Bill Would Allow Hemp Farming in California

Bill Would Allow Hemp Farming in California
Posted by CN Staff on April 05, 2005 at 14:58:26 PT
By Steve Lawrence, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Sacramento, Calif. -- John Roulac wants to give California agriculture a boost and cut his transportation costs at the same time.Roulac is the founder and chief executive officer of Nutiva, an up-and-coming organic food company that is based in California but that processes and packages most of its products in Canada. The reason: Nutiva sells bars, protein powder, seeds and oil made with hemp, a cousin of marijuana.
Hemp has only a trace of tetrahydrocannabinols, or THC, the drug in marijuana, but hemp can't be legally grown in the United States without a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration. And the DEA has only allowed an experimental plot in Hawaii, according to Adam Eidinger, a spokesman for Vote Hemp, the lobbying arm of the hemp industry.So Nutiva contracts with Canadian farmers for its hemp, processes it in Canada and imports the finished products."We pay Exxon and Chevron a lot of money for gasoline for truckers," said Roulac. "We'd rather pay that money to California farmers to grow a sustainable crop."Assemblyman Mark Leno has a bill that could make that happen. The San Francisco Democrat's measure would allow the state Department of Food and Agriculture to issue licenses to grow and process hemp.Bills similar to Leno's have been introduced in New Hampshire and Oregon. The New Hampshire legislation has passed the House and is awaiting action by the state Senate. North Dakota approved hemp cultivation in 1999, and this year the governor signed a bill allowing the state university to try to develop improved hemp seeds in anticipation of the removal of the federal ban on hemp farming.Leno's proposal has a "huge potential economic impact," said Johanna Schultz, a spokeswoman for the Hemp Industries Association, which has about 300 members, including nearly 50 in California."I foresee a whole bunch of new hemp businesses starting up just because of its availability."Hemp can be used to make a myriad of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food, paper, rope, jewelry, luggage, sports equipment and toys. As food, hemp is high in essential fatty acids, protein, B vitamins and fiber, its supporters say.American farmers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, grew hemp for centuries, often under government mandates or with government subsidies. Copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper, Leno said."The strange irony is that we can presently import the entire hemp plant and manufacturers can produce thousands of different products (using hemp) and then sell them," he added. "The one component which is missing out on this is the farmer."Roulac figures he would save more than $100,000 a year in transportation costs and could cut his prices if he could buy hemp seeds from California growers and process them into food products at a plant he wants to build in Bakersfield.Michael Bronner said Leno's bill would eliminate the "massive lead times" he has to deal with in getting hemp oil from Canada and Europe for the soap produced by Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, an Escondido company started by his grandfather."It would be nice if we could get it right here in San Diego County," he said. "The price would probably be half of what we pay now."Tom Riley, a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said hemp farming could be used to hide marijuana cultivation by mixing the two plants in the field."I hope that legislators would look very carefully at this effort and see what factors there are," he said.But the bill's supporters say there is little likelihood that a grower would try to mix marijuana with hemp. The two plants grow differently and cross pollination could result in less-potent strains of marijuana, they say.Marijuana growers, fearing wind-blown hemp pollen could weaken their crops, are among hemp's biggest opponents, along with the DEA, said Roulac. "It's strange bedfellows, isn't it?"Also, the bill would require hemp to be tested in the fields to ensure that THC levels did not exceed prescribed limits. It also would bar anyone with a criminal conviction from getting a license to grow or process hemp."We're quite open to putting together regulatory schemes that meet law enforcement's legitimate concerns," said Alexis Baden-Mayer, director of governmental relations for Vote Hemp.Leno's bill attempts to get around federal opposition by requiring farmers to sell hemp seeds, stalks and fibers only to California processors to avoid an interstate commerce grounds for federal intervention."With that distinction, there's no reason why the federal government should get involved," he said.Leno said the Bush administration didn't appeal an appeals court decision last year barring the DEA from banning the sale of food products containing hemp. He interpreted the lack of an appeal as "tacit agreement" by the administration that Congress exempted hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.A U.S. Justice Department spokesman, Charles Miller, wouldn't discuss why the administration decided not to appeal. "We don't make any remarks on why we decline to pursue a case beyond a certain point," he said.Eidinger, the Vote Hemp spokesman, said the fight over hemp cultivation is likely to end up in the courts, if Congress doesn't pass legislation in the meantime allowing hemp farming.Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is planning to introduce a bill that would remove any federal roadblocks and allow states to decide if they want their farmers growing hemp."I think the courts are leaning our way," Eidinger said. "If you're going this direction on hemp food you might as well go one step further and grow the crop."California's two major farm organizations, the Western Growers Association and the California Farm Bureau Federation, haven't taken a position on the bill, although spokeswoman Ann Schmidt said the Farm Bureau's directors had a "lively discussion" about it.The Schwarzenegger administration also hasn't taken a stand, said Jay Van Rein, a spokesman for the Department of Food and Agriculture.On the Net: -- and Associated Press (Wire)Author: Steve Lawrence, Associated Press Published: April 5, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Associated Press Related Articles & Web Site: Cannabis News Hemp Links Considers Industrial Hemp Bill Mulls Industrial Hemp Bill Represents Opportunity for Organic Farmers
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on April 06, 2005 at 18:41:47 PT
All that is needed is for Arnold to stand up 
gee just think if this writer could have been positive.could have been reading this site. Chinese Hemp Industry has Boundless Potential 
Posted by FoM on November 05, 2001 at 09:01:46 PT
Business News 
Source: People's Daily As world fashion increasingly moves toward simplicity, comfort and health protection, experts point out that hemp, a major economic crop in China, could have great market prospects after the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization. 
