Do You Agree with Sen. Rand Paul That Hemp = Jobs? And That Producing Industrial Hemp Should be Legal?

We've called Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) "the most interesting man in the Senate." Granted, when you look at his comrades present and past, you could accuse us of damning him with faint praise.

But he just got even more interesting with his support for legalizing the production of industrial hemp. I don't agree with Paul on everything, but he's more and more looking like the place where the worn-out political dichotomies of right-left/GOP-DEM/conservative-liberal go to die.

He's a socially conservative Christian who wants to end the federal drug war, bring the troops home, and seriously cut spending - not trim future increases in spending, but cut real dollars right now. His latest proposal - let Americans grow their own goddamn hemp instead of forcing us to import the non-psychoactive stuff - makes sense on every level and it's apalling that production of George Washington's favorite crop has been illegal for decades now. Paul's support for industrial hemp (an issue that is traditionally associated with the most far-out folks on the extreme left) is one more indicator that Kentucky's junior senator is scrambling the circuits of politics as usual.

Image HT: Twitter feed of @FreemaninKy

Watch ReasonTV interview the man behind "Hemp History Week":

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  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Yes. Yes.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Also, Frist! And...Secondteen?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    THREETH!!!

  • Mainer2||

    (dammit, missed being firstillion by mere seconds)

  • Mainer2||

    This is just more proof of how kooky libertarians are.
    Why does Paul want everyone to smoke pot ?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I did not know that Paul Rubens was libertarian. Although the signs were there.

  • Atlas Stoned||

    You read an article about industrial hemp production and somehow you conclude Paul wants everyone to smoke pot.

    This is why legalization will never happen.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Really?

  • BakedPenguin||

    This happen to you recently, AS?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    This is why nobody takes libertarians seriously.

  • Beefkins||

    This is why we can't have nice things.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Paul's ongoing refusal to fail to live up to my expectations is unsettling.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Do you mean `live down`?

  • Scotticus Finch||

    No.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I get your point, and share it!

  • Metazoan||

    It might. It would certainly be a more environmentally friendly way to produce a number of materials. It's (from what I hear) cheaper to grow, too, which would help. But while I think this is a great way to go about campaigning, my personal justification lies more along the lines of, whether it "creates jobs" or not, I have the right to do it. I do understand that that won't work for everyone though.

  • John||

    Haven't they genetically engineer hemp to take the THC out of it? I want to say you can't even get high off of the stuff they grow for industrial uses. Is that true? If so, the ban is something beyond retarded.

  • tarran||

    Exactly....

    The rationale for the ban is that it's hard to differentiat the non THC variety from the THC variety by sight.

    My inner conspiracy theorist student of public choice theory says that the purpose was to protect timber interests from competition and the drug prohibition was an excuse.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "The rationale for the ban is that it's hard to differentiat the non THC variety from the THC variety by sight."

    Like one can't simply smell the difference.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Ding ding ding!!

  • robc||

    My understanding is that the reason for the ban is that the pigs cant distinguish. Especially from the air.

    It would be insanely easy to hide pot plants in amongst your hemp crop.

    Not that that justifies anything.

  • John||

    That settles it then. If we allowed this stuff marijuana would flood the market and be available in every high school in America. And we all know it is nearly impossible to get right now.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    No shit - WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN! KEEP POT OUT OF AMERICA!! STILL!!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    PARAQUAT SPRAYING, NOW!!

    /1970s off

  • DaveSs||

    As noted previously on Reason, a lot of times, narcs have a problem distinguishing it from Tomatos, Sunflowers, and numerous other plants while on the ground.

  • Zeb||

    It would also be insanely stupid and counterproductive to hide your pot plants in a hemp crop.

    The drug warriors should be pushing for large scale hemp production. One male hemp plant in the area would ruin an entire outdoor marijuana crop by turning it all to seeds.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Ding ding ding!!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Here's an argument that would win over so-cons and neo-cons. Probably the only one.

  • John||

    I love how the sailor's radio microphone looks like he is inhaling something.

  • tarran||

    That's not a radio microphone. It's a hands-free sound-powered phone rig. And the Navy still uses them.

  • robc||

    My grandfather did exactly that.

