The case for legalizing cannabis has taken full stride in California as we approach Election Day. Newer big name proponents for legalization are popping up, to much concern of those who oppose the steps for legalization. As San Franciscans did when they led a revolution to repeal Proposition 8, the initiative to ban gay marriage in California which was recently deemed unconstitutional in the California Supreme Court, Proposition 19 could face some legal hurdles should it get passed from these opponents in court. In this message to those who oppose Proposition 19, it should be stated in a clear and logical voice as to why this measure should be supported in our cash-strapped state, but not only just for taxation of personal cannabis use.
Due to a smear campaign on hemp in 1950, production due to alleged illicit use and dangers caused hemp to become illegal, driving to our present paradigm. An attempt to pass a Proposition 19 back in 1972 was soundly beaten by a two-thirds vote. At our present situation in California, the reinstitution of hemp through legalization can benefit California not only through tax revenues that can be gained from the sales of cannabis and cannabis products, but also through the creation of jobs in growing, milling and manufacturing hemp products for export. That’s right. Another main issue at hand is a re-development of a different kind of “green revolution”.
The hemp plant, when cultivated in the specialized method for creating cannabis that many use for medical and recreational use, had been an industrial workhorse in our country for hundreds of years since the formation of our colonies. At present, hemp has been processed to create paper, rope, cloth, oil, food and building material. The ability for this crop to be renewed at a faster rate, allows for a steady supply. According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC), one acre of hemp can yield 3-8 dry tons of fiber per acre, which is four times what a forest yields(1). In most cases, producing hemp products will allow for saner environmental processes. But what is the connection to San Francisco?
In San Francisco, entrepreneurial venture capitalists can find themselves leading this charge in this green revolution. Green jobs that many Californians have been seeking could be created in manufacturing textiles, paper, wood, as well as food and cosmetics. These goods can then be sold to us locally or produced to export to states and internationally. The same can be said for many other cities in the state, who might have more land to actually grow the product to be sent to these places. But think of the potential to bring about newer types of jobs and to keep in line with AB 32, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act. Those existing jobs that were non-compliant which moved away, can now be replaced with a viable green solution.
These jobs could be created in one of the best places for it here in San Francisco, the Hunter’s Point Shipyard. 700 acres of land waiting to be developed for jobs for residents who live in the community and those willing to build in that community. After a ballot was passed by San Francisco locals to develop this location, toxic clean-up has begun there in stride. San Francisco has been too often on leading edge of shake-ups, let this now become another moment where we can be leaders again in this green revolution.