First Hemp Farmer Congressional Candidate Since Thomas Jefferson
Grafton, WV August 1, 2016: Mike Manypenny is a West Virginia hemp farmer. Manypenny is 1 of 9 hemp growers participating in a pilot program to grow hemp commercially in West Virginia this year. Like founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson who grew hemp for industrial applications of the time from ship rigging to canvas covered wagons, Mike Manypenny-D is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after 6 years of political service on the state legislature of West Virginia. Manypenny understands the historic significance, “I am excited to be the first Congressional candidate to be a hemp farmer since Thomas Jefferson.”
Industrial hemp, the non-psychoactive cousin of the marijuana plant (aka Cannabis sativa) has a rich and prominent place in U.S. History. In 1938, hemp was named by Popular Science magazine as The Next Billion Dollar Crop because of the nearly 25,000 products that could be derived from the plant. As late as the 1940s, hemp was used extensively by the U.S. military during World War II to make uniforms, canvas, and rope. During those war years, the U.S. government produced a short 1942 film, Hemp for Victory, promoting hemp as a necessary crop to win the war. Now, the U.S. imports more hemp than any other country in the world from countries like Canada and China – the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2015 was about $573 million. Some of those industrial applications that are used today are bioplastics, building materials, insulation, and paper. Some European automobile manufacturers, such as BMW, have started using molded plastic parts from hemp for car interiors.
“There’s obviously a market for domestic hemp,” Manypenny explains “As we look for more sustainable solutions, growing and making products from hemp can bring back both domestic agricultural and industrial jobs to the U.S. In most cases, hemp products are stronger and more durable than the products we currently manufacture. We need to make great things in America again.”
Manypenny is also an advocate for Medical Marijuana. On May 19th of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill allowing VA Hospitals to prescribe marijuana to veterans for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in states that have medical marijuana laws. Mike’s political opponent in November incumbent David McKinley-R voted against treating veterans with PTSDs. The bill passed anyway.
“I think it’s shameful that a politician would deny our brave men and woman in uniform treatment for their PTSDs,” says Manypenny.
If elected to congress, Manypenny would fight to change the status of marijuana from a Schedule I narcotic. A Schedule 1 drug is considered a dangerous narcotic that has no accepted medical treatment use in the US. Marijuana currently has a Schedule 1 status even though many people are receiving a medical benefit. Most people are familiar with marijuana containing the psychoactive ingredient THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) as a pain relief for cancer patients. If Marijuana was lowered to at the very least at Schedule II, medical research could be done without governmental restrictions on cultivar strains of differing levels of THC and CBD levels. CBD (Cannabidiol) derived from the plant has been known to reduce cancer cells in multiple initial studies. The US government has a patent US 6630507 B1 that CBD is an antioxidant and neuroprotectant in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and HIV dementia. The fact that the US government has a medical patent on Cannabis would completely be in contrast to its Schedule 1 status of not having a medical benefit. There is also evidence that CBDs are an effective treatment for epilepsy, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and other ailments. Most notably, the treatment of 6-year old Charlotte Figi on CNN’s Weed Series with Dr. Sanjay Gupta who used CBD to treat grand mal seizures. CBD oil is now legal in most states now, but recently the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has begun issuing warning letters to high CBD hemp oil vendors.
“Because of Schedule I, we haven’t scratched the surface with medical cannabis. The medical community still doesn’t know for certain which plant cultivars work best with which medical condition. And we do not know in which form (liquid, pill or inhalant), dosage, and frequency to best prescribe medical cannabis. We need real medical research, rather than anecdotal opinions of a budtender,” says Manypenny.
Devastating floods in West Virginia have claimed lives and destroyed homes this past summer. The tragic events have shifted attention, and rightly so, from donating funds to political campaigns to donating to families affected by the flood. Country singer and native West Virginian Brad Paisley began an account to help those families. For Mike Manypenny, it creates a bigger fundraising challenge within the state to compete against a well-funded incumbent.
“I completely understand folks in West Virginia donating to help their friends and neighbors rather than sending a check to a politician. What I want the Cannabis advocacy groups to know is that I need their help to raise funds outside of West Virginia to defeat an anti-Cannabis opponent for one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.” Mike Manypenny’s website is http://mikemanypennyforcongress.com/
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