Hemp Bill Awaits Governor's Signature

Hemp Bill Awaits Governor's Signature
Posted by CN Staff on September 24, 2007 at 06:25:50 PT
By Sarah Terry-Cobo, Staff Writer
Source: Tri-Valley Herald 
Sacramento, CA -- A revised bill that would allow some state farmers to grow hemp is en route to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk and both sides of the argument are optimistic the governor will agree with their position. The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act was redrafted from last year's version to address gubernatorial concerns about law enforcement issues. The act was passed by the legislature Sept. 12.
Proponents of the bill, such as the Hemp Industries Association and the nonprofit advocacy group Vote Hemp, argue that hemp products  including food, body care products and textiles  are a multimillion-dollar industry that could benefit California's economy by allowing the raw materials to be grown here instead of importing hemp from overseas. Opponents include numerous law enforcement agencies, the state's police chiefs organization and Drug Watch International, which point to interference with law enforcement capabilities because of the physical similarities of hemp with marijuana. Schwarzenegger vetoed the original version of the bill last year, saying that in addition to the potential drain on drug-enforcement activities, federal law does not recognize the difference between industrial hemp and illicit marijuana, as delineated in the bill. The current bill revises the definition of marijuana, making hemp a legitimate crop. The bill would allow farmers who participate in a pilot program to grow hemp that has less than 0.3 percent of the psychoactive ingredient terahydrocannibinol, or THC. Marijuana usually has a THC content ranging from 3 to 15 percent, according to a fact sheet released by Mark Leno, D-S.F., and Chuck DeVore, R-Orange County, the authors of the bill. John Lovell of the California Narcotics Officers Association points to one of the reasons to oppose the bill: ''Marijuana prosecution will be difficult, if not impossible because sophisticated (drug growers) will use female hemp plants as a buffer (in fields of marijuana), to evade detection," he said. Charles Meyer, a 66-year-old third-generation cotton farmer, disagrees with that position. He became involved with Vote Hemp about 10 years ago while researching a sustainable alternative to cotton. He has testified before the legislature on behalf of the hemp industry. ''A marijuana patch looks like an orchard, it has to be separated out in rows and the male plants are removed," Meyer said. ''A hemp field looks like a wheat field," he continued. The hemp fields can have both male and female plants, because pollinated marijuana plants have reduced THC content and are useless for commercial markets, Meyer said. If signed by Schwarzenegger, the Hemp Industries Association and Vote Hemp  the two groups that helped advise the Assemblymen who drafted the legislation  will seek to enjoin the Controlled Substances Act from interfering in the pilot program, said Patrick Goggin, California council with HIA and Vote Hemp. The CSA is the federal law that does not recognize a difference between marijuana and industrial-grade hemp. "If (the judge) determines that AB684 has no positive conflict with the CSA, it can proceed and coexist with the DEA and their enforcement," Goggin said. The proposed law will begin with a pilot project that allows farmers in four counties  Imperial, King, Yolo and Mendocino  to receive hemp seeds from an established research institution and grow only test crops for five years. Each crop must be sampled by a laboratory registered with the DEA and each sample must contain less than 0.3 percent THC to comply with the California law. However, this testing only opens up logistical problems, argues Lovell. ''(Even if) you are using the Department of Justice state crime lab for all testing, the problem is the DOJ does not have instruments to do quantitative information on marijuana or hemp," he said. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive category. Only a few scientists around the country have permits from the Drug Enforcement Administration that allow them to grow marijuana for scientific research. A common mistake is supposing that hemp and marijuana are different species. In fact, the differences between the plants, both Cannabis sativa L., are akin to the relationship among dog breeds. Hemp and marijuana are as similar as a Chihuahua and a Great Dane, said George Weiblen, associate professor of botany at the University of Minnesota, one of the few scientists who has a permit to study marijuana. ''These are different forms of the same species that have been selected for different characteristics," he said in a telephone interview in the spring from his office in St. Paul. ''This is really a product of 10,000 years of modification of a species," Weiblen said. ''Hemp breeders focused on fiber characteristics and low drug content and marijuana breeders focused on high drug content." The fastest-growing segment tor hemp is body care products, but paper, fiber and oil are also among the thousands of products sold each year in the U.S. The Hemp Industries Association says annual sales are nearly $300 million and are growing at an annual rate of about 10 percent. California farmers are currently shut out of a multimillion dollar-industry because we don't allow our farmers to grow industrial hemp, and we force California manufacturers to buy hemp seed, oil and fiber from other countries, Leno said in a recent press release. Our enterprising and innovative farmers should not be hindered by senseless regulation. It's my hope that by giving farmers in these counties the opportunity to supply a $270 million industry that's growing by $26 million each year, that other counties won't be far behind, Leno said. Regardless of the legal issues surrounding industrial hemp, it is one of the oldest known cultivated plants, dating back to China 10,000 years ago. Hemp was cultivated in the U.S. by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and was a viable crop until the 1937 Marijuana Tax Stamp Act outlawed both industrial and psychoactive varieties. Without a change in policy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt promoted a Hemp for Victory campaign during World War II, encouraging patriotic farmers to make up for the restricted supply from the Pacific. While grown in at least 30 countries worldwide, North Dakota is the only state that allows its residents to grow hemp.Note: Legislation would revise definition of marijuana.Complete Title: Controversial Hemp Bill Awaits Governor's SignatureSource: Tri-Valley Herald (Pleasanton, CA)Author: Sarah Terry-Cobo, Staff WriterPublished: September 24, 2007Copyright: 2007 ANG NewspapersContact:  herlet angnewspapers.comWebsite: Hemp Archives
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Comment #11 posted by afterburner on September 28, 2007 at 23:12:47 PT
dongenero #8. They're on the Net Too!
