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The economic and long term potential of hemp is big, in terms of what it can bring to rural communities in decline. Our historic agrarian culture is largely dead, thanks to predatory capitalism that looked at the family farm in terms of efficiency for commodity production on behalf of Wall Street, the AgriBiz behemoths and their friends at the USDA, most notably Nixon’s Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, who is famous for telling small farmers, “Get big or get out,” or to paraphrase “Go fuck yourselves,” and, well, many actually did just that with a gun or length of rope in the barn, while their life’s work of farming went up on the auction block.
This peaked in the 1980s and is now peaking again in places like Wisconsin where the dairy industry is shifting downward, and suicide prevention is one of the new roles for Wisconsin agriculture leaders.
In line with this trend is of course opiate addiction and related rural poverty, largely white, in the south and midwest. So, despite “a robust economy”, the money is not spread evenly and GOP leaders have shown zero interest in doing anything other than the age-old practice of making their rich friends even richer, often with the full backing of poor people. For conservatives, that’s heaven, and speaking of heaven, the evangelicals are all too willing to make a move to rural areas where desperate folks can be saved and taught to see the evils of liberalism, tolerance, racial diversity, labor unions and science.
Q: Could a massive new hemp economy somehow make an impact? And what about urban poverty?
A: Yes, hemp can make an impact. And yes, young city kids of color would enjoy an opportunity to live on a farm, work hard and make money.
All it takes is money, commitment and education. All three are available, just not where they need to be, not yet.