanol promised cheap, readily renewable
fuel. And if you think methanol means compromise, you should know that
many modern race cars run on methanol.
About the time Ford was making biomass methanol, a mechanical device
to strip the outer fibers of the hemp plant appeared on the market. These
machines could turn hemp into paper and fabrics quickly and cheaply.
Hemp paper is superior to wood paper. The first two drafts of the U.S.
constitution were written on hemp paper. The final draft is on animal skin.
Hemp paper contains no dioxin, or other toxic residue, and a single acre
of hemp can produce the same amount of paper as four acres of trees.
The trees take 20 years to harvest and hemp takes a single season. In warm
climates hemp can be harvested two even three times a year. It also grows
in bad soil and restores the nutrients.
Hemp fiber-stripping machines were bad news to the Hearst paper manufacturing
division, and a host of other natural resource firms. Coincidentally, the
DuPont Chemical Company had, in 1937, been granted a patent on a sulfuric
acid process to make paper from wood pulp. At the time DuPont predicted
their sulfuric acid process would account for 80% of their business for
the next 50 years.
Hemp, once the mainstay of American agriculture, became a threat
to a handful of
corporate giants. To stifle the commercial threat that hemp posed
to timber interests,
William Randolph Hearst began referring to hemp in his newspapers,
by its Spanish name, 'marijuana.' This did two things: it associated the
plant with Mexicans and played on racist fears, and it misled the public
into thinking that marijuana and hemp were different plants.
Nobody was afraid of hemp--it had been cultivated and processed into
usable goods, and consumed as medicine, and burned in oil lamps, for hundreds
of years. But after a campaign to discredit hemp in the Hearst newspapers,
Americans became afraid of something called marijuana.
By 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed which marked the beginning
of the end of the hemp industry. In 1938, Popular Mechanics ran an article
about marijuana called, 'New Billion Dollar Crop.' It was the first
time the words 'billion dollar' were used to describe a U.S. agricultural
product. Popular Mechanics said,
. . . a machine has been invented which solves a problem more
than 6,000 years old. . . .
. . . is designed for removing the fiber-bearing cortex from
of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without a
amount of human labor.
Hemp is the
standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and
It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products
rope, to fine laces, and the woody 'hurds' remaining after
has been removed, contain more than seventy-seven per cent
and can be used to produce more than 25,000 products
dynamite to cellophane.
Well since the Popular Mechanics article appeared over half a century
ago, many more applications have come to light. Back in 1935, more than
58,000 tons of marijuana seed were used just to make paint and varnish
(all non-toxic, by the way). When marijuana was banned, these safe paints
and varnishes were replaced by paints made with toxic petro-chemicals.
In the 1930s no one knew about poisoned rivers or deadly land-fills or
children dying from chemicals in house paint. People did know something
about hemp back then, because the plant and its products were so common.
All ships lines were made from hemp and much of the sail canvas.
(In fact the word 'canvas' is the Dutch pronunciation of the Greek word
for hemp, 'cannabis.') All ropes, hawsers and lines aboard ship, all rigging,
nets, flags and pennants were also made from marijuana stalks. And so were
all charts, logs and bibles.
Today many of these items are made, in whole or in part, with synthetic
petro-chemicals and wood. All oil lamps used to burn hemp-seed oil until
the whale oil edged it out of first place in the mid-nineteenth century.
And then, when all the whales were dead, lamplights were fueled by petroleum,
and coal, and recently radioactive energy.
This may be hard to believe in the middle of a war on drugs, but
the first law concerning marijuana in the colonies at Jamestown in 1619,
ordered farmers to grow Indian hemp. Massachussetts passed a compulsory
grow law in 1631. Connecticut followed in 1632. The Chesapeake colonies
ordered their farmers, by law, to grow marijuana in the mid-eighteenth
century. Names like Hempstead or Hemphill dot the American landscape and
reflect areas of intense marijuana cultivation.
During World War II, domestic hemp production became crucial when
the Japanese cut off Asian supplies to the U.S. American farmers (and even
their sons), who grew marijuana, were exempt from military duty during
World War II. A 1942 U.S. Department of Agriculture film called Hemp For
Victory extolled the agricultural might of marijuana and called for hundreds
of thousands of acres to be planted. Despite a rather vigorous drug
crackdown, 4-H clubs were asked by the government to grow marijuana for
seed supply. Ironically, war plunged the government into a sober reality
about marijuana and that is that it's very valuable.
In today's anti-drug climate, people don't want to hear about the
commercial potential of marijuana. The reason is that the flowering top
of a female hemp plant contains a drug. But from 1842 through the 1890s
a powerful concentrated extract of marijuana was the second most prescribed
drug in the United States. In all that time the medical literature didn't
list any of the ill effects claimed by today's drug warriors.