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Comment #10 posted by Truth on September 26, 2007 at 08:59:20 PT
post #8
Good one!
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Comment #9 posted by gloovins on September 26, 2007 at 00:10:07 PT
Arnold: A sane plea
If hemp were legal, it could give us a choice at the pump bio diesel vs gas today. This greatly threatens the US corporations whos vested interest in the status quo is gigantic. Think, $1.50/ gal bio d or $3.00/gal todays gas. And the jobs created thru mass conveting all those diesel engines now burning dirty ff gas being converted, teachers who can teach other mechanics how to convert. And hell if big oil wants to get competitive, let em lower their prices per gal to $1.50 (they'd still make money, trust me) or switch themselves to a bio-diesel fuel using car producing corp.Follow the money people.Sign this Arnold and lets revjuvinate our precious planet, Mother Earth...Go Green!
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Comment #8 posted by dongenero on September 25, 2007 at 07:39:03 PT
cannabis vs booze
Do people call in to the wine ladies and make comments about them falling down or puking or blacking out? Call them lazy drunks? Unlikely. And if callers do make comments about intoxication, it's probably wink and a nudge in good fun.People have dream vacations of going to Napa to drink all day long for a week, driving around the California countryside winery hopping. Don't get me wrong, I love wine.Can you imagine the outrage of paramilitary thugs crashing into home brew shops or wine shops and roughing up the patrons at wine tastings?Do you think there are mandatory, throw away the key laws for home brewing within 1000ft of a school?Is anyone monitoring how much beer one brews at home? No. You can start a microbrewery if you like. It's one of the hottest things going. It's a dream for many. Quit the corporate job and do a brewery startup.It's normalized, as cannabis should be. Drop the hysteria. It's far,far safer than alcohol.
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Comment #7 posted by afterburner on September 24, 2007 at 21:27:06 PT
dongenero #1
"Local men make wine in homes
This article is from the tri-valley herald, the source of the hemp article above. I think it is interesting how casually home brewing of beer and wine is now treated. This is how it should be for cannabis as well."I've had the same thought as I drove around town past wine-making and home-brewing stores, listening to "the wine ladies" on a local radio station. Why all the fuss about "grow-ops"?  cannabis ... Safer!
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on September 24, 2007 at 11:40:19 PT
Hemp is 77% cellulose -how much ethanol per acre
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."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
For further information contact NREL Public Affairs at (303) 275-4090.NR-3404a new facility in Spain
will convert wheat straw as the ethanol's feedstock.The full story is available at
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Comment #5 posted by whig on September 24, 2007 at 10:54:18 PT
Please enact
I signed a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger asking him to sign this legislation.
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on September 24, 2007 at 10:15:57 PT
Sept 25 2002 --billions of $& lost jobs and taxes Veto of Industrial Hemp Draws Criticism 
Posted by CN Staff on September 25, 2002 at 11:40:19 PT
By Paul Payne, Staff Writer 
Source: Press Democrat Industrial hemp supporters on Tuesday criticized Gov. Gray Davis' veto of a bill to study the profitability of growing the fibrous crop for use in textiles, food and fuel.
Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin, the bill's author, said the veto came as a surprise considering the governor's support for medical marijuana. She said her legislation could have led to a major economic boost for agriculture.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on September 24, 2007 at 10:01:30 PT
I hope the day comes when cannabis will be treated like they treat home brew beer and wine.
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on September 24, 2007 at 09:33:55 PT
homebrewing advocacy....interesting parallel
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on September 24, 2007 at 09:23:51 PT
Local men make wine in homes article is from the tri-valley herald, the source of the hemp article above. I think it is interesting how casually home brewing of beer and wine is now treated. This is how it should be for cannabis as well.  Compare and contrast the writing, and the author's presentation of the subject and individuals involved to the way articles regarding cannabis cultivation are handled.I believe home brewing of beer and wine only became federally legal in 1978. Imagine that! Time for cannabis. 
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