California Seeks to Clear Hemp of a Bad Name 

  California Seeks to Clear Hemp of a Bad Name 

Posted by CN Staff on August 28, 2006 at 06:45:25 PT
By Patrick Leigh Brown 
Source: New York Times 

Stratford, Calif. — Charles Meyer’s politics are as steady and unswerving as the rows of pima cotton on his Central Valley farm. With his work-shirt blue eyes and flinty Clint Eastwood demeanor, he is staunchly in favor of the war in Iraq, against gun control and believes people unwilling to recite the Pledge of Allegiance should be kicked out of America, and fast.But what gets him excited is the crop he sees as a potential windfall for California farmers: industrial hemp, or Cannabis sativa. The rapidly growing plant with a seemingly infinite variety of uses is against federal law to grow because of its association with its evil twin, marijuana.
“Industrial hemp is a wholesome product,” said Mr. Meyer, 65, who says he has never worn tie-dye and professes a deep disdain for “dope.” “The fact we’re not growing it is asinine,” Mr. Meyer said.Things could change if a measure passed by legislators in Sacramento and now on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk becomes law. [The bill reached Mr. Schwarzenegger last week; he has 30 days to sign or veto it.] Seven states have passed bills supporting the farming of industrial hemp; their strategy has been to try to get permission from the Drug Enforcement Administration to proceed. But California is the first state that would directly challenge the federal ban, arguing that it does not need a D.E.A. permit, echoing the state’s longstanding fight with the federal authorities over its legalization of medicinal marijuana. The hemp bill would require farmers who grow it to undergo crop testing to ensure their variety of cannabis is nonhallucinogenic; its authors say it has been carefully worded to avoid conflicting with the federal Controlled Substances Act.But those efforts have not satisfied federal and state drug enforcement authorities, who argue that fields of industrial hemp would only serve as hiding places for illicit cannabis. The California Narcotic Officers Association opposes the bill, and a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington said the measure was unworkable.Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican running for re-election, has been mum on his intentions, with the political calculus of hemp in California difficult to decipher. The bill was the handiwork of two very different lawmakers, Assemblyman Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat best known for attempting to legalize same-sex marriage, and Assemblyman Charles S. DeVore, an Orange County Republican who worked in the Pentagon as a Reagan-era political appointee.Their bipartisan communion underscores a deeper shift in hemp culture that has evolved in recent years, from ragtag hempsters whose love of plants with seven leaves ran mostly to marijuana, to today’s savvy coalition of organic farmers and health-food entrepreneurs working to distance themselves from the drug.Hundreds of hemp products, including energy bars and cold-pressed hemp oil, are made in California, giving the banned plant a capitalist aura. But manufacturers must import the raw material, mostly from Canada, where hemp cultivation was legalized in 1998.The new hemp entrepreneurs regard it as a sustainable crop, said John Roulac, 47, a former campaigner against clear-cutting and a backyard composter before founding Nutiva, a growing California hemp-foods company. “They want to lump together all things cannabis,” said David Bronner, 33, whose family’s squeeze-bottle Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps, based in Escondido, Calif., are made with hemp oil. “You don’t associate a poppy seed bagel with opium.”The differences between hemp and its mind-altering cousin, however, can be horticulturally challenging to grasp. The main one is that the epidermal glands of marijuana secrete a resin of euphoria-inducing delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or T.H.C., a substance all but lacking in industrial hemp.Ernest Small, a Canadian researcher who co-wrote a major hemp study in 2002 for Purdue University, compared the genetic differences to those that separate racehorses from plow horses. Evolution, Mr. Small said, has almost completely bred T.H.C. out of industrial hemp, which by law must have a concentration of no more than three-tenths of 1 percent.To its supporters, industrial hemp is utopia in a crop. Prized not only for its healthful seeds and oils, rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, but also its fast, bamboo-like growth that shades out weeds, without pesticides.“Simply put, you create a jungle in one year,” said John LaBoyteaux, who testified in Sacramento on behalf of the California Certified Organic Farmers association. “There’s a growing market out there, and we can’t tap it.”The bill before Governor Schwarzenegger is the latest installment in a hemp debate that reached its height in 2004, when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that federal antidrug laws did not apply to the manufacturing or consumption of industrial hemp. The court ruled that decades earlier, Congress had exempted from marijuana-control laws the stalks, fibers, oils and seeds of industrial hemp, and that the government had no right to ban hemp products.That opened the floodgates for Patagonia hemp jeans and the Merry Hempsters Zit Zapper (with hemp oil).Patrick D. Goggin, a lawyer for the Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp, said there would probably be legal snarls to work out with the California legislation, assuming it is enacted, so that farmers would not be placing their property in jeopardy if they chose to grow industrial hemp. But if the federal government clamps down, Mr. Goggin said, “we’re prepared to raise the issue in court.”“Were trying to get an arcane vision of the law contemporized,” he added. Rogene Waite, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the agency would not speculate about pending legislation.The bill’s adherents point to hemp’s hallowed niche in American history. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson cultivated hemp (neither effort was profitable). Colonists’ boats sailed the Atlantic with hempen sails. Old Ironsides carried 60 tons of hempen sail and rope. The word “canvas,” in fact, is derived from cannabis, a high-tensile fiber naturally resistant to decay.Hemp flourished as an American crop from the end of the Civil War until the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act ended production. During World War II, when Japan seized the Philippines and cut off supplies of Manila hemp, the crop got a brief reprieve in the United States, where farmers were encouraged to grow “Hemp for Victory,” for boots, parachute cording and the like. But contrary to lore, most such hemp was never harvested.Today, China controls about 40 percent of the world’s hemp fiber, and its ability to flood the market “could result in price fluctuations the American farmer would have to weather,” said Valerie Vantreese, an agricultural economist in Lexington, Ky. (Kentucky was once the leading hemp-producing state). Hemp is grown legally in about 30 countries, including many in the European Union, where it is mixed with lime to make plaster and as a “biocomposite” in the interior panels of Mercedes-Benzes.In the United States, the chief argument against hemp has been made by drug-control officials, who are concerned that vast acreages could be used to conceal clandestine marijuana, which they say would be impossible to detect.“California is a great climate to grow pot in, and no one from law enforcement is going through the fields to do a chemical analysis of different plants,” said Thomas A. Riley, a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington. To some people intimate with the nuances of marijuana, however, the idea of hiding marijuana in a hemp field, where the plants would cross-pollinate, provokes amusement.“It would be the end of outdoors marijuana,” said Jack Heber, 67, a marijuana historian and author who runs a group called Help End Marijuana Prohibition, or HEMP. “If it gets mixed with that crop, it’s a disaster.” In North Dakota, the state agricultural commissioner, Roger Johnson, has proposed allowing hemp farming, and has been working with federal drug regulators on stringent regulations that would include fingerprinting farmers and requiring G.P.S. coordinates of hemp fields.“We’ve done our level best to convince them we’re not a bunch of wackos,” Mr. Johnson said. Fifteen years ago, he noted, there was little market for canola, which is now a major crop produced for its cooking oil. He sees hemp in a similar vein and dismisses the fears that it would lead to criminality.“It would take a joint the size of a telephone pole to have an impact,” he said.But up north in Garberville, the Central Valley of marijuana, the lines between hemp and marijuana are often a hazy blur, as they are at a store called the Hemp Connection, where hemp hats and yoga clothing are sold alongside manuals on pot botany and Stoneware baking pans (“makes six groovy brownies per pan”).The proprietor, Marie Mills, who said she once crafted paper from marijuana stalks, remains committed to cannabis in all its guises. “We want to educate people and take away the stigma,” Ms. Mills said. “We want hemp without harassment.”Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Patrick Leigh BrownPublished: August 28, 2006Copyright: 2006 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Vote Hemp Bill Heads for Schwarzenegger's Desk Hemp Bill Headed To Governor Sends Hemp Bill To Governor

