My Thoughts On Cannabis

March 5, 2019 08:07 AM
My personal view is there are many good uses for cannabis today that have nothing to do with recreational drug use.

Growing up, my family’s southwest Missouri farm produced the usual things for the area: corn, soybeans, hay and beef cattle. It also grew something else: cannabis.


Before your mind goes in too many directions that it shouldn’t, let me assure you it was not a cultivated crop. Not at all. Instead, the cannabis grew wild on about 10 acres around our barn.


The plants were hardy. In the summer, they grew tall and thick—dense enough I could play hide-and-go-seek in them with my cousins, and we did.


At some point, when I was in high school, the county sheriff’s department started bringing a group of inmates out once a summer to dig up the plants and burn them in small piles in the field next to the barn.


No, I never tried smoking any of the cannabis. Besides, if I had and my little Baptist mother found out, she would have cut a switch off the Maple tree by our house and whooped my backside, or much worse, told me how disappointed she was in me.


Eventually, fewer and fewer cannabis plants grew each year, and the sheriff’s department stopped coming out to our farm to burn them.


I never knew the origin of the cannabis. My best guess would be that it was industrial hemp, which was widely grown at one time in Missouri and used extensively for rope. Industrial hemp doesn’t contain enough of the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to produce a high.


Why am I telling you this piece of personal history? Well, because of my experiences growing up , I’ve struggled with the idea of cannabis production of any kind (teenagers’ teasing could be cruel). I know many of you have, too, because I’ve read your emails and listened to you on the phone. We know from Farm Journal surveys 56% of farmers believe there’s a stigma to growing cannabis, yet 48% of farmers are interested in growing it.


I’m right there with you. Where I’m netting out, my personal view, is there are many good uses for cannabis today that have nothing to do with recreational drug use. Scientists say cannabis has great potential medically to address some of the deadliest diseases and afflictions of our time, including many forms of cancers, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.


I’m not advocating for you or any farmer to produce and market cannabis. What I do hope, however, is you will read about the various forms of cannabis and how they’re used today. Talk to experts. Educate yourself, and then make an informed decision that’s right for you, your family and your farm operation.


As for Farm Journal, we’ll continue to report on cannabis and where production is headed in the U.S. I hope you will follow our ongoing coverage in the magazine as well as online at


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Spell Check

3/5/2019 09:30 AM

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Wade water
Lafayette, IN
3/7/2019 07:20 AM

  This is all interesting. Industrial hemp is not dope. It was wrongly outlawed to raise it years ago and only now ok by society because many want the real dope legal. As a teen of the 80's we were taught the ditch weed was horrible stuff and you were a outcast of society if you smoked it. The reason Chech and Chong needed a dubbie the size of their arm was because it was the old ditch weed low in high. This new stuff raised for the high is apparently really strong stuff and probably the most dangerous it has ever been. I see no reason not to raise industrial hemp, nor do I understand why it was ever illegal to do so with what we understand now. What I do have a problem with is the real dope being legal for recreational use. Hell, I can show you the burn outs from the low high ditch weed from yesteryear that never did mount to anything. We drank alcohol underage and many still drink probably to much today from my generation. At least it was legal at 21. What I find interesting is how my children generation finds alcohol for the low life's, as we used to view pot when we were their age. They are on board with pot but not alcohol. I guess when the final rule book is written, someone tell me what is right and what is wrong as I have no idea anymore.


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