The parallels between the 1933 coming of Franklin Roosevelt and the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama must include the issue of Prohibition: alcohol in 1933, and marijuana today. As FDR did back then, Obama must now help end an utterly failed, socially destructive, reactionary crusade.
Like the Prohibition on alcohol that plagued the nation from 1920 to 1933, marijuana prohibition (which essentially began in 1937) feeds organized crime and a socially useless prison-industrial complex that includes judges, lawyers, police, guards, prison contractors, and more.
Hemp growing was mandatory in some circumstances in early America, and again during World War II, when virtually the entire state of Kansas was planted in it. The current ban on industrial hemp costs the U.S. billiions of dollars in lost production and revenue from a plant that can produce superior paper, clothing, fuel and other critical materials at a fraction the financial cost and environmental damage imposed by less worthy sources.
As a whole, the violent, repressive War on Drugs has been forty years of legal, cultural and economic catastrophe. Like FDR, Obama must end our modern-day Prohibition, and with it the health-killing crusade against this ancient, powerful medicinal herb.
As much as I would like Obama to do what these authors demand, I doubt that going up against the very powerful prison industry complex, not to mention the puritan anti-fun people, has much chance of finding a place in his schedule. He has an awful lot of Bush/Repug/neocon shit to un-fuck up.
I think he should start with legalization and encouragement of hemp cultivation as part of the 'green revolution' for all the common sense reasons in the article above that we've known for years. I think the female plants have to be separated anyway, and they should be destroyed by burning in very small quantities a little at a time so as not to foul the atmosphere. The psychoactive elements of the parts of the plant generally considered unburnable in this manner because they tear the paper can be dissolved in butter and used in snacks. It is our patriotic duty to assist in this, something we can do for our country.
On the other hand, I think it would be great fun to burn mass quantities of the herb upwind of, say, Congress. We'd see who's smoked it before and also who can't hold their mud. It would be a YouTube and cable news moment of the first order!