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Comment #19 posted by greenmed on August 28, 2006 at 18:41:57 PT
It's back up now.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on August 28, 2006 at 15:19:16 PT
 I Tried EJ
It didn't work for me either. 
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Comment #17 posted by E_Johnson on August 28, 2006 at 15:11:49 PT
I can't get
Did they go down? Does anyone know?
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Comment #16 posted by global_warming on August 28, 2006 at 14:39:50 PT
re:US Hemp
Time To Legalize Hemp? And Perhaps Marijuana?"This bill isn't really about hemp as such, but about the continuing criminalization of marijuana. California has long signaled that it wants to dump anti-marijuana laws but have been stymied by the federal government. The hemp bill is another demonstration of the difficult task in declaring a crop illegal, especially one that has such positive potential as hemp, simply to support a failing front on the war on drugs. Even conservatives in the Golden State have begun to question the resources spent on fighting marijuana."..
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Comment #15 posted by mayan on August 28, 2006 at 13:26:10 PT
U.S. Hemp
Today, China controls about 40 percent of the world’s hemp fiber, and its ability to flood the market “could result in price fluctuations the American farmer would have to weather,” said Valerie Vantreese, an agricultural economist in Lexington, Ky.Give the American farmer the right to grow hemp and it won't be necessarry to import any hemp from any country. We could easily be the biggest exporter. Arnold should have already signed this bill. 
 THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Professor's 9/11 theories outrage NH leaders: readers speak out on Prof. Woodward and 9/11: Frontman: 9/11 An Inside Job: Post Doesn't Answer Why No Bin Laden 9/11 Indictment: 9/11 Chronicles: Destroying a Crime Scene: Nuts And 9/11:
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on August 28, 2006 at 12:52:16 PT
really fascist "kill all dealers" type commen
That's so sickening. A few years ago there was minor candidate...but not so minor that he didn't get on TV...for something that wanted to have laws that would allow prohibitionists to legally cut the hands off drug users. First offense one hand...second offense the other.I'm serious. The no good was on TV spouting that stuff at debates.Not one of the candidate hopefuls looked at him and asked if he wasn't some kind of lunatic. They didn't agree with him, but they didn't disagree with him either. They let him feed the hatred that is all too prevalent out there today.
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Comment #13 posted by ekim on August 28, 2006 at 12:48:14 PT
Max anyone can type
i would be suprized if that were the case.remember Kapts post about the group that was going around trying to get signers on a pro cannabis sheet only to get the person to change his or her party voting rights.FoM is right as much dirty tricks are afoot -- walk softly 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on August 28, 2006 at 12:25:49 PT
Max Flowers
I saw that when I checked out the comments. It's election time and the law and order people are worried about getting voted out. I expect it to get bad until the election is over. It really is a more local story for California. Folks in the rest of the USA don't have near that problem that I know of. We are still at square one.
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Comment #11 posted by Max Flowers on August 28, 2006 at 12:21:24 PT
Thanks, I'll consider that. I appreciate it. Mainly I just came across this article in the local paper (online) and thought it would be a good one for CNews but apparently not so. It's really a local story about Sonoma County but was interesting to me. What's really disturbing to me is the number of really fascist "kill all dealers" type comments on the Press Democrat page under the story itself. Fascist evil evidently lives comfortably among liberals here.
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Comment #10 posted by whig on August 28, 2006 at 12:14:03 PT
Good government
Here's me trying to engage the progressives in a discussion:
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on August 28, 2006 at 11:57:35 PT

