This Bud's Not For You

This Bud's Not For You
Posted by FoM on February 10, 2002 at 15:56:31 PT
By John Cloud, Lexington
Source: Time Magazine
No one is saying Kentucky doesn't offer its share of distinctive intoxicants. Bourbon and tobacco have long been popular drugs here, and even in these abstemious times, a well-known member of the political class will occasionally pour his visitors a glass of moonshine from a Mason jar with plumped cherries bobbing on the bottom.But the farmers around Lexington are mostly old-fashioned men with a serious problem: the decline in demand for U.S. tobacco. And when they tell you they know of a crop that could help replace tobacco and maybe save their farms, they aren't promoting any stoner foolishness. 
True, the crop they hope to grow is known to botanists as Cannabis sativa, but different races within that species can have widely varying amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the merrymaking chemical in pot. Marijuana will typically have anywhere from 3% to 20% THC. Hemp is bred to contain less than 1%. You could roll and smoke every leaf on a 15-ft. hemp plant and gain little more than a hacking cough.Next month, however, the Drug Enforcement Administration is set to begin enforcing a new rule treating foods that contain "any amount of" THC (even nonpsychoactive amounts) as controlled substances, making them as restricted as heroin. Anyone possessing such foods is supposed to dispose of them now, though hemp sellers and eaters won't be prosecuted until March 18. Nationally marketed products include the Hempzel Pretzels, baked in Pennsylvania, and Organic Hemp Plus Granola, made in Blaine, Wash. Gastronomically speaking, a ban on these earthy-tasting comestibles would be no great tragedy--though the hemp-crazy Galaxy Global Eatery in New York City serves an apple pie with a delightful hemp crust.Economically speaking, though, a ban could ruin the 20 or so companies that make and sell more than $5 million worth of hemp waffles, salad oils and other foods a year. Hemp Universe here in Lexington stopped selling food weeks ago, and Whole Foods Market of Austin, Texas, recommended last week that its 129 stores remove hemp products. Other retailers are holding firm, saying hemp foods contain such tiny traces of THC that the chemical wouldn't register in a routine lab test. But that's not the same as having zero THC, and the threat of further DEA action has prompted seven hemp companies to ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to block the rule. They say the DEA is effectively creating a new law, not interpreting existing statutes. A Canadian hemp firm has filed a claim saying the DEA is violating NAFTA by failing to provide scientific justification for a rule that "will be nothing short of an absolute ban on trade in hemp food." (The Canadian government has also formally objected.) The DEA's position is that U.S. drug laws clearly ban THC--any THC. The court's decision will turn on the historically murky question of whether Congress intended hemp to be part of those laws. Some antidrug groups-- including, most stridently, the Family Research Council--believe allowing hemp foods would send a pro-marijuana message.Many farmers are watching the case because it shows how hard the government will fight a growing movement to legitimize hemp farming in the U.S. Right now it's legal to sell hemp products but illegal to grow the hemp used in them, which is imported. The global market for raw hemp is expanding. Foods are only a fraction of the hemp-product universe, which includes Mercedes door panels, Body Shop Body Butter, Armani place mats, and countless humbler items such as twine, carpet and diapers. These nonedibles would remain legal under the rule. But if the court doesn't intervene, investors may think twice before supporting a business associated with drugs.If hemp cultivation were legalized, could it really save U.S. farms? That's unclear, but legislators in more than 20 states have asked for research. They know that a year after Canada allowed hemp cultivation in 1998, its farms were already growing 35,000 acres. The U.S. has taken a different, more tangled approach to the plant, one that reflects the quick assumptions of the war on drugs. The farmland around leafland, a once commanding estate east of Lexington, used to provide a rich bounty to the Graves clan. Jacob Hughes, a Welshman, first planted in this part of Kentucky in the 1770s, but now his great-great-grandson, Jacob Hughes Graves III, 75, grows corn and tobacco only out of tradition. Although he earned his livelihood as a banker, Graves grew up working on the farm, and he always hoped his land might provide at least one of his nine children with an agricultural career.His son Andrew made a go of it, but by the mid-'90s, it was clear to the son that tobacco was in trouble. Pushing 40, Andrew was wondering what to do with himself when local entrepreneurs suggested hemp. Products have been made from