Yes, the world really has turned upside down: We now have Republicans endorsing cannabis.
Well, not just any kind of cannabis.
Last week, unbeknownst to each other, both U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie endorsed the strain of cannabis popularly known as “industrial hemp.”
What’s going on here? Goodlatte and Gillespie aren’t free-thinking mavericks; they’re the most normal Republicans around. When did Republicans like that turn into hempsters?
To fully understand the answer, we must look at biology — and history. Hemp sure looks like marijuana. Scientifically speaking, it’s the same species. But it’s as different from marijuana as, say, Chihuahuas are from Saint Bernards. The key difference is this: Hemp won’t get you high. Your garden-variety marijuana (we use the term metaphorically, unless you really do have some pot among the petunias) is buzzing with tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that gets you high. Hemp is not.
What hemp is, however, is remarkably strong and versatile. In Colonial times, its fibrous stalks