There’s a lot of smoke in the air surrounding medical marijuana and next week’s elections, and lost in the haze is the hemp issue. However, several Liberterian and Independent candidates have supported industrial hemp as a solution to economic problems in their region. Steven Wilson, Libertarian for Missouri 3rd Congressional District is a shining example of a politician with a pro-hemp agenda as illustrated in the following interview with KOMU News.
Steven Wilson is the libertarian candidate in the third congressional district race. Wilson lives in Westphalia and graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a degree in psychology. He is also currently working toward a masters in business administration from William Woods University. Wilson has also works as an artist and is a member of the Columbia Art League and the Jefferson City art club.
KOMU 8 News sat down with Wilson as a part of the Smart Decision 2012 series.
What is the biggest problem Missouri faces going into the election?
“The biggest problem that Missouri has right now is trying to remain competitive in the states that are around here in the Midwest corridor. One of the things that I’m trying to promote is the actual farming of industrial hemp. Now, the reason I’m doing that is because when you have a mature economy, you have to understand that you need production, and that production has to come from a raw material with zero transportation. Industrial hemp can go into several subcategories of commerce. The Canadian model has proven that you can go from corn and cotton in one year into industrial hemp. You’ve got dead capital here in the Midwest corridor… in Moberly, Rolla, Jefferson City and just about anywhere in St. Louis. It really is about getting back to production, and that’s why I’m trying to promote industrial hemp.”
How would you work with the U.S. Senate and other members of congress to solve that problem?
“I think one of the biggest issues that I’ve run into is that… I’ve been dealing with industrial hemp for about 15 years now… is the total void of information about cannabis sativa l and the separation between cannabis and industrial hemp. I believe that if you give people perfect information, they’re going to be able to make the right choice. You have people currently, people like Senator Ryan Paul that have been promoting this, and I think that that really is something that needs to get thorough the Missouri Farm Bureau, and you leave people on the ground. When you have perfect information, you should be able to win the game.”
What should congress do about implementing the Affordable Care Act next year?
“The Affordable Care Act is going to be something that I think in the long term is going to cause a significant problem, not only in bio-pharma, but also in home health care and what you would identify as preventative care or managed care. I don’t think that Congress fully understands what they’ve done financially. I understand that many people think that the theory as well that we need affordable health care and that we need health care for all people, but that can’t be done at the same time. So, what I would try to do is try to teach people to try to do those things separately and you have to do them in economic law.”
What are Missouri’s biggest budget challenges and how would you meet them?
“The state of Missouri uses something called taxation by vice, and this is something that many states try to use because the state tries to be benevolent, but the only reason that you can actually see the angel is because the appetite of the demon. I think that governor Nixon has done a very good job at trying to market that kind of program, making sure that people understand the casino, the adult clubs, tobacco and I think a perfect example is the tax on cigarettes. The federal government maintains that a state of this size needs to spend about seven million dollars on smoking cessation, but Missouri spends about three to four million. When people in Missouri start looking at the budget, its not really about how you collect the tax. Its about what you’re spending it on. When you’re looking at how governor Nixon has worked the budget, he’s not really paying attention to the means to that end. He’s talking about transferring funds from one to the other. A very good example here recently has been he took money from early childhood development, and he gave it to the military homes. He did that in an election year, and the fact is that… the thing that I’m trying to accomplish is that I don’t want the people of Missouri to have politics of this level being that important. No one person should have the ability to control a budget like that. Missouri is in peril, but that’s long term, but the short term decisions are being based on politics, not people.”
How would you bring more jobs to Missouri?
“Once again, the thing that I’m trying to promote is industrial hemp. I think the Canadian model and the European model have proven that if you go into the oil and the fiber you can actually go through and say insulation, clothing hemp particle board. Because the fact in 2010 the Canadian model was getting about a thousand an acre for organic and two to four hundred for conventional hemp seed. It is market valuable, but you need to take that raw material and you need to give people a job set. So, therefore, giving me a raw material is not part of the deal, it’s not the whole thing. We need a supply chain. So, if you give me a raw material, you need to build a supply chain that is market based. Therefore, one of the things that needs to be done is that Missouri high schools need to start facilitating the European model, and making sure that every student has at least one market-based occupation skill, things like eye-hand coordination sewing, being able to weld, blue-prints, things of that nature.”
What would change once you’ve served a term in this office?
“I believe that the main function that I would serve is getting out perfect information about what is happening in the short term and the long term. The one thing that I have picked up is that the Missouri voter may be angry, but they’re not actually doing any research. They’re not getting any information about what’s happening to their budget, what’s happening to the long term goals they’re trying to achieve. I’m only going to serve two terms because I promote term limits. The people need to understand that if you’re not going to be an informed voter, it would be better if you stayed home.”