Xia Jingyuan, a senior official with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture in charge of the extension of agricultural technology, said that the annual output of Chinese linen is worth over 10 billion yuan (about 1.2 billion US dollars). According to Xia, the ongoing upgrading of China's agricultural industry has given Chinese hemp a great opportunity. Environmentally friendly, high value-added and versatile, Chinese hemp products could be a major money-maker in market both here and abroad, said Xia. have done a google search on Genencor for a glimps of the hear and now
Cargill Dow names Genencor its enzyme partner for a biorefinery project Date
Posted: 9/8/2003All that is needed is for Arnold to stand up and save the plastic and fuel money from leaving the State.This is a pdf overview of NREL/Genencor work from 2003.
Here is an NREL Press release about Genencor/NREL winning a Top 100 R&D award in 2004.
There is a lot more information available with a simple web search. Google "NREL genencor" for starters and review the results listing.
I think you could get more specific information if you called NREL itself. NREL Public Affairs: (303) 275-4090. Genencor Meets First Technical Milestone in Biomass to Ethanol Project 
Genencor Labs, Palo Alto, California Genencor International, Inc. announced that it has achieved its first technical milestone in its three-year contract with the U.S. Department of Energy Biofuels Program. Genencor developed and validated processes for improved cellulase enzymes that meet the intended objective at one-half the cost of currently available technologies. "Advances in molecular biology and functional genomics enable us to push the frontiers of commercial development and we're pleased to be making progress toward developing new enzyme systems to accomplish the goal of this project," said Michael Arbige, Ph.D, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. The goal of the program is to develop new enzyme systems for the economic conversion of plant matter into ethanol and other valuable materials. DOE has determined that the cost of converting biomass into useable form is a critical stumbling block to producing biofuels and chemicals from renewable raw materials.Specifically, Genencor and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are working to deliver enzyme systems enabling a 10-fold improvement in the economics of breaking down cellulosic material (plant matter) and other complex carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. "The United States is the world's leader in agriculture and biotechnology and the Department's biomass research and development efforts take advantage of that position," said David Garman, the U.S. Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "The President's Energy Policy promotes the development of renewable energy sources and we look to biomass for significant contributions to reducing America's dependence on foreign oil."