  • John||

    So did mine. They grew it all over SW Kansas back in the day. Now it survives in the form of the infamous ditchweed smoked by generations of high school stoners.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "If you can't get a bag, get some schwag."

  • LTC(ret) John||

    They did that in Winnebago County, IL starting in WWI, I think (?) For many a year when I was a kid, the news would report of the "eradication efforts" still on going in the 1970s. Ha!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    What's needed is a "Johnny Pot Seed."

  • Enough About Palin||

    That has crossed my mind. The apple seed guy planted seeds because the goal was hard cider. As it should be.

  • Pagan Priestess||

    Um, Johnny Pot Seed (in his thousands of anonymous incarnations) has been out and about for decades. Where do you think all the pot plants in city planters and police headquarter lobbies come from? But I guess every generation must reinvent the wheel or something like that.

  • SKR||

    I would do this, but I dont smoke pot with seeds anymore.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ha! There's an ad for the "Puffit" vaporizer, which looks like an asthma inhaler. I'm thinking that's good ad placement.

  • ||

    This is bullshit. If God wanted Americans to grow hemp, there'd be subsidies for it.

  • ||

    Corn is the proper American crop. As proven by the massive subsidies.

  • ||

    It's in the Bible.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Blasphemy!! All and sundry know its soybeans in the Bible!1!1!

    /ADM

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Pass the plate and give your subsidy, er, donation to the Lord (of agribusiness).

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I had not thought of that.

    This is why it's good you post here - to think of all this stuff the rest of us forget.

    Plus - assraping Episiarch.

  • ||

    Assraping is such a crude term. It's much more involved than that.

  • John||

    Let me guess. It involves hiking in the Northwest woods alone.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    "Hiking the Appalachian Trail. Is that what you kids politicians are calling it these days?"

    STEVE SMITH LIKE MEET HIKING POLITICIAN. OR EPISIARCH. WHAT LEFT OF EPISIARCH AFTER WARTY DONE.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    I don't want to know any more

    *puts fingers in ears*

    LALALALALALALALALALALALALALA!!!!!

  • Enough About Palin||

    Does it involve sauerkraut?

  • John||

    Damn straight. Tell this hippie to go back where he came from.

  • ||

    Threadwinner!

  • Translucent Chum||

    Next Reason Poll: Do you agree the sun rises in the east?

  • The Craig||

    Now without government!

  • The Craig||

    Damn, not*

  • Christina||

    Kyle: George toked weed, man?

    Slater: Absolutely George toked weed, are you kiddin' me, man? He grew fields of that stuff, man, that's what I'm talkin' about. Fields.

    Kyle: He grew that shit up Mount Vernon, man.

    Slater: Mount Vernon, man? He grew it all over the country, man. He had people growin' it all over the country, you know. The whole country back then was gettin' high. Lemme tell you, man, 'cause he knew he was onto somethin', man. He knew that it would be a good cash crop for the southern states, man, so he grew fields of it, man. But you know what? Behind every good man there is a woman, and that woman was Martha Washington, man, and everyday George would come home, she would have a big fat bowl waiting for him, man, when he come in the door, man, she was a hip, hip, hip lady, man.

  • ||

    Wooderson: Say, man, you got a joint?

    Mitch: No, not on me, man.

    Wooderson: It'd be a lot cooler if you diid.

  • o3||

    i hunted w my grandfather when i was a kid and we walked these RR tracks as a shortcut to the back 40. i noticed what i thought was marijuana growing all along the ditches.

    when i asked gramps, he said the trains carried hemp in boxcars during WW2 and the seeds would scatter along the tracks. the hemp was used for many things including rope, paper, and fabric. hemp is so hardy is grew in RR ditches for decades w no maintenance.

    john - hemp is the male plant w extremely little THC. it is hardy, disease and drought resistant, and has many applications.

    hemp should be legal regardless of the female plant's status.

  • John||

    Thanks Orin. I did not know that.

  • o3||

    course we tried to smoke it as teens. all we got was headaches and coughing fits.

  • John||

    Ditch weed, as it is called where I come from, has a really bad reputation for a reason.

  • Charlotte Sometimes||

    My family owned land along the Little Ark in Kansas and we had ditch weed everywhere. It's great for stopping soil erosion and inducing migraines.

