End Federal Hysteria About Growing Hemp

End Federal Hysteria About Growing Hemp
Posted by CN Staff on October 03, 2003 at 08:54:02 PT
Source: Star-Bulletin 
Refusal by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to grant a permanent permit for an experimental industrial hemp project in Wahiawa has resulted in its closing. The drug agency's confusion of hemp with marijuana was responsible for its silly recalcitrance. The agency should end its hallucination and allow a long-lasting project to develop a crop that could be a profitable part of Hawaii's growing diversified agriculture.
Products containing hemp already bring in as much as $200 million in retail sales nationally, but hemp and its products must be imported from Canada and Europe because it is illegal to be grown in the United States. Hemp is used to make paper, clothing and rope and is an ingredient in soap, skin cream, cosmetics and food products such as energy bars, waffles and bread. The DEA's absurd attempt to ban its use in food products is being challenged in court.The ban on growing hemp carries "zero tolerance" to a ridiculous dimension, a throwback to the "reefer madness" hysteria. Marijuana leaves and buds contain 7 percent to 20 percent THC, its mind-altering ingredient, which accounts for only one-tenth of 1 percent of industrial hemp. David P. West, a plant geneticist who operated the Wahiawa project, says hemp also contains another cannabinoid, CBD, which blocks the marijuana high, making it "antimarijuana."Rep. Cynthia Thielen (R, Kaneohe-Kailua) initiated the 1999 legislation authorizing the Wahiawa project. The DEA, which lists hemp as a Schedule 1 drug, granted a string of brief temporary permits for its operation, beginning in December 1999. "The DEA's action on the temporary permits put the project into a nebulous status and it raised questions," resulting in the evaporation of funding from the private sector, Thielen says.Retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffery, the White House drug czar in the Clinton administration, mistakenly assumed that ingested foods containing hemp would set off workplace drug-testing equipment and that hemp was a "stalking horse" for legalization of marijuana. The Bush administration has been even more fearful of hemp as a cousin of marijuana.That posture is based on ignorance. As West has pointed out, hemp was so important to colonial America that Jamestown passed a law in 1619 making it illegal not to grow hemp. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew it, and the government launched a "Hemp for Victory" campaign in World War II to reduce the reliance on Philippine hemp for use in rope, canvas and uniforms.Following the war, the country returned to enforcement of a misguided 1937 law that made no distinction between marijuana and hemp. The government finally needs to make that distinction so a promising industry can return.Note: The Issue: An experimental hemp farm at Wahiawa has been closed after investors declined to continue funding. Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)Published: October 3, 2003Copyright: 2003 Honolulu Star-BulletinContact: letters starbulletin.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Hemp Links Difficulties Close Trial Hemp Farm Permits Hawaii To Plant Industrial Hemp
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