Farmers: Hemp Must Be Alternative Crop

Farmers: Hemp Must Be Alternative Crop
Posted by FoM on December 02, 1999 at 13:38:29 PT
Currently Illegal In Minnesota
Source: Channel 4000
Little Falls farmer June Varner is willing to take a chance and grow hemp simply to see if she can turn a profit - but the state won't let her. Hemp is still illegal to grow in Minnesota, in part because of its close relationship to marijuana and the difficulty for law enforcement agencies of distinguishing between the two. 
But Varner told members of the House Agriculture Committee on Wednesday that she just wants the opportunity to grow a half-acre trial plot of industrial hemp on her potato farm. If it's profitable, then maybe farmers should be allowed to grow the crop in light of depressed prices for corn, soybeans and other traditional crops, she said. "We won't know if industrial hemp will be profitable unless we try it," Varner told committee members. Members of the House panel traveled to St. Joseph to discuss alternative crops for Minnesota farmers. Hemp has been one of the most high-profile and controversial alternatives under discussion. Hemp is a versatile plant that can be used to make many products, but the law enforcement community continues to oppose making it legal. The difference is in the content of THC, the mind-altering chemical in each plant. Marijuana is cultivated to have a higher THC content than hemp. Lt. Larry Walker of the Wright County Sheriff's Department, who is president of the Minnesota Association of Narcotics Investigators, said he is concerned about the ability of farmers to keep the THC content low. Hemp is being grown legally in Canada, and Walker said farmers there have had some trouble keeping the THC content appropriately low. Rep. Steve Dehler, R-St. Joseph, said those problems are being exaggerated by hemp opponents. He said Canadian farmers allow the government to plow their hemp under if it tests too high for THC. Besides concerns over the crop's relationship to marijuana, policy makers remain unconvinced that there would be a market for hemp. Kevin Edberg, a marketing executive with the state Department of Agriculture, said there is "no immediate cash market" for it, but he also said hemp has unique properties that could lead to the development of such a market. His department is looking at 10 potential alternative crops - including hemp - to supplement the eight primary commodities Minnesota farmers produce. The 1999 Legislature allowed the governor to apply for federal permits for demonstration plots of industrial hemp. Published: December 2, 1999Copyright 1999 by The Associated PressRelated Article:Ventura Sends Letter To President Clinton On Hemp - 10/01/99
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Comment #1 posted by steve1 on December 03, 1999 at 18:50:42 PT
hemp is profitable
Hemp was easy to cultivate and process when there were slaves. Now we have machines that do the same things the slaves did back when. With minimal investement in hemp processing machines a farmer could get back the money in a short amount of time and then profit from selling every part of the hemp plant. And lets not forget about how much capital hemp could (and does) produce. If hemp were legal the economy would do even better than it is now. I mean legalize hemp. Why is the government worried about marihuana when most of them consumed the stuff for years in their early days? I'd pay taxes on it if it were legal. And since I am an adult I would use it responsibly. How many teenagers do you see hanging around in hard liquor stores? None, so lets sell marihuana in hard liquor stores. Heck, even some McDonalds employee sold marihuana from the drive through window until he got caught, so saying there is no market for it is lunacy.
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