  • Zeb||

    It's not true either and Orin shoudl know it from what he wrote. Seeds generally do not fall off of male plants. Hemp comes in bother genders.

    Contemporary hemp has been bred to have very little THC in either the male or female plant.
    If you let pot plants grow wild for a while, they would also go back to being relatively low in THC.

  • o3||

    i thought about that too. my best guess is that, during the war, little distinction was made bet the male n female plants.

    regardless, over time, the female plants would die off faster (being higher maintenance) leaving the male plants (hemp).

    then the male plants would eventually disappear.

  • SKR||

    That makes absolutely no sense. Hemp is an annual plant. The males provide pollen for the females. The females produce seed. That year's plants die in winter. New plants, both male and female, come up from seed the next year.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Oh sure, Urine - way to "other" and microaggress the female plants, you smug, patriarchal BASTARD!!!

    *walks off in huff*

  • o3||

    well females do require alotta pimping n preening while the males can be cast into RR ditches and do just fine.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "hemp should be legal regardless of the female plant's status."

    My personal take - it's all good.

  • Zeb||

    "hemp is the male plant w extremely little THC"

    That is not true. Where the fuck do you think those seeds your grandpa was talking about came from? Male plants do not produce seeds.

  • o3||

    yea i didnt say that very well. see my above response to zeb.

  • ||

    i thought about that too. my best guess is that, during the war, little distinction was made bet the male n female plants.

    regardless, over time, the female plants would die off faster (being higher maintenance) leaving the male plants (hemp).

    then the male plants would eventually disappear.

    You still don't know what you are talking about.

    yes female plants produce more THC then Males. But you are confusing this with breeds good THC breeds are not the same as good hemp breeds. Also female plants are not hard to grow. Female plants that are kept separate from male plants cultivated and harvested to maximize THC are harder to grow...of course if they are grown with males and just left in a ditch they would probably grow just as well as any other ditch weed...but would not be very good for getting high.

    High THC content is mostly dependent on keeping the female plant unfertilized. Female ditch weed growing in the wild would presumably get fertilized fairly quickly and thus never build up high THC content.

  • Metazoan||

    You shouldn't even need to genetically modify it. Though it would probably be relatively simple (still pretty expensive though) to either knock out THC synthase or knock down its mRNA with some RNAi.

  • SugarFree||

    Low THC strains already exist and are in use in the less backward parts of the world.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The rationale for the ban is that it's hard to differentiat the non THC variety from the THC variety by sight.

    Harder than distinguishing pot plants from Japanese Maples?

  • ||

    One could probably breed a good THC variety from hemp variety fairly quickly.

    Just plant a bunch of seeds let them grow. remove males. Smoke a bud from each of the females, fertilize the best kill the others, collect seeds, and repeat.

    My guess it would not take more then 3 generations to get a good breed.

    Not the skunk but passable.

  • Rasilio||

    Um, no I do not believe that Hemp equals jobs and it is exactly this sort of economic mumbo jumbo that leads politicians into thinking that they can simply create jobs out of nothing.

    This does not mean that industrial Hemp production should not be legalized (it absolutely should) it just means that "job creation" is not a legitimate reason for it.

    Now, why does industrial Hemp not equal jobs? Because there is effectively no pent up unmet demand for the products that could be made from Hemp and there are not any potential new products that could be made from it which could not also be made by other plant fibers so any new Hemp farms would merely supplant other plant fiber farms and the hemp would replace those fibres in the products they were used in meaning that on average the aggregate economic impact would be very close to 0 and any new economic benefit (and the resulting job growth) would arise only from however much more marginally efficient it was to produce Hemp than it is to produce other fibers.

    Over all however, legalization of Industrial Hemp might produce a net positive of few thousand jobs on the national scale and it is equally likely to have either a neutral or even negative impact on jobs/the economy.

  • o3||

    except that hemp is MUCH hardier than cotton and fast-growing trees (pulp) thus requiring MUCH less maintenance and therefore less cost to produce.

  • Rasilio||

    Right, the marginal cost of production would be a gain, however given that Hemp would be supplanting already very low cost commiditized resources the net impact in comsumer prices would be negligible at best, maybe 3 or 4% decrease in prices on products that use (or could use) Hemp at most and with Hemp requiring less maintenance there would obviously be a loss of farm worker jobs or farm machinery supplier jobs counteracting the new new jobs created by a small reduction in a small segment of consumer prices.