the versatile plant for thousands of years. Early American planters grew it widely; George Washington sowed it on four of his farms. But the cotton gin--and later nylon--all but killed the industry. Beginning in the late 1980s, hemp products enjoyed a renaissance, at first as novelty items for liberals. Greens love hemp because it's a renewable resource and an effective rotation crop that requires little or no herbicide. Nutritionists and vegetarians found that hemp oil has an unusually beneficial ratio of essential fatty acids ("good" fats).The plan was simple, if naive: Andrew Graves would grow the hemp, then local companies would sell products made from it. Graves wouldn't have to go far to learn the horticulture. As a boy, his father Jacob had helped his father grow hemp on the same land. But there was a small glitch. The Federal Government began requiring permits to grow Cannabis sativa in 1937, when Congress passed the Marihuana Tax Act. Some say Congress meant to exclude hemp from the law, but the regulators who have carried it out have rarely distinguished between psychoactive and nonpsychoactive cannabis varieties. Today winning a DEA permit to grow hemp is just as hard as getting one to grow marijuana.Jacob thought the regulations were ridiculous, since in all his years on the farm, no one had done something so silly as smoke hemp. What's more, the U.S. government had been his biggest buyer of hemp in the '40s. Cannabis-growing permits were plentiful during World War II because imports of other fibers dried up. In 1942 the USDA even produced a film, Hemp for Victory, to encourage farmers to plant hemp to meet wartime demand for rope.After the war, when the U.S. became concerned that the Mob and foreign governments were pushing drugs on Americans, hemp became anathema. That did have a certain logic at a time when the chemical line between the two crops was more blurred. THC wasn't identified as marijuana's active agent until 1964; it's likely that some pot and hemp plants back then were closer cousins than they are today. Even now, people caught with marijuana occasionally claim it's only hemp. Cops have complained that they can't tell the difference. And as recently as the mid-'90s, a few hemp-food products could trigger a false-positive result on a drug test.Advocates say such concerns are out of date. Today hemp can be grown with its seeds closely monitored to keep THC negligible, and a recent scholarly study showed that today's hemp foods don't trigger false positives. What's more, in open fields, low-THC hemp is actually a threat to high-THC marijuana. Since hemp and marijuana are members of the same species, they will cross-pollinate, degrading the quality of any pot hidden in a hemp field.The Graveses thought the U.S. could adopt a simple regulatory scheme of controlled seed markets and unannounced field inspections. After all, Britain, Canada and other countries had legalized hemp cultivation without major incident. And the U.S. made regulatory changes to accommodate poppy seeds, which contain opiate traces.But the Graveses needed political help to do the same for hemp, so Andrew went to an old family friend, Louie Nunn, a former Governor of Kentucky. If you associate hemp only with Woody Harrelson, Nunn is a jarring figure. He's a lifelong Republican. He will be 78 in March, and his major indulgences are University of Kentucky basketball and dirty jokes. But for Nunn, hemp is about economics, not the drug war. He wants locally grown hemp to be used for parts in the 1.2 million cars built in Kentucky every year. Like his allies in other farm-state legislatures who favor hemp, Nunn opposes marijuana legalization.But even with the ex-Governor on board, the state is scarcely closer to cultivating the plant. It did enact a law last year requiring the state agriculture department to grow and study hemp, but DEA regulations treating hemp as marijuana make such work expensive--high security is required around research plots--and Kentucky's plan isn't funded. "I wouldn't expect us to grow any hemp this year or even next," sighs majority whip Joe Barrows, a Democrat in the Kentucky house who sponsored the bill. Hawaii has a small plot where hemp cultivation is allowed, but research is going slowly.Since the crack epidemic, drug-law enforcers have been granted huge budget increases ($19.2 billion this year, up from $3.1 billion in 1982). When the Ninth Circuit weighs the hemp case, a broader issue will be whether the DEA has overstepped the authority that accompanies so much cash. For its part, the agency is seeking to minimize the importance of its new rule on hemp foods. Last week DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson told TIME the rule could even change in light of recent objections from the public, though that may be small comfort to businesses that lose money until then.Meanwhile, hemp's defenders crop up everywhere. Three years ago, after a friend convinced former CIA Director James Woolsey of