|DEA Permits Hawaii To Plant Industrial Hemp|
Posted by FoM on December 13, 1999 at 09:37:59 PT|
First Time in U.S. History Since WWII
Source: Business Wire
Hawaii makes American history as the first industrial hemp seeds are planted in U.S. soil since the crop was banned after WWII. Hawaiian Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano will host the historical hemp seed planting ceremony at the Alterna Hemp Research Project agricultural plot in Whitmore Village on Oahu on Dec. 14, 1999, at 10 a.m. Hawaiian time.
Hawaiian Hemp's Political History:
After three years, the dedication and tenacity of Hawaii State Representative Cynthia Thielen paid off last May when the legislation to conduct the research needed to initiate the recovery of the industrial hemp crop in the United States passed in Hawaii. Governor Cayetano signed the industrial hemp bill into law and the political minutia building up to the seed planting again ensued.
"The project was made possible by a $200,000 grant from hemp shampoo maker Alterna's Professional Hair Care Products," explained Thielen. "Due to Alterna's financial support, the construction for the facility for the one-quarter acre industrial hemp plot began."
Built exactly per the strict requirements set forth by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the one-quarter acre is surrounded by chain length fencing with razor wire top, and a 24-hour infrared security system. Construction was completed in September, allowing for the state permit application to be submitted. The state permit issued in October and the federal permit application was submitted promptly to the DEA.
With the guidance of Thielen hot on the Fed's heals, the final and most difficult leg of the now four-year conquest was granted to Hawaii a month later. Hawaii is currently the only state in the United States to obtain permission from the DEA to grow industrial hemp following WWII.
Cayetano said, "My administration supports stimulating Hawaii's economy and keeping our agricultural lands productive. Industrial hemp could meet both of these objectives."
Plight of American Farmers:
Hemp farming is of integral importance to Hawaii as the state's economy is still suffering from the loss of its main export, sugar cane. Hawaii also has the dubious national distinction of 17.6 percent unemployment rates on one of its islands. Thousands of farmers across the nation are also suffering from the declining profitability of crops they produce.
Farmers have a dearth of options. The dilemma of the American farmer is aggravating for Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative president, Andrew Graves, who spearheaded the lawsuit filed against the DEA last year, in an effort to allow Kentucky tobacco farmers the right to grow industrial hemp in lieu of their diminishing tobacco crops.
"It makes no sense that the same government that encouraged and paid my father good money to grow hemp 40 years ago during WWII, is restricting me from saving my ailing tobacco business by forbidding me to grow the exact same plant."
Despite the domestic demand for hemp products, American businesses are still forced to import hemp from any one of the 29 industrialized nations that grow the crop. All members of the Group of Seven Industrialized Nations permit hemp cultivation except one -- the United States.
Which State is Next?
During the past three years, 22 states have approved some form of legislation or resolution supporting industrial hemp, including California, Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Maryland, Iowa, Vermont, Tennessee and Montana, to name a few. Like Hawaii, North Dakota and Minnesota legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp in spring of 1999 and aim to plant seeds in spring of 2000.
Due to the dedicated efforts of Campaign for Agricultural and Industrial Renewal (C.A.I.R.), California's effort to renew the legal status of industrial hemp, California is making great strides for the hemp cause.
The California Democratic National Party adopted a resolution supporting hemp at its state convention in March of 1999, which is the first time in history that a major political party has embraced industrial hemp. In addition, the California State Assembly approved a resolution supporting industrial hemp in September.
Industrial Hemp Research:
Although this small one-quarter acre test crop will not reap economic benefit for Hawaii immediately, it will, however, provide a forum for scientists to provide research to prove that large-scale hemp crops will be a financial boon to the struggling Hawaiian economy in many ways.
Esteemed plant geneticist David West, Ph.D., one of very few plant breeders in the United States actively involved in reestablishing industrial hemp, directs Alterna's hemp seed variety trial research in Hawaii.
"This is a huge step for Hawaii and the U.S. as a whole. Once the DEA removes its restrictions on growing industrial hemp freely outside of the test plot trials, the vast economic and ecological benefits of this plant will make themselves known to American farmers."
Why Industrial Hemp?
Industrial hemp is more versatile than the precious soybean, the mainstay cotton plant and the reliable Douglas fir, combined. There are more than 25,000 different uses for this non-drug wonder plant. Hemp thrives in any climate, grows rapidly, and is resistant to disease and insects, which eliminates the need for pesticides or herbicides.
