Hemp Bill Passes Public Safety Committee 

Hemp Bill Passes Public Safety Committee 
Posted by CN Staff on April 30, 2007 at 05:47:39 PT
By Tom Ragan, Sentinel Staff Writer
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Cruz --  Elaine Berke, co-owner of Eco Goods in Santa Cruz, would like to see hemp grown legally in California some day. The fact is, hemp products have been popular for a while, but unfortunately it has an unfair stigma attached to it.People often confuse it with marijuana, even though it's nothing of the sort, she said. "But mostly it's our government that's confused.
There's no question that being able to grow it would be wonderful for our economy," said Berke, who's been selling hemp clothes for more than a decade on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. "There are so many products that can be made out of industrial hemp: clothes, paper, body care, even car parts. Our forefathers used to think it was patriotic to grow it. Hopefully, we can return to those days."That's where AB 684 comes in. Introduced in late February, the bill, which has passed the state Assembly's Committee on Public Safety, seeks to legalize hemp so California growers can compete.The idea is that growers in the state could try to make the same sort of profits that Canadian and Chinese growers are raking in as the No. 1 and No. 2 suppliers of the U.S. market.Even the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau supports the legislation, saying industrial hemp, if nothing else, could serve as an alternative crop during the slow season. But there are two things standing in the way of the legalization: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the federal government, which still makes no distinction between hemp and marijuana. Schwarzenegger shot down a similar version of legislation that made it to his desk last year in October, saying he didn't think that state law should supersede federal law.While the governor wrote at the time that said he supports the development of new crops in the state, he added: "Unfortunately, I am very concerned that this bill would give legitimate growers a false sense of security and a belief that production of 'industrial hemp' is somehow a legal activity under federal law."Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who introduced AB 1147 last year and is the co-author of this year's bill, is holding out hope that Schwarzenegger will sign the bill because it is a nonelection year.Patrick Googin, counsel for Hemp Industries Association and a board member for Vote Hemp, is also optimistic."The U.S. is the only country in the First World that can't grow industrialized hemp," said Googin, a San Francisco resident. "Canada has been growing it and selling it for 10 years, and they're sending it here. We're the market."But so far the governor nor the California Farm Bureau and Federation haven't taken positions on the bill, according to their offices.Complete Title: Hemp Bill Passes Public Safety Committee in Assembly Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)Author: Tom Ragan, Sentinel Staff WriterPublished: April 30, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Santa Cruz SentinelContact: editorial santa-cruz.comWebsite: Hemp Hemp Archives
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 30, 2007 at 14:35:10 PT
North Dakota to DEA: Out of Our Hemp Fields 
New Law Allows Hemp Farming Without DEA License, Farmers to Challenge DEABISMARCK, N.D., April 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- North Dakota's legislature wrapped up last week by telling the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that it would no longer require state-licensed industrial hemp farmers to seek DEA licenses. The law change removes the DEA license as a requirement of state law, but it can't protect farmers from federal prosecution. Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp advocacy group, will support a lawsuit brought by ND-licensed hemp farmers to prevent the DEA from enforcing federal marijuana laws against them. If the farmers' lawsuit, which will be filed in the coming weeks, is successful, states across the nation will be free to implement hemp farming laws without fear of federal interference. "With the broad authority that has been granted to them by Congress, the DEA could have easily approved the applications of the farmers in North Dakota," says Tom Murphy, National Outreach Coordinator for Vote Hemp. "The DEA could have also easily negotiated industrial hemp farming rules with North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson who has been talking to them about this for a year. Instead, they kept stalling until the time to plant had passed," says Mr. Murphy. "North Dakota had nothing left to do but cut the DEA out of the picture." "I applied for my ND license in January and was hopeful the DEA would act quickly and affirm my right to plant industrial hemp this year. Unfortunately, the DEA has not responded in any way other than to state that it would take them a lot more time than the window of time I have to import seed and plant the crop," said ND farmer, David Monson. "It appears that DEA really doesn't want to work with anyone to resolve the issue", Monson added. The hemp language in HB 1020 was the result of several months of fruitless negotiations between the DEA and North Dakota officials, who hoped to gain federal recognition for the state-licensed hemp farmers. It amends the state hemp farming law to explicitly remove the Drug Enforcement Administration from the process. "The legislative action is a direct response to the DEA's refusal to waive registration requirements, including $3,440 per farmer in non-refundable yearly application fees, and the agency's inability to respond to the farmers' federal applications in time for spring planting," says Alexis Baden-Mayer, Vote Hemp's Legislative Director. Read the DEA letter that was ND's last straw at: "The North Dakota legislature's bold action gives Vote Hemp the opportunity we've been working towards for nearly a decade. Now that there is a state with comprehensive hemp farming regulations that has explicitly eschewed DEA involvement, we can finally make the case that states have the legal ability to regulate industrial hemp farming within their borders without federal interference," says Baden-Mayer. Adding, "And, because ND Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson actually did spend nearly a year trying to work out an agreement with the DEA, it's clear that DEA isn't going to act in a reasonable way and isn't ever to going to acknowledge the practical differences between industrial hemp and marijuana and accommodate ND's plan to commercialize hemp farming."Source: Vote HempURL:
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on April 30, 2007 at 09:12:15 PT
Just remember...
When global warming comes down on us we have our 'hero' CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to thank for it. He places his political future above our well being. Is this the kind of Governor CA wants or should have? What a hero! Way to go Arnold, you should have remained a movie actor or weight lifter, I would have kept some respect for you!
When will USA get it?
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Comment #1 posted by OverwhelmSam on April 30, 2007 at 09:05:52 PT
Stand up for your Rights, or Lose them.
Hemp legalization is just another tool to confound enforcement of the federal government's ignorant marijuana prohibition and to set law enforcement officials up for to be sued. Once enough law enforcement officials and their wives and childrens lives are ruined due to marijuana prohibition, the laws will change. I think the dirty cops going to jail in Atlanta for killing a 92 year old woman sends a strong message to law enforcement. The hunter becomes the hunted, we're coming after you if you love to hate marijuana consumers.
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