hemp's salubrious ecological profile, Woolsey became a lobbyist for the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Woolsey takes no direct swipes at the DEA, but he impugns its logic. "You'd have to be stark raving mad to try to hide marijuana in the middle of a hemp crop because of cross-pollination," he says. "I'm very proud of the fact that I've been attacked in High Times magazine." A High Times columnist called him a "dirtbag" for promoting hemp's potential to degrade marijuana grown nearby.Back in Kentucky, Jacob Graves drives out U.S. 60 a little ways east of Leafland. He stops at a historical plaque placed by the state to mark hemp's history. STATE'S LARGEST CASH CROP TILL 1915, it says. "See?" says Graves. "If we get this done, what's old will be new again." Hemp-crust apple pie, anyone? Note: This Bud's Not For You: Not if you want to get high, anyway. But if hemp isn't a drug, why is the DEA treating it like heroin?Source: Time Magazine (US) Author: John Cloud, LexingtonPublished: February 18, 2002 Vol. 159 No. 7Copyright: 2002 Time Inc. Contact: letters Website: Related Articles & Web Site:FTE's Hemp Links Extends Its Deadline for Banning Hemp in Food Stays in Stores: DEA Hands Over Victory
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on February 11, 2002 at 12:09:58 PT
How About
If someone could create a THC Tilt-O-Meter? That would help. Will they do studies on that aspect maybe? Na. Just dreaming again.
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Comment #15 posted by p4me on February 11, 2002 at 12:09:08 PT
And there lies the lie
The DEA's position is that U.S. drug laws clearly ban THC--any THCMarinol is synthetic THC. It sells for thousands of dollars an ounce and is very legal. The above statement must be a lie. If THC in Marinol is medicine, then how could anyone advance an idea that THC in marijuana is not medicine? It's called "The Schedule One Lie."If in doubt, votem out.
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Comment #14 posted by greenfox on February 11, 2002 at 11:59:04 PT
None taken. :) I just like to put in my $.02 where it is needed.
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Comment #13 posted by lurker on February 11, 2002 at 11:24:45 PT
I agree with you. I just wanted to point out that a writer from Time (or any other publication)could just go to some breeder sites, see that they claim around 20% THC for some strains and take it at face value. It's from the breeders' mouths, right? I would say the misinformation starts there. I highly doubt John Cloud has any experience with growing at all. No offense meant :)
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Comment #12 posted by greenfox on February 11, 2002 at 10:30:21 PT
To Lurker: regarding dutch passion
I've grown and seen grown many many strains, including quite a few from Dutch Passion. As far as their "self claimed 20%", I can't say I agree. Optimum conditions is an understatement in terms of reaching that kind of number. Actually, even in the Hash Bars of Amsterdam, (which I have frequented over 5 times in the last year alone,) it is rare to find the true "one hit wonder weed" - that's not to say it doesn't exist. Only to say that, if someone is lucky enough to produce even 15% THC off their buds, then they are going to keep those particular buds for themselves. Trust me on this one. :)-gf
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on February 11, 2002 at 10:12:09 PT
Thank you for the nice offer. I'm happy to be able to do what I do here. Since I'm very lucky to have Mapinc. supporting Cannabis News and Matt Elrod to fix something if it's broke makes it not hard for me to do what I do but thank you very much. That was very Kind. No pun intended. Well maybe one.
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Comment #10 posted by idbsne1 on February 11, 2002 at 10:04:04 PT
20% THC
Well...I know Train Wreck has been tested for 22-23% THC. I also believe that Neville's Haze has around 21% THC. University GC tests. Either way, the 15% pot isn't soooo I have to say that this TIME article is kinda nice. Couple this with the "Stop the Drug War" article in MAXIM and all the negative feedback on the Super Bowl Commercials and I am getting happier everyday. Not just because the truth about cannabis is hitting the mainstream, but It's always nice to see lying buttheads shoot themselves in the foot....:)FOM, I second Steven's provide a priceless service, and would be happy to help in any way possible....idbsne1 
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Comment #9 posted by lurker on February 11, 2002 at 09:37:40 PT:
20% THC
Hi all, long time lurker first time poster. Dutch passion seed company has three strains listed in their indoor section the have THC percentages close to 20%, Mazar, White Widow, and Blueberry. Of course they probably only obtain those figures if grown under "optimal" conditions and may be inflated for self-promotion, but the claim is out there.