A Little E-Mail News
I have been reading a discussion about Dr. Lester Grinspoon and a company called Cannasat. I assume it is public knowledge now. Dr. Lester Grinspoon resigned from his working with Cannasat. That's all I really know but I found it very interesting. I really appreciate Dr. Grinspoon.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 28, 2006 at 11:10:56 PT

That's a really good idea.
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Comment #7 posted by whig on August 28, 2006 at 11:07:30 PT

Do you want posting rights on Cannablog? I can add you and you can post up articles like that if you want.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on August 28, 2006 at 10:47:07 PT

Max Flowers
This is how I look at it. I have been doing CNews for a long time. I see how they use the news against us and we often don't even know it. It's like we always see drug news near elections and then nothing when Republicans get elected. Why should we be a tool? I also am trying to cut down on articles because they can be found on Mapinc. or other web sites that do news. I'm trying to save them a little money and hope we can still have lots of comments without using too much bandwidth.
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Comment #5 posted by Max Flowers on August 28, 2006 at 10:40:32 PT

Well I guess I didn't understand your rules on this. I thought you posted anything that was directly relevant to cannabis news. This is cannabis-related news. I think it shows that no matter how much the cops/gov't try to fight it, it just keeps persisting.It doesn't appear to me that the article makes a case for more anti-pot funding. It just reports what is happening. Regarding the fact that it reports that Mexican organized crime is behind most of the outdoor plantations, well that's just pure fact and not inflammatory against Mexicans. If you are going to worry that some group or another is going to take offense at articles you post, you'd never post anything, right? Someone will always be offended. And I doubt that any Mexican people would be insulted anyway since the facts are well known about this in this region. If these gardens were being grown by Croatians, they'd report that.My personal opinion is that if Mexican illegals with guns and connected to the Mexican mafia want to keep growing huge gardens that get easily busted and take the pressure off of legal citizens, let them go ahead. More than that though I wish they would just stop and go home. I would add that if I as an American tried to grow 10,000 plants in a forest in Mexico without anyone's permission, I'd be found buried in a shallow grave by the end of the week.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on August 28, 2006 at 10:19:46 PT

