Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pushing hemp in Ripon

I'm going to come right out and say it: I think the United States should decriminalize marijuana. Yep, it's true, and I don't even smoke the stuff (anymore). Research and smarter folks than I have all shown that its medicinal and therapeutic effects all greatly outweigh its dangers (which are either less than or on par with the perfectly legal cigarette). And frankly, most of the "facts" that the current laws are based on are of the "Reefer Madness" era of weedaphobia and not on modern science.

Anyway, it turns out Madison isn't the only bastion of pro-hemp activists in the state. Apparently we're not totally alone, and are surrounded by a few scattered patches of reality.

The Wisconsin Hemp Order, a group originally founded in 1917 to promote the hemp growing industry in the state at the time, will be re-convening this Thursday in Ripon, Wisconsin, on the group's 90th anniversary.

The Wisconsin Hemp Order

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: Old White Schoolhouse
Street: Blackburn St. (US 23)
City/Town: Ripon, WI

Contact Info
Phone: 608.442.8830
Email: bmasel@tds.net


The Wisconsin Hemp Order was originally formed Oct. 18, 1917 in Ripon, WI to promote the industry in the State. We'll be gathering on the 90th Anniversary, in Ripon's Old White Schoolhouse, birthplace of the Republican Party, to mark the Anniversary and re-form the Organization.

Keynoting will be Dr. David West, plant geneticist, and the most recent holder of a Hemp license from the DEA.

Dr. Dave's Hemp Archive click here

(The focus of this event is on fiber, oilseed, etc. uses, not medical or recreational uses of cannabis.)

In addition to this being an interesting and fun event, I've also learned something new today. I had no idea that the Old White Schoolhouse in Ripon could lay claim to the earliest formation of the Republican Party. It's especially fascinating to note that the party was originally formed as a radical reaction against the Nebraska Act, which formed new territories wherein the practice of slavery would be allowed if the residents so chose (and led to the episode known as Bleeding Kansas, a sort of pre-Civil War conflict of rather stunning proportions). The people who created the Republican Party thought that the expansion of slavery into any new lands was completely unacceptable and made this belief one of their central platforms in the first series of elections they ran in.

Abraham Lincoln was, of course, the first Republican president. What's ironic is that this party that stood as a progressive and rather radical force has since degenerated into the status-quo loving, regressive and exclusionary group that it mostly is today.

Still, I'd be curious to see this little schoolhouse with its slice of the political history pie. And I'm glad to hear that it's being used for the type of progressive cause that the original Republicans might have gotten behind.

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