Hemp Notebook: Hemp’s scramble to distance itself from marijuana veers into misinformation

(This is an abridged version of a column that appears in the July issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

Not all hemp misinformation comes from anti-drug enemies of cannabis; some of it comes from hemp acolytes themselves.

A recent comment from hemp’s most powerful friend in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, drove home for me a nagging problem in hemp advocacy.

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was asked by Capitol reporters last spring whether his support for hemp extended to marijuana, another variant of the cannabis sativa plant.

No way, he said.

Hemp and marijuana? “Two entirely separate plants,” McConnell proclaimed.

“It is a different plant,” he went on. “It has an illicit cousin, which I choose not to embrace.”

Problem is, the argument isn’t exactly true.

Hemp and marijuana? They’re not entirely separate plants.

If hemp is a golden retriever, marijuana is a Rottweiler. They may look and act different, but they’re both dogs.

If someone wants to promote golden retrievers? Awesome. But if they do it by demonizing Rottweilers? Not as cool.

Hemp’s long road to political acceptance has relied heavily on selling the plant’s distinction from marijuana. “Hemp can’t get you high!” advocates repeat over and over.

But to argue that hemp is “entirely separate” from marijuana is to ignore botany.

Click here to read more about marijuana-style regulations coming to the hemp industry.

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