Other Campuses: Activist to tout benefits of industrial hemp at U. Arkansas

By Arkansas Traveler

(U-WIRE) FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Jack Herer, author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” will be visiting the University of Arkansas from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a benefit concert at Georges Majestic Lounge at 8 p.m.

Herer’s book is a historical record of cannabis and the conspiracy against marijuana. Herer is the most widely-known marijuana/hemp activist. He has collected thousands of signatures for various legalization initiatives for more than 30 years and was sent to federal prison in the ’80s for registering people to vote after dark on federal property.

“We’re really excited to have such a well-known expert,” said National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws member Madison Bennett (NORML).

It is important to note the differences between hemp and cannabis. The term “hemp” is used to describe industrial varieties that contain very small amounts of THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical in marijuana.

The term “marijuana” is used to describe the flower of the cannabis plant, the part that is traditionally smoked. There are three species of the cannabis plant: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis, hemp and marijuana have been illegal in the United States since the 1937 Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was passed.

“The Emperor Wears No Clothes” describes how hemp can be used for textiles and fabrics, fiber and pulp paper, rope, twine and cordage, art canvas, paints and varnishes, lighting oil, biomass energy, medicine, food oils and protein, building materials and housing, smoking, leisure and creativity.

The medicinal uses of the cannabis plant are extensive, and have been used to treat asthma, glaucoma, tumors, nausea relief (AIDS, cancer therapy), epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, back pain, muscle spasms, antibiotic CBD disinfectants, arthritis, herpes, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep, relaxation, therapeutic emphysema and Alzheimer’s disease.

The university chapter of NORML is hosting Jack Herer and had originally scheduled Eddy Lepp, another marijuana activist, to visit Fayetteville, Ark. However, Lepp is currently incarcerated, after being arrested for growing medical marijuana in Upper Lake County, Calif. Lepp faces four life sentences in prison, two 20-year sentences and $17 million in fines. Eddy was the first person arrested, tried and acquitted under California’s Medical Marijuana Law PROP 215. His most recent arrest is his fourth.

Seven states have sponsored hemp studies, including Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Hawaii. The Arkansas Legislature passed Senate Resolution 13 in 1999, allowing the university to research hemp, but no major study is complete.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t grow industrial hemp. Legally, American farmers could grow hemp, if they could grow it without leaves and flowers.

Herer offers $100,000 to anyone who can prove any fact in his book false. It has not happened yet, and the book is in its 11th edition.

The book concludes that if all fossil fuels and their derivatives, as well as trees for paper and construction, were banned in order to save the planet, reverse the Greenhouse Effect and stop deforestation, cannabis, hemp and marijuana — known, renewable, natural resources — would provide the overall majority of the world’s paper and textiles and meet all of the world’s transportation, industrial and home energy needs, while reducing pollution, rebuilding soil and cleaning the atmosphere all at the same time.

NORML is co-sponsoring an Earth Day Concert at the Greek Theater on April 22 and is participating in the Global Marijuana March on May 7 on Dickson Street.

NORML is also planning Decriminalization and Medical Marijuana Initiatives for Fayetteville in 2006. The University of Missouri NORML Chapter was successful in similar initiatives last November. Other cities, including Ann Arbor, Mich., have decriminalized marijuana on a municipal level.

NORML organizer Ryan Denhan said the organization has grown considerably in the last year. NORML meets every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the northwest corner meeting room on the cafeteria level of the Union. Its Web site is norml.uark.edu.

-Stephen Coger