If ever there was a lesson in why granting power to busy-bodies and petty-tyrants is a bad idea, it is the decades-long federal ban on hemp production. Allowing a small cadre of bureaucrats to rule over whole sections of the earth and its occupants has stunted economic growth by limiting production and employment opportunities. It has largely destroyed the intellectual capital that existed in the United States for hundreds of years and finally there is hope this will end.

Since the 1950s hemp has been considered a controlled substance – despite having negligible levels of THC – and thus farmers have been prohibited from growing hemp for industrial purposes. This hasn’t meant that it cannot be imported, as recent estimates put the annual sales of hemp-based products at roughly half a billion dollars in the United States. You see, hemp is too dangerous to be grown Montana, but it’s perfectly safe when produced in say, Alberta, Canada.

A number of states have attempted to nullify the DEA’s prohibition, but most efforts have been largely fruitless thus far. However, with Colorado’s Amendment 64, one farmer has finally been able to begin the process of harvesting this versatile product once again. This month Ryan Loflin, along with several dozen farm hands, has harvested the first official crop in nearly sixty years, according to Pueblo, Colorado’s KRDO.

Though his harvest was not considered productive, because there were problems “with the plants sex, not enough seed and uncertainty as to how different strains would grow in the arid climate,” Loflin is happy with his work. And he should be.

Even if he’s unable to sell one pound of his crop, the message that the people of the states will no longer be cowed is powerful. Hopefully this will encourage farmers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and others to nullify the DEA’s unconstitutional, ignorant, wrong-headed, policy. What better example of hubris than trying to control humans by outlawing plants found in nature, I can’t imagine.

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