Today, there are anywhere from 25 to 30 million Americans who smoke
marijuana regularly. As an industry, marijuana clears well more than $4
billion a year. [This must have been a misreading of his notes--for 1990,
the minimum figure would have been at least $40 billion for the entire
nation. (phone interview with Jack Herer)] Obviously, as an illegal business,
none of that money goes to taxes. But the modern marijuana trade only sells
one product, a drug. Hemp could be worth considerably more than $4 [$40]
billion a year, if it were legally supplying the 50,000 safe products the
proponents claim it can.
If hemp could supply the energy needs of the United States, its value
inestimable. Now that the drug czar is in final retreat, America
has an opportunity to, once and for all, say farewell to the Exxon Valdez,
Saddam Hussein and a prohibitively expensive brinkmanship in the desert
sands of Saudi Arabia.
This is Hugh Downs, ABC News, New York.
Our Source Page for this transcript was : http://www.ratical.com/
Article: 983 of sgi.talk.ratical
From : Dave
Subject: Hemp: Lifeline to the Future - Exercising
Our Appropriate Intelligence
Summary: hemp is the world's premier renewable
Keywords: renewable, cheap, clean instead of
limited, dirty, expensive
Organization: Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1993 17:49:31 GMT
HEMP, THE PLANT THAT CAN SAVE MOTHER EARTH
This is a transcript of a remarkable commentary
on hemp, the world's premiere
renewable natural resource, by journalist and
commentator, Hugh Downs,
speaking for ABC News Radio out of New York in
Mr. Downs did his homework exceedingly well for
this report--he succeeded in including a great deal of useful information
in the short timespan of only nine minutes, forty seconds. Seeking to leverage
off the clarity of his research, nine footnotes have been added to the
text to provide people with a cross-section of the reference material substantiating
the facts Mr. Downs articulates.
It is my hope that people will be motivated and
inspired by the facts contained herein. Since the
mid-1930s, this society has been reduced to an
infantile status concerning an appreciation of the
tens of thousands of uses of the vegetable hemp.
Simply by changing the way we have been taught
to think about this plant, we can clear away
the stagnant, constipated, tired and inappropriate
thinking inhibiting some of the very best qualities
of human innovation, creativity, and
resourcefulness for more than half century.
As the documentation below explains, the uses
of cannabis hemp are as varied and multi-faceted
as any of us could ever possibly imagine or hope
for. This plant can indeed provide us solutions to
MANY of the critical imbalances we as an industrial
culture have created in the brief span of the
past few hundred years. From the production of
all forms of paper products, to plastics as tough
as steel, to fuel that can replace all oil, gas,
coal and nuclear power consumption, to a rich source
of vegetable oil and protein, to all manner and
form of fabrics and textiles, to medicinal products
for the management of pain, chronic neurologic
diseases, convulsive disorders, migraine headache,
anorexia, mental illness, and bacterial infections,
to 100% non-toxic paints and varnishes, to
lubricants, to building materials that can replace
dry wall and plywood, to carpets, rope, laces,
sails, . . . the list rolls on and on and on.
And the only thing that prevents us from once
again employing this premiere raw raw material is
the way we have learned to think about hemp:
'You can't use it--it's illegal.'
'Even if we could save the planet's life systems
by changing that?'
'That's right.' This is the kind of frozen, devolutionary
thinking we must expand our conscious
awareness out beyond to once again encompass
the capacity for hopes and dreams of the kind of
world we want to, and can, provide our great-grandchildren's
Trust your own infinite intelligence and creativity.
There is NO LIMIT to what we as sentient
beings can do to change the world for the betterment
of all. All we need to appreciate is that any
and all change starts with how we consider or
think about the world. We can stop cutting down
ALL trees used for making paper and fuel; stop
extracting and consuming petroleum we continue
to spill into the oceans, as well as be partially
consumed and end up forever in the atmosphere
destroying the protective screen from the sun
that has existed for millions of years; we can stop
burning coal and begin to end the recently created
phenomenon of acid rain; we can stop
unearthing uranium and transmuting it into the
most deadly man-made substance known to human
beings. None of these limited, dirty and expensive
forms of energy sources need be relied on
anymore. The choice and decision is all of ours
to make and implement.
Teach yourselves and all you know or meet about
this lifeline to our collective future. Send copies
of this post to elected/appointed officials asking
them why cannabis hemp/marijuana prohibition
laws are allowed to stand when this premier natural
resource can truly save the planet, ourselves
and all future generations of all life on Mother
Earth. The 'leaders' will eventually have to follow
and change course from the current going 'alternative'
of 'lemming death.'
' Locate the blind spot in the
culture--the place where the culture isn't
it dare not--because if it were to look there, its previous
values would dissolve.'
To see more of the conspiracy against hemp,
and why, please visit this astounding article,
it will show you the power of newspapers to
feed America false information at the behest
of the corporate rapers :
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