- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Hemp ain't hip

Amid a rise in calls to decriminalize marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Administration and a former federal prosecutor-turned-congressman are taking a zero-tolerance stance against the spread and marketing of all hemp products inhaled or not.

Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, says he supports a recent order by the DEA to remove all hemp products worn, eaten or woven into rope from the nation's store shelves by Feb. 6.

In a letter to DEA Director Asa Hutchinson, Mr. Barr writes that the 1970 Controlled Substances Act clearly states that the primary product in hemp is illegal: "Hemp and marijuana both come from the same plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC as it is commonly referred to, is the active ingredient in marijuana."

Supporters of so-called "industrial hemp" have long argued that were a drug user crazy enough to "smoke rope" in an attempt to get high, he or she would wind up with nothing more than a stomach ache. The amount of THC in industrial hemp is about 0.02 percent, while the potent "smokeable" weed of today has a THC content as high as 4 percent.

Meanwhile, Mr. Barr is blasting attempts by Kennex Ltd., of Canada the largest exporter of hemp seed to America to seek compensation of at least $20 million as a result of the DEA's decision. To ensure the company receives no compensation, Mr. Barr has written to President Bush, asking that all requests from the hemp exporter be dismissed outright.

A member of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Barr calls marijuana a "gateway drug," one that often can lead to the abuse of far more dangerous drugs such as LSD, cocaine and heroin.


Chairman Reynolds?

We've heard that a leading contender for the chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Committee, now that Virginia Rep. Thomas M. Davis III is wrapping up his second successful term at the post, is House Deputy Whip Thomas M. Reynolds of New York.

"He is already working in the field," our source says of the rising two-term congressman. "He was in Bradenton, Florida, this past Friday at a large fund-raiser for Florida Secretary of State [turned-Republican congressional candidate] Katherine Harris in her soon-to-be district. Mrs. Harris not only raises money for Republican candidates around the country, she also attracts the attention of leadership."


Question of curves

Inside the Beltway had observed this week that Ronald Reagan supply-side guru Arthur B. Laffer's economic principles were once so hotly debated that the future wife of NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert revealed that Mr. Russert on the couple's first date actually diagrammed the "Laffer curve," trying to demonstrate that Mr. Reagan's economic numbers didn't add up.

Now, writes one political observer who wishes not to be identified: "Makes one wonder what curve George Stephanopoulos drew for his future wife on their first date?"


Swelling the ranks

"I'm going to ask all of you to work hard this year to bring more people into the Democratic Party. But I wouldn't ask any of you to do something I wouldn't gladly do myself. I want you to know that Dorothy [McAuliffe] and I have done our part, five times now. We're expecting a son in May."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, addressing party faithful at the DNC's winter meeting in Washington.


Tough to compete

Stop the presses: A government agency actually has paid for itself.

The Interior Department collected $11.3 billion in receipts during 2001 almost $1 billion more than its annual budget of $10.4 billion.

The biggest source of income was offshore oil and gas leasing, which brought in $7.2 billion. Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton quips that the department raised more money than all but one federal agency, the Treasury Department "and that's because they have the IRS."


Osama Yo' Mama

Thanks to terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, Ray Stevens, the Grammy Award-winner who with each generational trend brought us "The Streak," "Gitarzan," "Would Jesus Wear a Rolex" and "Ahab the Arab," has his first release since re-signing with Curb Records: "Osama Yo' Mama."

In short, "Osama Yo' Mama" says what most Americans feel: "You in a heap a trouble boy," and "W's gonna gitcha."

The song begins:

Osama yo' mama didn't raise you right

When you were young she must have wrapped yo' turban too tight

She should have kept you home on those Arabian nights

It's plain to see you need some therapy

(Artist and record company royalties are being donated to the United Way relief fund for children of the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks.)

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