Readers’ Forum, Dec. 1, 2021: Corporate interests will always control marijuana market | Letters To The Editor

Corporate interests will always control marijuana market

Brian Howey’s article of Nov. 20, 2021, is basically correct but it ignores certain salient background facts. Marijuana legalization has lagged in Indiana for reasons other than simple conservative inertia or Holcomb’s (and before him, Pence’s) over-weening hewing to federal law. It reflects the power dynamic of the “white boys’ mafia” that actually makes decisions like this in Indiana.

In the 1920s, Indiana based Eli Lilly corporation grew the best medical marijuana on this planet. Lilly opposed Harry Anslinger’s 1930s demonization of the plant, but Lilly’s influence was unable to overcome other corporates’ interests that wanted hemp “off the market.” Racism also played its part. Lilly learned to live with the prohibition and pursued making patentable (and much more expensive) drugs that would not-as-well do the same as what marijuana products had previously done better and cheaper. As time passed, another result of this prohibition was that Indiana ended up with the stiffest marijuana laws in the Midwest. A coincidence? I doubt it. Lilly didn’t want the competition to its “alt marijuana” drugs and could game the Indiana legislature, at least, to do its bidding. It would be instructive to know to what extent Lilly has been a roadblock to legalization the past 15 or so years.

I believe there has been an ongoing discussion for years among Indiana’s Establishment (AKA the white boys’ mafia, composed mostly of those that went to DePauw, Wabash and Franklin colleges and keep in contact through the fraternities) as to which wing of it would derive the profits from legalization.

The various wings disagree and their failure to agree, more than anything else, has prevented legalization in Indiana. 

This I also know, when Indiana legalization comes it will be the most corporatized legalization possible. Don’t expect to legally be able to grow a few plants for your own use. A new generation of “revenuers” will be organized to aggressively prevent that.

Another dynamic I think is also at work: urban politicians don’t want rural small plot holders to make any money. After my retirement, I started bringing the old homestead, an 85-acre plot, back “online” after decades of neglect. This plot has too little tillable ground for soybeans or corn. I thought of growing CBD oil hemp, but the only ones making money on that are Mitch Daniels and his Purdue boys. Not to mention the onerousness of the regulations that must be followed to grow it. I then thought of growing Asian berberine, the seeds of which can be made into a nutritional supplement that inhibits adult-onset diabetes. Guess what? The legislature made it illegal to cultivate berberine a few years ago. Certainly there are crops other than apples or hay that a small plot holder can grow.

But I know one crop it won’t be is marijuana.

— Matthew Alig, Terre Haute 

Political issues are complicated 

This letter is in response to Gail Henneman’s letter on Nov. 12 where I asked, could it be wrong to help millions of adults and children who are starving? 

She went on to present her case about something that was not in my Oct. 22 letter. My letter was a response to Charles Bean on Oct. 20, wondering if socialism will destroy America. Gail assumed I was talking about undocumented immigrants. I think most of us know what the definition of assumed is. Never was the word immigrant used in my letter. The point I was trying to make is that most issues in America today can’t be addressed in a short article, in both cases exactly 165 words, without the input of both sides. I went back and reread Charles’ article and he didn’t use the word immigrant either.

I am not going to assume what Gail’s motivation was to misconstrue my letter to her own one-sided purpose. All she actually proved is you can’t conduct an informed conversation with only 239 words, the length of her article. I agree with her comment the bottom line is much more complicated, but these problems we face have occurred through several administrations, including both Republicans and Democrats. 

In our country, everyone can’t be painted with the same colored brush. Red or blue and black or white, we are all in the same boat. Working as a team makes a lot more sense than whining and placing blame.

— Ron Gadberry, Sullivan

Great honor for South spell team 

First and foremost I would like to say congratulations to TH South Vigo for winning first place Class 1 during the Indiana Academic Spell Bowl senior division conducted Nov. 13, 2021, at Purdue.

What an honor you bring to South Vigo and to the Vigo County School Corp. You make us proud.

Keep up the good work.

In closing, I would like to say, well done!

— Linda L. Tewell, Terre Haute

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