Committee Backs Hemp Bill 

Committee Backs Hemp Bill 
Posted by FoM on February 26, 2002 at 13:59:11 PT
By Jim Wallace, Daily Mail Capitol Reporter 
Source: Charleston Daily Mail 
The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill the Agriculture Committee didn't want to touch that calls for the cultivation of industrial hemp in West Virginia.The committee also approved a bill to use some tobacco trust fund money for programs to discourage the use of tobacco. The hemp bill's lead sponsor, Sen. Karen Facemyer, had predicted it would fare better in the Judiciary Committee than in the Agriculture Committee, which passed it on without a recommendation last week.
Although Sen. Mike Ross, D-Randolph, suggested it would be better to let an interim legislative committee study the proposal over the next year, the bill had little trouble passing the Judiciary Committee Monday after officials from the state Agriculture Department and the West Virginia Farm Bureau spoke in favor of it.Facemyer, R-Jackson, argued that hemp, which can be used to make a variety of products, including rope, clothing, fuel and diapers, could be a good alternative crop for many farmers, because the United States imports $300 million worth of hemp products each year. Charles Coffman of the Agriculture Department said it should be able to grow just about anywhere in West Virginia and could be especially good for farmers needing a substitute for tobacco crops.Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, said hemp could give some Eastern Panhandle farmers the ability to stay in farming in the face of increasing development that is gobbling up farmland in that part of the state.Sen. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, was concerned about whether allowing hemp to be grown could lead to problems for law enforcement efforts against marijuana. Coffman said no state has gotten far enough in the process of legalizing hemp cultivation to have addressed that issue, but he thought it could be handled.Hemp is closely related to marijuana but has less than 1 percent of the ingredient that gives marijuana its hallucinatory properties.Facemyer said approval of the bill would only mean that the federal Drug Enforcement Administration would work with the state to set up a research project on growing hemp for a few years. Only after that might it be possible for farmers to grow it, she said.After Les Shoemaker of the Farm Bureau added that his organization has no opposition to the bill, the committee approved it.The bill dealing with the tobacco trust fund would allow the state to use up to $15 million from the half of the fund that has been considered to be in a "lock box." Until now, the Legislature has prohibited the state from spending any of the principal of that fund.The money would be used for education and smoking prevention programs recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. They would be community programs focused on preventing young people from starting to smoke.The committee approved a version of the bill that would permit the state to spend the money but not require it to be spent.Approval of two other bills by the committee came only after much discussion with representatives of the Board of Veterinary Medicine. The board objected to a provision in one bill that could have made it possible for someone convicted of a felony involving controlled substances to work as a veterinary technician and thus have access to some of those substances. The committee removed that provision before approving the bill.The provision in the second bill the board opposed would have loosened the requirement for veterinary clinics that do surgery to have anesthetic inhalation equipment and X-ray machines. The committee took that provision out before passing the bill.Note: Some of tobacco trust fund may go to curb tobacco use.Source: Charleston Daily Mail (WV)Author: Jim Wallace, Daily Mail Capitol Reporter Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2002Copyright: 2002 Charleston Daily MailContact: editor dailymail.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:FTE's Hemp Links Bill Passed To Senate Judiciary Wants More Information on Hemp 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 27, 2002 at 08:05:07 PT
How you doing! I think about you guys almost everyday! 
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Comment #2 posted by UaN on February 27, 2002 at 07:36:55 PT:
Hemp in WV
How long have I been putting information in the West Virginia Charleston Gazette & Charleston Daily Mail about hemp and the uses and good things that could happen in WV if we just used our wonderful mountains for something other than coal mines to strip? For Years! Maybe this is finally paying off. Thank you FOM for posting this. 
Hi to you and Stick and hope all is well!
This is certainly wonderful information!
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Comment #1 posted by ekim on February 26, 2002 at 17:34:50 PT:
Alaska National Wildlife Refuge petition
If you are opposed to drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife 
Refuge, please go to the
            following site and sign the petition.              The House of Representatives has already approved 
this debacle and it is scheduled to be
            voted on in the Senate this week. Your opposition 
will be communicated to your Senators,
            but you need to sign the petition to make your 
voice heard.
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