Due to no chemical use during cultivation, the soil and groundwater is left untainted, making hemp an excellent rotation crop. Harvest time is a mere 60 to 90 days after seed planting, allowing for several crops to be grown in a season.
Dollars speak the loudest, however, and the exceptional global resurgence of hemp bears witness to the powerful commercial potential of this crop. As permitted by GATT and NAFTA, millions of dollars worth of industrial hemp material is imported every year, regardless of the fact that American farmers are fighting to diversify the ailing farm industry with it.
Worldwide hemp sales figures were only a few million dollars in 1993 but in 1997 sales surpassed $75 million and sales for year 2000 are projected to be in the billions. Carpet, car parts, hemp-reinforced plastics, building materials, nutritional food products and personal care products, like Alterna's hair care line, are only a few of the hemp-based products already in the marketplace.
Sixty years ago, Popular Mechanics magazine called industrial hemp the "new million dollar crop." If legislation continues to pass across the nation, it's safe to say that hemp will be the new millennium's multi-billion dollar crop.
Since incorporating hemp seed oil into its products as of January 1998, Alterna Professional Hair Care Products has undertaken an aggressive national hemp education campaign, called Learn More, which is designed to dispel myths and misinformation about the marked differences between hemp and marijuana.
Proactive in its approach to educate the nation of hemp's many environmental, economic and cosmetic benefits, Alterna holds fast to two proven facts: hemp is not marijuana and hemp is not a drug.
A consummate education advocate, Alterna conducts industrial hemp essay contests in high schools across the nation, awarding college scholarship funds. The sponsorship of the historical hemp test plot in Hawaii is a demonstration of the company's continued commitment to the hemp movement.
"Alterna feels a responsibility to help support America's farmers and affording them the opportunity to grow industrial hemp for American-made products is our ultimate goal," said Mike Brady, president of Alterna's Professional Hair Care Products. "Funding the test plots in Hawaii is an honor for us and we urge other hemp industrialists to be pro-active and to offer private funding for hemp test plots in states that will follow Hawaii's precedent-setting lead."
Contact: Alterna Applied Research Laboratories
Related Articles & Web Site:
Alterna's Web Site
Hashing Out The Hemp Hassle
Alterna Blankets Chicago With Hemp
Comment #6 posted by natas on June 18, 2001 at 19:09:15 PT:|
|just wanted to check out your e-newsletter....|
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|Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on December 15, 1999 at 19:09:50 PT|
After all, it is the DEA that was funding the fungus weapon against cannabis. You think they wouldn't try to sabotage that field, so they could point to it and say hemp is not a viable crop?
Given what they do in Latin America as well as closer to home, they merit no trust.
|Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 14, 1999 at 23:10:50 PT|
Hemp is literally woven into the fabric of America: George Washington virtually mandated the planting of "hempenseed;" Betsy Ross used hemp fibers to stitch the first American flag; and both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were drafted on hemp paper.
But since hemp and marijuana are both cannabis sativa, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency barred farmers from growing hemp in American soil. Until today. The state of Hawaii has declared it "Industrial Hemp Day" and state officials are planting live hemp seeds for the first time in nearly 50 years.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency gave Hawaii special permission to do this but there are signs the agency is re-thinking its policy on a nationwide ban. Listen as NPR's David Welna reports for Morning Edition on the debate over the re-introduction of hemp to American agriculture.
|Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 13, 1999 at 20:41:19 PT|
|Comment #2 posted by military officer guy on December 13, 1999 at 18:54:22 PT|
|Comment #1 posted by legalizeit on December 13, 1999 at 17:36:02 PT|
This is (almost) the pinnacle of stupidity. Why does a field of industrial hemp, which contains almost no psychoactive ingredients and is easily distinguishable from pot, need this kind of security?
Looks like another thinly-veiled effort by the DEA to squash hopes of large-scale hemp cultivation. How is a farmer going to enclose a 40,000+ -acre plantation with razor wire and provide 24-hour infrared security to same?
I commend the Hawaiians for their valiant campaign for industrial hemp, but until the DEA sheds its reefer-madness approach to anything even remotely resembling the Most Despicable Weed, it'll pretty much be business as usual in DEALand.