Senator Rand Paul and Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer are teaming up to fight a battle over industrial hemp. Since the plant, which is great for making all sorts of products, is a cousin to marijuana, it remains banned in the United States.
Hemp is one of the great examples of the failure of the War on Drugs. An attempt to control citizens’ behavior has eliminated the use of a crop good for making a number of useful products. Seriously, go look at that list.
Senator Paul is making the argument that federal regulations are impeding his state’s agriculture industry. And while he’s absolutely right – there’s a lot of money to be made from growing hemp – it’s important to realize that isn’t the primary reason we should be fighting for the legalization of hemp.
We should be fighting for the legalization of hemp because prohibition is wrong.
The fact that it can be used to make quality clothing doesn’t matter. The fact that it can be used to make strong ropes doesn’t matter. The fact that it can be used for anything doesn’t matter.
If somebody wants to grow hemp just for the sake of growing it – with no useful intent whatsoever – it should be legal. That’s called freedom, and freedom for the sake of freedom something we should be pressing toward more often.
Though Senator Paul has a valid argument in calling for legalizing hemp to aid in growing Kentucky’s agricultural business and creating jobs, we should remember that fighting for freedom to grow hemp – simply for the freedom to do it – is all the reason we really need.
Growing up in the South, you’d often hear stories about how kids in rural areas had to get up in the morning and help around the family farm before heading off to school and hitting the books. While those stories aren’t as frequent now that the agriculture industry has declined, this is still somewhat the case in many places in the United States.
But due to child labor laws, the Department of Labor is weighing a ban on kids working on their family farms:
A proposal from the Obama administration to prevent children from doing farm chores has drawn plenty of criticism from rural-district members of Congress. But now it’s attracting barbs from farm kids themselves.
The Department of Labor is poised to put the finishing touches on a rule that would apply child-labor laws to children working on family farms, prohibiting them from performing a list of jobs on their own families’ land.
Under the rules, children under 18 could no longer work “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials.”
“Prohibited places of employment,” a Department press release read, “would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
Rossie Blinson, a 21-year-old college student from Buis Creek, N.C., told The Daily Caller that the federal government’s plan will do far more harm than good.
“The main concern I have is that it would prevent kids from doing 4-H and FFA projects if they’re not at their parents’ house,” said Blinson.
“I started showing sheep when I was four years old. I started with cattle around 8. It’s been very important. I learned a lot of responsibility being a farm kid.”
Note: This is a revision of a previous article that was entitled “Falling Prices: Why is Food Not Part of This Trend?”. The author has made the revisions to reflect the fact that crop commodities are in fact deflating, while maintaining that agriculture subsidies did in fact play a role in pushing the prices artificially high, prior to the current correction.