By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in News
Friday, July 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm
|Jill Stein for President|
|Jill Stein: "As a medical doctor myself, I am a strong proponent of legalization"|
Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for President of the United States, has a very clear concept of the mainstream roadblock to marijuana legalization. "We consider marijuana a substance which is dangerous because it is illegal," she told Toke of the Town in an exclusive interview Friday morning. "But it is, in fact, not dangerous; it is far less a health concern than perfectly legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol."
When Stein says so, it perhaps carries a little more weight than if your average politician said it; besides being a mother and a housewife, this 1979 Harvard graduate is a medical doctor. And she believes that marijuana prohibition is a really bad idea.
"We think making marijuana illegal increases the public health threat because it forces people to associate with the underground illegal drug culture," Stein told us. "We are committed to using science in the scheduling of marijuana and hemp, and it's quite clear that if science is brought to bear on this -- it's supposed to be about health and addiction -- marijuana and hemp would not be scheduled substances. We would move quickly to order the DEA to de-schedule marijuana."
That makes Stein one of the clearest thinkers today on the U.S. national political stage when it comes to cannabis. A Presidential candidate who openly acknowledges the need to not reschedule, but DE-schedule cannabis? That's music to my ears.
|Jill Stein for President|
|Jill Stein: "There are potentially powerful nutrients in hemp which should be a part of our food supply"|
Tell us more, Dr. Stein.
"Hemp is a goldmine for nutrition, for agriculture, for manufacturing, for energy," Stein said. "It is an incredibly powerful resource that can stabilize and help revive all of those industries, especial at the local level.
"We see it as a huge resource which should be utilized to help our struggling economy recover," Stein said. "It's not just a huge resource for energy; in terms of agriculture it would be a huge cash crop to help support family farmers and organic farmers, who are really struggling to survive.
"It could make marginalized land productive," she told us. "It should be put to work in order to create jobs. We're talking about 25 million new jobs -- jobs for everybody who needs one. Our plan prioritizes jobs in agriculture and clean manufacturing."
Jobs are one of the main planks in Dr. Stein's platform -- in fact, the right to a job at a living wage is the number one position in her "Green New Deal." Number two is transitioning to a sustainable, green economy (with hemp playing a big part), number three is a financial sector serving Americans (in contrast to the Wall Street robbers currently in charge), and number four is citizen empowerment.
As a physician, Dr. Stein also has perhaps a better understanding than any other national politician when it comes to the essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in hempseed oil.
"Hemp includes very important nutrients, including Omega 3 fatty acids," she said. "It has been banned from research because it is 'so dangerous,' which is certainly not true.
"There are potentially powerful nutrients in hemp which should be a part of our food supply," she told us. "The essential fatty acids are present in hemp, and there are some very unique EFAs that are hard to find outside of hemp.
|Jill Stein for President|
|Jill Stein: "Hemp tends to get taken off the table because pharmaceutical companies can't patent it"|
"We used to get EFAs, the 3's in particular, from wild animals, but since animals have been brought onto the farm and we factory-farm animals now, they are losing their EFA 3 content," Stein explained. "As we farm ocean fish, they are losing their 3's too, so hemp is an important source of a really essential nutrient, because the 3's have disappeared from the food supply.
"Hemp is an extremely valuable way to bring it back into the food supply," Stein said. "Right now people have to send a lot of dollars to Canada or elsewhere instead of supporting American farmers if they want hempseed oil, and there's no good reason for that."
Her medical background also lends Dr. Stein a keen appreciation of the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
"It has some powerful medicinal properties," she said. "Marijuana, particularly as a medical substance, has some very profound and promising possibilities which are poorly understood. We know from everyday experience that for people with a whole variety of illnesses, marijuana is an extremely valuable medication."
With such an effective and promising medication available, why isn't it already legal coast to coast? Because it represents a serious threat to the profits of Big Pharma, according to Stein.