    The overall net impact would be very close to 0.

    That said yes, if the ban were lifted only on a State level then yes it could mean an economic boon for that state as it canibalized jobs from other states but iirc the ban is federal and Paul is talking about lifting the ban nationally, not carving out an exception for Kentucky.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Except if hemp is legal in Kentucky and not Kansas, that means jobs in Kentucky producing the material to "supplant other plant fibers" being used in Kansas, right?

    So maybe no net job creation nationally, but screw Kansas. He's Kentucky's Senator, and this is a sensible move that also happens to be a job-creator for Kentucky.

  • John Thacker||

    No, the prediction is that people in Kentucky and Kansas would switch what they're doing now / emigrate to each other's state.

    Macroeconomic predictions of "more jobs" are pretty tricky. Outside of truly idiotic things, or theories of Keynesian stimulus, most of the time you're talking about increasing or decreasing living standards, not jobs.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Rasilio,

    Um, no I do not believe that Hemp equals jobs[...]


    If the market clamors for hemp products, then lifting the prohibition WILL mean jobs.

    new Hemp farms would merely supplant other plant fiber farms[...] meaning that on average the aggregate economic impact would be very close to 0


    Except that economics =/= accounting, you dope. If the market prefers hemp over other fibers, then the substitution will be a net benefit for the economy, as resources are shifted from the less profitable production to the more profitable production. Even if the farms that produce the other fibers see their market shrink, it will be an indication to the farmers (if they're not government-zombified morons) that it is time to produce something else.

    Anyway you want to slice it, people win.

  • Rasilio||

    But you are assuming that the market would prefer Hemp over other possibilities and not merely see it as another equal option to the other options already available.

    Yes Hemp has lower growing costs and can be grown on more marginal land I know that, what is not clear is that it's entire supply chain costs are sufficiently lower to really provide any net differientation.

    Arguing that because the market prefers something it automatically translates into growth and more jobs is specious.

    I do not dispute that Hemp could have some very small benefit as a marginal improvement over cotton and other plant fibers for some uses but that is all it would be, a small marginal benefit and only on a very small segment of the economy. When compared to the national economy the net effect would be so vanishingly small.

    Switching paper production from wood based to hemp based for example is not going to result in a drastic cut in in paper costs because the cost of the wood is a small fraction of the actual paper cost anyway.

    Again, I am not arguing that there are no benefits to legalizing the industrial production of hemp, I'm saying that any net job creation would be so tiny it is not a valid reason to tout the legalization initative.

  • SKR||

    Hemp fibers are imported from Canada. If jobs are displaced they will be Canadian jobs being displaced by American jobs. Fuck Canada.

  • SKR||

    And fuck French farmers too. I think some comes from France.

  • Brandybuck||

    I would not go so far as to say help will create jobs. Economics is much more complex than that. Removing the barrier of prohibition is of course a good thing, but the hype over HEMP=JOBS is overblown. Legalize it because it's the right thing to do. But don't pretend it's the recession ender.

  • Spoonman.||

    I disagree. It would expand the resources available to the economy, helping to make it more productive. More productive means more jobs.

  • John Thacker||

    No, more productive generally means more wealth.

    More productive doesn't really mean more jobs in most cases. Most economic policies in the long term don't mean more jobs or fewer jobs (except for price ceilings and things like that, e.g. minimum wage), they just affect wealth and living standards.

    In the short term, of course, you can be a Keynesian and believe in stimulus creating jobs.

  • Spoonman.||

    Fair enough. "More Jobs" is in the end not a sensible concept.

  • Rasilio||

    But it would not expand the resources available to the economy because there are already resources meeting all the needs that Hemp could fulfill.

    Legalizing Hemp would not be like discovering Oil and Hydrocarbons supplanting Whaling but also having a large number of other uses that Whale Oil was not suitable for thereby creating new markets. Hemp would merely replace some Cotton and other Plant fiber products in existing markets.

    If I am wrong on this please someone provide me with an example of a product Hemp could be used for that could not also be produced with some other competing plant based fiber. If there isn't one then all Hemp gets you is a very small increase in efficiency and likely it's biggest economic benefit would come from being able to be grown on marginal lands that probably would not have been usable for any other crop (if that is even the case).

