HIGHTOWER: Drug War Stupidity
America's drug war is so stupid that if you pay close attention to just how stupid it is ... it'll drive you to use drugs.How stupid is it? Ask Jean Laprise, a Canadian farmer. He raises industrial hemp, which is a cousin of marijuana, though hemp can't make you high because it contains so little of THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gives marijuana its oomph. Instead, hemp is used to make an astonishing array of products -- from paper to building materials, from food to biodegradable plastic, from beer to birdseed.Birdseed is what got Laprise in trouble with America's Drug Enforcement Agency, which gives new meaning to the term bird brained. He shipped to a U.S. customer a 20-ton load of birdseed that included hemp seed in the mix. The hemp seed is high in nothing but protein and is good for birds and people, but the DEA got wind of Laprise's shipment and had the whole load impounded, saying it contained a trace of the dreaded THC.Let me give you three numbers. Marijuana must have at least 4 percent THC to get anyone high. Industrial hemp is only 1 percent THC, so you can't get high on it. Laprise's birdseed mix tested out with a THC content of 0.0014 -- one fourteen-thousandths of a percent. Even a bird couldn't get a buzz on that.To compound this raw stupidity, the DEA demanded that Laprise recall 17 loads of hemp-based products he had earlier shipped to the U.S. Associated Press reports that this recall included hemp seed used by Nutiva, a California company that makes granola bars. As a result, Nutiva had to suspend production, forcing a layoff at the company. Also, a wholesaler was about to pick up Nutiva's bar for national distribution, but backed out of the deal after it learned that the DEA was messing with the company.This is Jim Hightower saying ... What the hell is the DEA smoking?