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Comment #5 posted by potpal on April 06, 2005 at 15:54:48 PT
matt smith
Can this guy call cannabis users by any more names? Keerist. What a douche. I thought the headline was in reference to the author. Fits.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 06, 2005 at 11:13:51 PT
Related Article from The S.F. Weekly
Dumb as a Potted Plant  ***Why is someone as smart as Mark Leno sponsoring genuinely stupid legislation to legalize hemp cultivation? By Matt SmithE-Mail: matthew.smith 
I like Mark Leno. He has the straight-laced disposition of a mortician, which juxtaposes nicely with his role as one of the California Assembly's maverick legislators. He's the governmental champion of underdogs, tenants, orphans, parolees, recovering heroin addicts, artists, foster children, and gay rights, to name a few. Even though his issues resonate in San Francisco, like so many local officials who leave for Sacramento, Leno has been largely ignored by constituents. He deserves a higher profile. And in San Francisco there's apparently no more direct route to public acclaim than aligning oneself with potheads. Last week, for example, members of the Board of Supervisors struggled to outstoner one another, even while they testified on behalf of a 45-day moratorium on new "medical marijuana" stores, a move designed to fend off law enforcement as supervisors write new regulations to protect these pot clubs from federal and state prosecution. During the 1990s, San Francisco's stunningly inept district attorney, Terence Hallinan, managed to stay in office for eight years in large part on the basis of his reputation as a marijuana fan. In San Francisco, a city whose political culture still receives far too much guidance from 1970s potheads, you can't go wrong by carrying the ball for reefer freaks, no matter how absurd the cause, no matter how disastrous the results. As a journalist, I know the best way of pushing Leno toward local sainthood is to criticize him for advancing an especially idiotic item on the pothead agenda. So -- because I like Leno and want to make sure his political career prospers -- I've decided to point out that he is sponsoring a truly stupid and specious bill that would create special agricultural licenses allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp that no one really needs. In his previous job as a San Francisco supervisor, Leno was the city's go-to politician for medical marijuana. Since then, medicinal-pot clubs -- which in practice sell to potheads and street dealers of pot, along with the occasional legitimate patient -- have sprouted across the city like Starbucks, to the point that even our pot-addled city fathers feared for marijuana purveyors' reputation a month ago when a pot shop nearly opened in a city-run hotel inhabited by drug rehab patients. The Board of Supervisors last week passed a 45-day moratorium on new pot-club licenses, as it considers a way to regulate this scourge. Leno has moved on to Prong 2 of the potheads' dream of advancing the cannabis cause: legalized hemp. As with medical marijuana, there is a legitimate, if limited, use for the hemp plant. But the most ardent advocates of the claim that the legalization of hemp cultivation is an "important issue" happen to be people who also believe, passionately, that they should be free to smoke pot recreationally. Although supporters often deny it, the underlying idea of both the medical pot and cultivated hemp movements is that incremental steps to make marijuana -- the plant and the product -- accepted within society will, one day, lead to the full legalization of recreational pot. I sympathize with the logic of the potheads' arguments: If marijuana were legal, those who grow and sell the stuff would be identified, audited, and regulated just like any other corporate profiteer, a far better situation than the criminal marijuana underground currently fostered by prohibition. The logic of the reefer freaks' unspoken cause, however, doesn't hide a couple of unfortunate facts: Long-term pot users wind up, by and large, as memory-impaired losers. And the rhetoric that potheads spew around foot-in-the-door issues like industrial hemp is easily disproved bullshit. Industrial hemp is an ordinary cash crop that, if grown using the proper strains, can't get you high, no matter how many bales you smoke. The plant simply does not contain enough of the psychoactive drug tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, to get a human being off. And the plant has a number of uses that have nothing to do with altering the mind. Just the same, growing the stuff is illegal in the United States because of fears that farmers might secretly mix intoxicating pot plants in with identical-looking industrial hemp varieties. I agree with the potheads when they say this prohibition is silly. I part ways, however, when they claim this is an important issue. And potheads, along with their political hangers-on, make the mind-blowing claim that hemp is a really, really important issue. Changing the status of nonsmokable industrial hemp could change the world, Leno and his fellow reefer freaks say. "There's great potential for an economic bonanza as a result of this new crop," Leno said during a recent conversation. "It's a remarkable plant. And it's time to reintroduce it to the local economy." To this end, Leno last month sponsored a press conference during which people such as David Bronner, president of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps (you know, the ones with the 3,000-word "the whole world is our Fatherland" inscriptions on the bottle), repeated the false pothead claim that there's a chronic shortage of industrial hemp in America, and that we therefore have a need to create special licenses for California farmers to grow the stuff. Manufacturers of hemp products "can't guarantee the needed raw materials for requests they already have for their products," said Leno, who insists his hemp bill, his first-ever political foray into agricultural law, has nothing at all to do with medical-marijuana activism. "They're different issues, and I'm a multifaceted person, and I recognize medicinal benefits of medical marijuana and the potential of industrial hemp," Leno said. "We have a growing trade deficit, and our farmers are in great need of a new crop right