State Lawmaker Attempting to Legalize Hemp!

State Lawmaker Attempting to Legalize Hemp!
Posted by FoM on January 12, 1999 at 06:39:40 PT

A Wisconsin legislator wants to legalize industrial Hemp -- a virtually non-potent form of Marijuana -- to provide another cash crop for beleaguered farmers. Potheads might rejoice at the thought of a thriving Hemp industry in the state, but law enforcement officials think the idea is a bummer! 
State Rep. Eugene Hahn (R-Cambria) said Monday that he's drafting a bill to legalize industrial hemp to help Wisconsin farmers facing bankruptcy from plummeting pork prices. Industrial hemp was grown in Wisconsin and other states during World War II after southeast Asian countries that manufactured rope were taken over by the Japanese. It's still used for thousands of products ranging from clothing, carpeting and paper to cooking oil, animal feed and bedding for horses. "If you watch what's happening with the No. 1 industry in Wisconsin, I think it's on the verge of collapse. We have to do something," Hahn, whose uncle was a hemp farmer during World War II, said Monday. "We need a spurt in the agriculture industry, and I think this is one that could help a great deal. But we have to get the feds to change the rules since they think it's a drug." That won't be easy. It is illegal to grow industrial hemp in the United States. Much of the problem lies in the fact that it's difficult to tell the difference between industrial hemp and cultivated marijuana plants. Industrial hemp has 1% to 2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that gives pot smokers a buzz, while cultivated marijuana has 4% to 6%. Narcotics agents are now seeing higher potency marijuana with 11% THC and even 25% to 30%, said Dane County Sheriff's Sgt. Mark Twomby. If farmers are allowed to grow industrial hemp, it would make the already difficult jobs of law enforcement agents even tougher, said Twomby. "People grow their plants wherever they think they won't be discovered. That would make it even more difficult if you had an industrial hemp field," said Twomby. Hahn said he hopes to meet with Attorney General James Doyle to discuss his idea. Jim Haney, Doyle's spokesman, said Monday that the attorney general is opposed to legalizing hemp. "No state in the country has taken this kind of step, and there's no reason to make Wisconsin the laboratory experiment," Haney said. "This is one of those issues that pops up and someone believes, eureka, they found a way to make money. There's a reason states have not embraced this concept." Haney added that the only areas that could hope to see much growth from hemp-related industries are countries with very cheap labor markets. "It's not a savior for framing but it provides another alternative," said Tom Thieding, spokesman for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. However, he added, "we've got some of the wrong people promoting this because they've also been using the wrong product in their daily lives so it's been hard to get a credible alliance with the farmers." Russ Weisensel, who is coordinating the Wisconsin Industrial Hemp Initiative, acknowledged there are virtually no markets in the United States for hemp. But he said markets could develop for an industry that during the 1940s accounted for 30,000 acres and 10 processing plants in Wisconsin. Among Weisensel's key obstacles, he concedes, are activists with a, er, joint interest in the issue. "To our detriment, we do have pot smokers who say this is great," said Weisensel, senior vice president-government relations for the Wisconsin Agribusiness Council. But there's virtually no way to get a buzz from smoking hemp, Weisensel said, and controls can be placed on farmers to calm the fears of law enforcement. Weisensel pointed out the benefits of the hearty, environmentally friendly crop. It doesn't require herbicides; its fiber is stronger and more absorbent than cotton; it produces more pulp per acre than timber; and hemp-based paper can be recycled more often than conventional paper. Hemp is a good rotation crop and can net farmers a profit of $200 to $400 an acre -- much higher than corn and soybeans -- if markets are created. Journal Sentinel Online 
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Comment #2 posted by Coda on February 01, 2000 at 13:35:01 PT:
Legalization of Hemp
It is just a shame that Hemp can not be grown in the US but we can buy Hemp products in the US. Just another way our goverment lets us know that it is not looking out for us.
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Comment #1 posted by UaN on January 12, 1999 at 08:36:03 PT
I think that the government discriminates against the people of the United States by not allowing industrial hemp to be grown. The farmers in the US should file some sort of a discrimination case against the government for interferring in their ability to support their family by growing hemp. It is not fair to discriminate because they are afraid they won't be able to tell the hemp from the maijuana. That sounds like a piss-poor excuse for depriving people of food and "a life".....But at this point it sounds like America!
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