“He was very concerned that people could smoke hemp and get high (you can’t). I told him well maybe but it would have to be the size of a telephone pole. I think he’s still confused”
The hardest part of legalizing hemp in the U.S. might have been explaining the plant to Mitch McConnell.
Senator Paul Rand took to Twitter this Christmas, as he does every year, to air his Festivus grievances and point out that Congress actually did get some work done in 2019, according to Marijuana Moment. Making the list was the long-awaited legalization of hemp — something that could have only been accomplished with the help of the Senate Majority Leader.
“Congress does do some good things,” Paul wrote. “For example, I partnered with Mitch McConnell over the last few years to legalize hemp, which has been a pretty big success. But you should have seen the first meeting we had where I explained what hemp was to Mitch.
“He was very concerned that people could smoke hemp and get high (you can’t). I told him well maybe but it would have to be the size of a telephone pole. I think he’s still confused.”
Hemp is the non-intoxicating cousin of the cannabis plant. Although the two are similar in appearance, one could smoke an entire field of hemp and not get high. But it is because of their similarities that the federal government insisted that hemp remain illegal for so many decades. The concern was that the crop could be used as a front for criminal organizations dealing in black market cannabis commerce.
Hemp is also a massive part of American history. It was grown by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson back in the good old days and is perhaps one of the most versatile fibres known to man. It can be used to produce things such as clothing, food, construction materials and fuel.
It is, therefore, a little disappointing to hear that McConnell confused the crop with cannabis, but he sure isn’t the first to do so. From the New York police seizing (and bragging!) after confiscating the wrong crop, to wayward thieves stealing from the wrong farmers to poor police sniffer dogs who have found themselves out of work, confusion has proven too common.
It also explains why McConnell’s nickname isn’t Marijuana Mitch. “I feel responsible though because after all of this, he became ‘Cocaine Mitch,’” Paul said, referring to the moniker the majority leader earned after a report the family of the Senator’s wife was connected to a cocaine smuggling controversy.
“So maybe Cannabis is a gateway drug after all…” Paul wrote. “I’m kidding stoners. Don’t @ me.”
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Written by David Yasvinski