Tags: 2014 Midterm Elections | Marijuana Legalization | Friedman | Texas | marijuana | agriculture | commissioner

Kinky Friedman: Marijuana Farms 'the Future of Texas'

Image: Kinky Friedman: Marijuana Farms 'the Future of Texas'

Wednesday, 02 Apr 2014 10:26 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Texas farmers could recoup their losses by planting fields of marijuana, says humorist, singer and songwriter Kinky Friedman. who is seeking the Democratic nomination for state agriculture commissioner.

"This is not about long-haired hippies smoking dope," Friedman told The Texas Tribune.  "It is about the future of Texas."

Marijuana is "the green thread that weaves its way through all our lives," said Friedman, who claims pot smoking country legend Willie Nelson among his closest friends.

Texas, like most states, do not allow farmers to grow hemp, even though it is legal for consumption. Likewise, marijuana is illegal to grow and possess in Texas.

However, waves of pot farms may not be the answer for Texas's struggling farmers, according to the Tribune. In California, where medical marijuana farms have been legal since 1996, farmers say the crop has not helped their financial woes because the plant remains illegal under federal law, the Tribune said.

Marijuana also is a water-intensive plant, and wildlife officials in California claim endangered salmon are dying because marijuana farms are drying up rivers, NPR has reported.

Mass production may also drive prices back down, Jonathan Caulkins, of Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College in Pittsburgh, told the Texas website, noting that only about 10,000 acres nationwide are needed to satisfy the country's demand.

Friedman suggested the first step to legalize marijuana farming be to allow Texas farmers to grow hemp and then move on to marijuana.

This is Friedman's third try at a state office in Texas. He was one of two independent candidates, placing fourth in the six-person race. He also lost a bid for agriculture commissioner in 2010.

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