Dutch Passion's indoor section
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Comment #8 posted by Jose Melendez on February 11, 2002 at 08:16:48 PT:
Hashish might contain more THC, does that count as stronger pot? Oh, I forgot, hashish has been around and used safely for centuries... 
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Comment #7 posted by goneposthole on February 11, 2002 at 08:14:49 PT
20 percent thc
Contrast this with 190 proof everclear. 95% alcohol in the product, no objection from the dea.Of course alcohol has a purpose that coincides with the objectives of the dea-th.I suppose if marijuana would kill with one toke, it would be legal, of course.The marijuana that I smoke is 200 proof, 100 percent marijuana with incredible taste and flavor. It has satisfactory thc content, I can't complain. 20% thc would be kind of a Holy Grail, I'll continue the search.Back to the mercury mines.
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Comment #6 posted by greenfox on February 11, 2002 at 07:45:54 PT
Just a thought...
"Marijuana will typically have anywhere from 3% to 20% THC"OK, I would love for anyone reading this to find me some pot with 20% THC. Really, I mean it. Some of the very BEST strains in the world rarely hit 15%. More amazing mis-information.-gf
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Comment #5 posted by goneposthole on February 11, 2002 at 06:00:26 PT
I'm stuffed
My hemp waffle and granola stocks are getting fewer, but i"m full for now. I hope I meet that March 18th deadline before I get arrested for eating food.HELP!
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on February 11, 2002 at 02:47:33 PT
enlightening ignorance
The ignorance of the DEA is enlightening many. Isn't life strange?
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Comment #3 posted by goneposthole on February 10, 2002 at 21:45:48 PT
Analytical skills that are able to dumbfound the opposition have an ability to sway opinion that otherwise would be ignored is what exists here.The heart of the matter being the dea has no heart, just a vacuum of heartless arguments.How to kill it when there is no heart where a stake can be driven?They will do the job themselves.That's the way the ball bounces. Get over it.
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on February 10, 2002 at 18:55:37 PT
There's the DEA, working for US again
This is TIME magazine, the publication that brought us science-free fact-free marijuana journalism with their dangerous scary oogey boogey article on the Dreaded BC Bud. Now they have numbers that look like they were measured by someone in the real world. That's a victory.Gosh whom do we have to thank for this? The DEA. Their excessive zeal is driving their followers from their ranks.Last week DEA administrator Asa Hutchinson told TIME the rule could even change in light of recent objections from the public,I think it's more like in light of critical articles from publications like the New York Times and their other chief apologists in the press.When you take a position that makes your chief apologists in the press give valuable column inches to people who are telling the public that you are a pack of paranoid nutcakes, well, if you're a capable administrator -- you admit that it's time to back off from that position.I have to say, the DEA is doing much of our work for us, by being so unreasonable, by protecting what they have with such excess zeal.They're making people who never questioned them before start to question them.Woolsey became a lobbyist for the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Woolsey takes no direct swipes at the DEA, but he impugns its logic. "You'd have to be stark raving mad to try to hide marijuana in the middle of a hemp crop because of cross-pollination," he says. Another fact about marijuana potency, in TIME magazine. My head is spinning. This is a lot to take in one day."I'm very proud of the fact that I've been attacked in High Times magazine." A High Times columnist called him a "dirtbag" for promoting hemp's potential to degrade marijuana grown nearby.I don't think Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul were exactly on speaking terms either.But now we can vote!
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Comment #1 posted by Jose Melendez on February 10, 2002 at 16:10:00 PT:
send the right message
Send the right message to kids: theTruth.Cannabis is safe, effective and tasty in soup!
Arrest Prohibition
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