Lawfer Seeks Other Avenues for Research Into Hemp

Lawfer Seeks Other Avenues for Research Into Hemp
Posted by FoM on November 16, 2001 at 21:16:33 PT
By Jim Getz of The Post-Dispatch 
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
Facing strong lobbying by Gov. George Ryan's office on a hemp-study bill and with only a 50-50 chance of overriding Ryan's veto, the bill's sponsor is seeking other ways for universities to study the economic viability of the potential crop.Rep. Ronald Lawfer, R-Freeport, said Wednesday that he was trying to arrange a meeting Nov. 27 between representatives of the governor and University of Illinois officials to discuss the issue. That would be the final week of this year's legislative session and the last chance for any vote.
Lawfer, who pulled the bill from a floor vote Tuesday, said he also had heard that universities might be able to get a federal permit to grow test plots without a state law being passed."The governor's office was lobbying very strongly," he said, "and because of redistricting, several legislators were concerned about their new districts and opponents and so on. You could say politics got involved; that's one way at looking at it."Opponents characterize hemp as a cousin to marijuana; they say legalization of hemp would send a mixed message to children.Sen. Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville, the sponsor of the bill in the Senate, said Wednesday that she would encourage Lawfer to bring the issue up for a vote. "I think we should run this up the flagpole," she said.The bill passed 38-16 in the Senate and 72-43 in the House during the Illinois General Assembly's regular session this spring, but Ryan vetoed it. To override the veto, 35 votes are needed in the Senate and 71 in the House.Gary Knecht, president of Omniventures, a business group of farmers from six southwestern Illinois counties who lobbied hard for passage of the hemp bill, expressed disappointment that Lawfer had pulled it."We still hope that something positive will come out of this," said Knecht, who farms in Madison County, "but at this point, we're not sure what will happen."Like others in Omniventures, he believes the bill was a first step toward helping farmers to diversify crops and make money through hemp-processing facilities in an era when commodity prices for corn and soybeans are low.In a letter distributed to lawmakers Wednesday, a member of Omniventures, Ned Behrensmeyer, who farms in Adams County, noted a study by the U of I that estimates that Illinois farms will make an average of $23,899 this year, compared with $51,130 last year."Agriculture is a vital part of our national security. Yet agriculture is not healthy," he wrote. "We must have a more viable and diversified agriculture. Our agriculture is based on a food paradigm. We need to think about producing energy, plastics, paper, pharmaceuticals and more."Behrensmeyer was particularly annoyed by part of the governor's veto message citing several studies that said hemp was not economically viable."When did the governor derive the prerogative to decide what's profitable and not profitable?" he asked. "That's not the role of the government. That's for the free market to decide. There can't be any markets until there's raw material available. Let's see what entrepreneurial free markets can do."But the bill's opponents say just the opposite: that studies can be done to see if hemp is economically a good bet before one plant is grown.Their main objection, however, is that hemp test plots are a back-door way to eventually legalize hemp's botanical cousin, marijuana, which contains the hallucinogen THC. Lawfer strongly disagrees with that viewpoint - in fact, one of the studies is intended to produce a zero-THC hemp - but he concedes that the view still has power.Priss Parmenter, president of the Illinois Drug Education Alliance, said her grass-roots group had not changed its stance from the regular session to the veto session. "Our argument is no different," she said. "We are about drug prevention. That is our mission, and we are still standing strong against the bill. The DEA (federal Drug Enforcement Agency) hasn't lessened their stand on the issue. It still sends the wrong message to kids. We don't need another fuzzy area for kids to look at, because kids will nail you on this stuff."But to Bowles, those arguments ring hollow. She is mystified by opponents who are not curious to see whether hemp can be a viable crop."What bothers me the most is, all I am asking for is to allow the universities to study it, with the potential of getting an industrial hemp plant that has zero THC," she said. "I'm just stymied by the fact that they don't want to know."Kevin McDermott Of The Post-Dispatch Contributed To This Report. Newshawk: mayanSource: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)Author: Author: Jim Getz of The Post-Dispatch Published: Thursday, November 15, 2001Copyright: 2001 St. Louis Post-DispatchContact: letters post-dispatch.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:FTE's Hemp Links for Industrial Hemp Study Shelved DEA Rules Ban Edible Hemp Products To Study Hemp Farming Crops Up Again
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Comment #3 posted by QcStrt on November 17, 2001 at 07:29:18 PT
<<Radio Station>>
Is there a National Radio Station that we can interact with on Hemp and Cannabis in the 
USA, like the Art Bell on UFO's.
If not can someone get one started for all of US that are into a better live.
let the people put it on other boards and see if we can get one, there should be some 
Cooperate or individuals out here that well Help the CAUSE.
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Comment #2 posted by goneposthole on November 17, 2001 at 05:53:11 PT
The Atchinson, Topeka, and The Santa Fe
An old friend of mine from Chicago tells me that the engineers, firemen, and brakeman employed by the ATSF from Chicago to St. Louis grew marijuana around all of the water towers during the 30's, 40's and 50's. They had the pot plants growing at each of the water towers, and would water them while the old steam engines were being filled. After they were mature, the engineers, et al would dry them on the boiler. They would smoke, laugh, and have a good time aong the route. Sounds like a great job. Back in 1980, another good friend of mine traveled to India. When he visited places where people had things going on, he siad you could smell pot and hash everywhere, it was legal then. Guess what? Alcohol was illegal. Muy interesante.Back when America had a reason to be; when people were free, there wasn't all this nonsense that we have now.L-eagle eyes
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Comment #1 posted by Robbie on November 17, 2001 at 02:08:10 PT
Hypocrisy alert!
Lawfer, who pulled the bill from a floor vote Tuesday, said he also had heard that universities might be able to get a federal permit to grow test plots without a state law being passed.BZZZZZT! WRONG-O! Mr. Congressman, Republican,, being said Republican KNOW you ain't gonna get that "federal" permit to jack-tripe with your party's buddy, the Dishonorable Mr. Walters. Stuff your platitudes, sir, where you get the short shrift in the fan.Government is allowing some testing, but the political actions taken by this jerk are reprehensible. Just tell the people the truth "I am pandering directly to the lion's share of my power and position. The Drug War Elite foster much favor with Yours Truly as long as I understand where they're comin' from. Just Say NO To Sex, Drugs, and Rock N' Roll. Signed, the ever lovin' lovers of big gov--, er small!!...small government, the Christian Progressive Left-Wing of the Right of the Right-Wing...William Bennett. We now continue with regularly scheduled programming, on CBN. CBN, you fill in the acronym." 
Save Pacifica!
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