J. D. Heyes
July 28, 2013
If you think civics class and studying the Constitution wasn’t important in junior high, you missed out on some really good life training. Civics, you might remember, is “the study of the theoretical and practical aspects of citizenship, its rights and duties; the duties of citizens to each other as members of a political body and to the government.” It is also “the study of civil law and civil code, and the study of government with attention to the role of citizens – as opposed to external factors – in the operation and oversight of government.”
Enter hemp. Yes, hemp.
An education in civics would permit you to understand why, for instance, our founders established a form of government that enumerated only a few specific powers to the federal government, leaving all others “to the states respectively, or to the people” (from the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) . Those of you who have taken civics clearly understand our framers’ original intent regarding state and federal power, and as a result will also very clearly see the point of this story – that the question of growing hemp (or not) is an issue for citizens of each state to decide, not some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C.
As the headline suggests, hemp is permissible to grow in several states, but doing so is against federal law because the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has improperly been given regulatory authority over substances and plants like hemp  (and the DEA treats hemp the same as marijuana, though hemp is marijuana’s poor cousin and contains only a fraction of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana).
If our constitutional system still functioned, citizens of these states  would not have to fear arrest, fines and detention by an overzealous federal government for growing hemp because under our framers’ constitutional system, sovereign states were supposed to be free – short of violating specific constitutional provisions – to largely govern themselves. They would not have to deal with an overzealous federal agency whose unconstitutional regulations carry the force of law. Their citizens  should be free to decide for themselves if they want to allow the growth of hemp. Or marijuana. Or any variety of plants.
But that, of course, is nothing but a pipe dream these days. So many of our citizens have no clue about civics – most of them have never even been taught civics courses because they are systematically disappearing from our primary school classrooms – so they don’t realize that at our country’s founding, the feds  were in no position to object to states doing any number of things its citizens chose to do – like Vermont, which recently set up rules so farmers there could grow hemp.
Only, no one is growing it because they’re afraid of being busted.
“It’s literally betting the farm,” Tom Murphy, national outreach coordinator for the group “Vote Hemp,” which is pushing to have authority for growing hemp put back in the hands of states, where it belongs, told The Associated Press. Anyone who even contemplates growing it or buys the seeds could face a raid by the DEA , and nobody wants to risk that.
While it’s unclear whether the Obama regime would even enforce the anti-hemp law – remember, Obama isn’t enforcing federal laws against smoking and growing marijuana passed last November by Colorado and Washington State – there is always that concern.
Civics students know, hemp is a states’ rights issue
But clearly, the hemp movement is gaining steam. From AP:
So far, 19 states have passed hemp legislation, including nine that allow its production. Eight states have passed bills calling for the study of hemp, while three states passed bills setting up commissions or authorizing the study of it, according to Vote Hemp.
Hemp has been grown in the U.S. in the past to make rope, fabric and even the paper that [was] used to draft the Declaration of Independence. The country even launched a “Hemp for Victory” campaign during World War II as supplies for other overseas fibers dwindled.
This is an issue for states and their citizens to decide. It is not an issue for the federal government. Those who have had a civics class know that.