"The pharmaceutical companies eliminating competition that they can't place a patent on is certainly playing into the situation here," she said. ""Hemp tends to get taken off the table because pharmaceutical companies can't patent it. They should not be allowed to impede public access to, and understanding of, the medical value of marijuana.
|Jill Stein for President|
|Jill Stein: "They should not be allowed to impede public access to, and understanding of, the medical value of marijuana"|
"As a medical doctor myself, I am a strong proponent of legalization, especially because people are dying from drug trafficking cartels right now," Stein said. "Illegal marijuana is the workhorse of the illegal drug economy, although it is actually a very healthy thing in so many regards."
The answer to that problem, of course, lies in marijuana no longer being illegal.
"If we regulate and tax it, so that it is not available to young people, bring marijuana into a regulatory framework -- there are so many reasons why this is a win-win for our agriculture, for our economy, for our energy future and for our health benefits," Stein said. "To be using hemp for fiber and for paper instead of cutting down more forests and trees -- there are just so many more benefits here that could be put to work."
According to Stein, hemp prohibition and marijuana prohibition smack of influence peddling.
"The American public could use some good pain control, nausea control for chemotherapy patients, and for nutritional assistance in areas of our diet that are increasingly recognized as deficient," she told us.
"The is a win-win all around; our administration is not run by big money," she said. "We don't take campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists or from CEOs who hire lobbyists. We are not here to preserve the status quo as other lobbyists are."
|Jill Stein for President|
"This election is really important, not only for marijuana legalization, but so that we can have jobs here for everyday people and not huge bailouts to Wall Street and corporate CEOs who are exporting jobs and undermining wages here," Stein said, laying it on the line.
"We really encourage people to stand up and not listen to the propaganda that they don't dare vote for their values," Stein said forcefully. "The truth of the matter is that we don't dare NOT vote for our values, because we are being pushed over a cliff here -- for example, pushing students into debt so they are effectively indentured servants.
"There are many solutions which the American public is clamoring for," Stein said. "We're really encouraging people to stand up before we drift further into a police state and this perpetual state of war which makes us less secure, not more secure."
Stein gave the Obama Administration no slack for its medical marijuana crackdown.
"It's absolutely shameful the way this Democratic administration has attacked the medical marijuana community and has criminalized patients," she said. "It's unconscionable the way the Obama Administration has gone after medical marijuana in states where it's legal."
The Difference Between Green and Libertarian
I asked Dr. Stein about the differences between the Green political philosophy and that of the Libertarians; after all, Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson also advocates marijuana legalization.
"In my view, it's very important to have legalization, but it's also important to have clean water and a climate which is not going to destroy our food supply," Stein pointed out in a stark reminder of the difference between having environmental regulations and not having them.
"The Libertarians are basically willing to let the system go to the dogs," Stein said with a chuckle. "I agree that we all want small government which is close to home and which is run democratically. But the solution to a corrupted government -- a government corrupted by the corporations -- is not to gut the government, because then you would just have the big corporations, unimpeded, running the show."
The solution, rather, according to Stein, is to remove the corporations from the government, as in halting their undue influence and control.
"I know a lot of your readers don't want government intruding in their lives, but they also don't want big corporations intruding in their lives," she pointed out. "We need to dismantle big corporate America as much as we need to dismantle big corporate-controlled government."
Breaking Point or Tipping Point?
"I would say that we're at a breaking point right now," Stein told me. "A breaking point in our health, on our planet, on our jobs, on our food system, on our health care system -- you name it.
"Corporate America and big money have invaded our lives in all kinds of ways, including the Big Government that Corporate America runs," she said. "It's time to stand up and turn that breaking point into a tipping point, and start insisting on a future that belongs to us.
"That includes demanding a system where marijuana is allowed to be grown by local farmers, with local distributors -- and likewise for hemp," Stein said. "These are really resources that can contribute to the revival of our economy, and our health, and our manufacturing sectors.
"It is up to us, because our major political parties are not going to do it for us," she said. "The Democrats have proven to be fairly indistinguishable from the Republicans.
"We have the opportunity in this election to markedly change our future, because so many people are peeling away from the corporate-sponsored politics which is driving is over a cliff," Stein said. "We can do better than that."