now. I can't tell you how many thousands of jobs this is going to create." These are clearly the words of a man under the delusional influence of marijuana. In 1998, Canada passed a law similar to Leno's; it allowed farmers to apply for licenses to grow industrial hemp as long as they submitted to inspections to make sure they only grew the nonintoxicating variety of cannabis. Since then, Canadian farmers have learned that the utopian claims of hemp advocates are false, that growing hemp is a great way to lose lots of money, and that -- after decades of blather from new-hope-for-dope types to the effect that hemp would revolutionize the motor fuel, textiles, and paper pulp industries -- the most lucrative markets for the world's legal hemp crop remain birdseed and horse bedding. "The market is so small for hemp products that it is not going to be a bonanza for a large group of individuals," says hemp grower Lorne Hulme, owner of Agra Products Inc. in MacGregor, Manitoba. Hulme has spent the past six years leading a local farm co-op in its efforts to empty its silos of a 1999 glut of Canadian hemp seed. It seems that in 1998, Canadian farmers were hearing the same line of hype Leno's now mouthing. To make matters worse, this was the middle of the dot-com craze, when hype was king in North America. A California-based, venture capital-funded start-up sought to ride pothead-inspired hemp hype to dot-com-style riches. "They had growers all hyped up," recalls Nabi Chaudhary, senior economic analyst for crops with Alberta's provincial government. "Their main thing was they were going to separate fiber from the hemp stem and then also use the rest of the plant for making strawboards, wood panels for construction purposes." The company, called Consolidated Growers and Producers, or CGP, persuaded Canadian farmers to plant some 35,000 acres of hemp plants. It hired Gero Leson, a Berkeley-based environmental scientist, as president of the firm. The next step, presumably, was to change the nature of American commerce  la -- and make a fortune in the process. "It was the worst time of my life," Leson recalls. "I only talk about CGP with friends that lived through it with me." Leson, a specialist in technological uses for natural fibers, lent a touch of legitimacy to the CGP enterprise. To his dismay, however, he soon learned that the company's backers were more interested in the pothead's version of hemp's prospects -- that it'll make the world an ecotopia by replacing everything we touch, burn, or eat -- than the industrial horticulturist's, which recognizes hemp's potential as a niche product with applications in foodstuffs, textiles, structural materials, and paper. And specialists with a real technical and economic expertise about the crop see many of these uses as uncertain, and at best years from economic viability. "As you know, there's a lot of hype in the U.S. to save the world through hemp," Leson notes. "Like the dot-commers did, CGP tried to show they had capacity. They did this by putting a crop in the ground for which they had no market. They made farmers believe there would be buyers for that crop, which wasn't the case." Leson quit after nine months, sick of the hype and the lies, he says. The company went bust within a year, leaving Canadian farmers holding the bag. Canadian growers only last year finished selling their 1999 crop of hemp seed, mostly as bird food, Leson says. Some Canadian farmers still plant hemp -- Canada, after all, is where U.S. manufacturers of hemp clothing and hemp granola bars currently get their seeds and fiber. Last year's crop was 8,800 acres, about a quarter of the acreage of hemp's 1999 Canadian heyday. In 2000, U.S. Department of Agriculture economists estimated the total U.S. demand for hemp fiber could be satisfied by four average-size, 500-acre farms. Even if hemp were to live out its promise better than the USDA predicted, the potential market for the crop would only be enough to sustain about a dozen average farms. Because of this market reality, farmers in Canada won't put seeds into the ground unless money first crosses their palms. "There are plenty of farmers who don't want to touch it. Others will plant if they are paid up front, or if they have contracts that are enforceable," Leson notes. "Nobody's dumb enough to grow hemp on spec and hope it will sell." So when people at Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, or at Nutiva, a brand of hemp-based food, lined up at Leno's recent hemp press conference to say an industrial cannabis shortage is limiting their production, what they were really saying was that they don't want the expense of guaranteeing payment in advance to Canadian farmers. Would they instead like to dupe and burn California planters,  la CGP, ensuring years of dirt-cheap hemp? When Mark Leno says passing a Canadian-style hemp bill will create an economic revolution in California, he's either high, or blowing smoke for the benefit of voters back home. As a fan of Leno's work -- the work that steers clear of marijuana, that is -- I wish him the very best by insisting that his hemp bill is so lame, it could have been designed by a stoner. Copyright: 2005 New Times
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 05, 2005 at 19:10:23 PT
Oops the poll was bad at 45%. Who would have ever thought! LOL!
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on April 05, 2005 at 19:04:59 PT
Tom, Really?
Tom Riley, a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said hemp farming could be used to hide marijuana cultivation by mixing the two plants in the field.Canada and every other industrialized nation are having no such problem in their hemp fields. Riley should be slapped
for making such an absurd statement.Vote Hemp: an unrelated note, the moron isn't very popular. Even Nixon had a higher approval rating than Bush! BWAHAAHAAHAAAA!!! Personally, I don't see how his approval rating could be above 10%...Gallup: Bush Approval Rating Lowest Ever for 2nd-Term Prez at this Point:
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Comment #1 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on April 05, 2005 at 15:26:48 PT
Hemp is good food
I love hemp foods. There are so many good hemp foods out there too. I have tried a lot of them and haven't found one I dislike yet. 
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