  • Brandybuck||

    Will this miracle hemp be grown on unutilized acreage? Or will it replace existing crops? If the latter you must take the loss of production of the other crop into account.

  • o3||

    hemp would successfully grow in drought areas where crops are being plowed under

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Farmers switch crops all of the time. All. The. Time.

    WTF are you talking about?

  • ||

    Will this miracle hemp be grown on unutilized acreage? Or will it replace existing crops?

    Both. but probably mostly existing crops. Of course those existing crops are fiber crops and hemp would only replace those that have lower yields then the hemp crop.

    The result would be a net gain.

    Should also point out that 99.9% of the hemp would be grown on privately owned property....and so it is none of your fucking business to begin with.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Brandybuck,

    I would not go so far as to say help will create jobs.


    Lifting a prohibition not lead to jobs? What matter of hemp are you smoking, sir?

  • Rasilio||

    So are you saying that if we lift the prohibitions on rape, murder, and robbery that it would lead to jobs?

  • ||

    I don't agree with Paul on everything, but he's more and more looking like the place where the worn-out political dichotomies of right-left/GOP-DEM/conservative-liberal go to die.

    Because it's an election year and he's saying a bunch of shit to get elected.

  • Scotticus Finch||

    Paul isn't up for re-election until 2014.

  • John Thacker||

    Indeed. And I would expect him to be worse, not better, in a re-election year. At least in the primary.

    All the skepticism of Rand Paul is understandable, even a good idea. But he's so far above the other 99 in the Senate it's not even close.

  • ||

    He was elected in 2010, so he is not up for re-election until 2016 (in time for the next presidential election as well).

  • SKR||

    Oh STFU. Stop being a douchebag.

  • SKR||

    Dammt that was for Rasillio up thread.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Because it's an election year and he's saying a bunch of shit to get elected.

    Just how fucking dumb is this guy?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Another victory in the War on Drugs: Feds bust prison drug ring.

  • Zeb||

    God drug warriors are dumb (assuming, of course, that they are honest about any of their reasons for wanting help to stay outlawed). Even having any large scale hemp growing within a few miles would probably ruin any outdoor marijuana crop.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Why does Rand Paul hate the children?

  • o3||

    because aqua budda said so

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Rand Paul is trying to win votes with his KULTUR WAR moves!

  • OldMexican||

    Do You Agree with Sen. Rand Paul That Hemp = Jobs? And That Producing Industrial Hemp Should be Legal?


    Yes. Next question?

    Follow up, sir?

    No.

    Next?

  • momma||

    Good lord, people, you obviously have a computer...why don't you put it to good use and do some research before you just go posting ignorant comments and look like a bunch of morons! I saw a few comments that the people actually knew what they were talking about but in the beginning, it was all just a bunch of propaganda propelled lies...You can’t get high from industrial hemp…that is everyone’s misconception…Industrial hemp has less than 1% THC. You could smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole and not get high from industrial hemp. I wish everyone would research it…there would be so many more in favor…even with marijuana, it isn’t all about getting high. They even have ways of using it to alleviate pain that don’t get you high at all. You can eat it raw and you don’t get high but still get the benefits from it…helping to prevent strokes, reducing inflammation, etc. In Israel, they grow it so that the THC-CDB ratio is so that it can be used to not get you high even if you do smoke it or vaporize it. It really is a miraculous plant. Look up freetheweedkentucky.com and you can check out its many uses for medicinal purposes.

  • momma||

    will this create jobs? YES!!! Factories…the hemp is best used if it is processed in a factory within 50 miles of where it is grown. Construction of factories…jobs for construction workers, farmers, factory workers. They have done the studies, I just throw out numbers they have thrown at me…Manufacturers from all over the country have written to the agriculture commissioner saying they would locate in Kentucky and contract with farmers to grow hemp if it becomes legal, Comer said. One potential manufacturer would make car dashboards out of hemp, Comer said. He estimates hemp could create 25,000 jobs in Kentucky based on a study from UK in the 1990s. WAKE UP, KENTUCKY! HEMP CAN SAVE OUR COUNTRY...COULD EVEN SAVE OUR WORLD!

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