Max Flowers 
I don't post articles that make it seem like they need more money to fight marijuana eradication because that's what it seems to be about. It names Mexicans too which makes anger for many people. I went thru it fast but does it say legalizing would stop the problem or more money for eradication? I am on the phone helping my sister with her computer so maybe you can tell me.
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Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on August 28, 2006 at 10:11:18 PT

FoM, I'd like to "newshawk" this one 
Mexican crime families run most of state's pot farms
North Coast, state production soaring; sending workers north cheaper than smuggling dopeBy MIKE GENIELLA
THE PRESS DEMOCRATIllegal marijuana production is surging on the North Coast and across the state as a result of rising dominance of Mexican crime families over the state's underground pot economy.Scores of Mexican nationals are being sneaked across the border to grow, guard and harvest marijuana gardens inside California because tightened border security has crimped smuggling of Mexican-grown pot into the state, according to local, state and federal drug agents.Mexican-controlled operations now account for as much as 70 percent of all the marijuana cultivated in the state's rural regions, including the North Coast, the agents said.Although multiagency teams are only in the early weeks of their annual marijuana crackdown statewide, the estimated street value of nearly 1 million pot plants uprooted this summer already equals last year's record $4.5billion. The number of seized plants in Mendocino, Lake and Sonoma counties and the Mendocino National Forest account for about 62 percent of the statewide total.full article at:
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Comment #2 posted by ekim on August 28, 2006 at 09:22:30 PT

 how much will DEA pay to stop Rnold from signing
The Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Biomass Cellulose to Sugars technology isThat statement says it all. As for China sending to much --they will never send it --now it will be used for much needed bio-fuel Ethanol.Biomass and Solar Technologies Lauded
 Monday, July 12, 2004Golden, Colo. - Two technologies developed by the U.S. Department of
Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory are among this year's most
significant innovations, as judged by Research & Development (R&D) Magazine.The Laboratory's two R&D 100 Awards for 2004 are for an innovative,
lower-cost method for transforming plant material into the sugars that can
be used to make fuels and chemicals, and a thin-film solar cell that
produces electricity directly from sunlight, which has greater efficiency,
and is lighter weight and more flexible than previous devices.This year's announcement brings to 37 the number of R&D 100 Awards garnered
by NREL."Once again, the technologies developed by our Laboratory's researchers are
being acknowledged for their importance to the nation," said Stan Bull, NREL
associate director for science and technology. "It's particularly gratifying
that the R&D 100 Awards this year include two NREL technologies that can
enhance our nation's energy security and reduce our reliance on foreign
sources of oil."The Enzymatic Hydrolysis of Biomass Cellulose to Sugars technology is
expected to allow a wide range of biomass resources to be used to produce
energy and chemicals. It is an important step toward realizing the potential
of bio-refineries-in which plant and waste materials are used to produce an
array of fuels and chemicals, analogous to an oil refinery today.Through this technology, the cost of converting cellulosic biomass into
usable sugars can be reduced by more than 20 times per gallon of ethanol
produced.The award is shared by NREL, Genencor International and Novozymes Biotech,
Inc. NREL researchers who worked on this project included Michael Himmel,
Jim McMillan, Dan Schell, Jody Farmer, Nancy Dowe and Rafael Nieves.Also recognized for 2004 are light and flexible thin-film copper indium
gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic modules, which can be manufactured in
various sizes and have a compact, foldable design that allows for easy
deployment, transport and storage.As a result, the modules have twice the power-to-weight ratio, and three
times the power-to-size ratio as competing products. Because of this, they
are especially suited for military applications, portable power for consumer
and public use, boating and other marine applications and building-related
uses, such as for bus shelters and in PV-integrated roofing.The award is shared by NREL, Global Solar Energy and ITN Energy Systems.
NREL researchers who worked on this project included Harin Ullal, Ken
Zweibel and Bolko von Roedern.NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's premier laboratory for renewable
energy research and development and a leading laboratory for energy
efficiency R&D. NREL is operated for DOE by Midwest Research Institute and
Battelle.For further information contact NREL Public Affairs at (303) 275-4090.NR-3404
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 28, 2006 at 07:16:13 PT

I have put the word republican in my list of 7 words you can't say on television so it makes number 8 or at least I wish it was. Seriously we will see how the Governor stands. He is married to a Kennedy. Let's see if blood is thicker then a political party. 
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