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  Hawaii Begins Hemp Experiment
Posted by FoM on December 15, 1999 at 07:06:28 PT
By Bruce Dunford, Associated Press Writer  
Source: Associated Press 

hemp Surrounded by a 12-foot-high fence and infrared surveillance, a university scientist scattered the first seeds in an experiment that will test the viability of industrial hemp as an agricultural resource for the state.

"Pineapple and sugar, the double roof of our economy for generations, have now grown old," House Speaker Calvin Say, an Oahu Democrat, said at Tuesday's planting on a quarter-acre plot in central Oahu.

"Perhaps in time, we can lead the way in industrial hemp technology in the same way our technological ability in sugar and pineapple were unsurpassed anywhere on this Earth."

Because hemp belongs to the same family as marijuana, it has been illegal to grow in the United States since World War II. While some states have moved to allow hemp growing, Hawaii is among the first to get a test project going.

Hemp stalk fibers can be used to make clothing, shoes, building materials, strong cords and ropes, a substitute for fiberglass, paper "and the list goes on," University of Hawaii plant geneticist David West said.

Hemp seed oil contains essential fatty acids, protein and other vital elements, and serves as a base for skin and hair care products, said West, who will oversee the research.

Hemp production in the United States ended in 1958 and the National Seed Storage Laboratory, charged with preserving important genetic resources, allowed all the seeds to die, West said.

The research project - which received $200,000 from Alterna, a hair care company that uses hemp seeds in products - will attempt to develop the most productive hemp plant for Hawaii's climate, West said.

The project also involves testing various varieties of hemp for their levels of THC - the hallucinogenic found in marijuana.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy previously held that permitting hemp farming would send the wrong signal to young people and would allow marijuana farmers to hide their crops with industrial hemp plants.

The DEA, which outlined the security measures needed to plant what federal and state law still defines as illegal marijuana, is no longer blocking the project, said state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, an Oahu Republican, who sponsored the bill creating the university research project.

Published: December 15, 1999
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Related Article:

DEA Permits Hawaii To Plant Industrial Hemp
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread3985.shtml


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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 15, 1999 at 09:47:51 PT
High On Hemp - Click the Link To Listen!

High On Hemp

National Public Radio
December 15, 1999
http://www.npr.org/news/business/

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.

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