Growth of Hemp Not Hot Issue in Central Texas

Growth of Hemp Not Hot Issue in Central Texas
Posted by FoM on February 07, 2000 at 07:05:50 PT
By Richard L. Smith, Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
Source: Waco Tribune-Herald
Supporters are abuzz over the prospect of once again growing industrial hemp in the United States. However, such talk is only sporadic in Texas. And, little enthusiasm for it can be found in the cotton-growing regions of Central Texas. Those who favor growing hemp point to the potential for economic and environmental opportunities. 
For nonsupporters, the plant's close link to marijuana apparently invites too much controversy for in-depth discussion about those opportunities. Sebastian Williams, coordinator of the Texas Hemp Campaign, said he thinks industries that might potentially compete with hemp products are the primary force behind the government keeping its growth illegal. The organization lobbies and holds vigils once a month at the Texas Governor's Mansion to promote hemp growth. "The (industries) don't want change," he said. "They wouldn't be able to monopolize it." Hemp grown in this country for products ranging from textiles to canvas flourished through the early 20th century. That ended when tax acts aimed at curbing marijuana use in the mid-1930s also stunted the growth of hemp. The federal government did, however, encourage hemp growth for fibers and other uses during during World War II when supplies were short. Nine states  Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Virginia  passed pro-hemp bills last year that provide for research, study or potential production of the hemp plant. Federal statutes currently outlaw growing the plant, which is the nonmind-altering cousin of marijuana. Many now calling for the legalization of industrial hemp draw attention to its potential benefits to the earth. A University of Kentucky study said hemp requires few pesticides and can increase the yield of other crops grown where it had been planted. Wider environmental implications come from its use as a source of paper and as a biofuel. Supporters such as Williams said this could help stop the depletion of the world's forests and limit the burning of polluting fossil fuels. An introduction to the Kentucky study said a serious investigation should be done on turning industrial hemp into diesel fuel and plastics. The Kentucky study also said hemp would boost economies where it is grown, a notion disputed by a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study. The latter research doubts there would be a vast market for it in the United States. The study said all of the hemp fiber, yarn and fabric that is imported into this country could be grown on less than 2,000 acres. Canada legalized hemp production in 1998 and about 35,000 acres were grown there last year. In Canada, as in the European Community countries, levels of the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana are restricted. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol  or THC  is found in concentrations of 5 percent to 25 percent in marijuana, according to a report by Canadian researchers studying the environment and the latitudinal effects on THC in marijuana. Canada and European countries limit THC inside industrial hemp to less than 0.3 percent. A study at Indiana University found that industrial hemp might actually cross-pollinate and destroy any marijuana in its vicinity. Despite the apparent distance between marijuana and industrial hemp, the hallucinogenic plant may keep the other steeped in controversy. Gene Hall, spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau, said neither his organization nor the American Farm Bureau have policies on the growth of industrial hemp. "The American Farm Bureau did two years ago, but they dropped it because it was controversial," he said. "They attempted to put it back in this year, but it failed." Talk of hemp-growing is hardly a hot topic among the farmers around McLennan County, said Doug Andrews, county extension agent. "I haven't heard a word about it," he said. "We're still pretty much growing cotton, corn and milo. That's not to say some of these things might not enter in someday." A Baylor University environmental studies instructor said he believes the cotton culture may have a lot to do with the feelings about the growth of hemp, a rival crop. "My understanding is part of the reason hemp never got to be more central is that hemp is more of a Northern crop and cotton was a Southern crop," said Dudley J. Burton, professor of environmental studies. "Because of politics of the time, the cotton lobby and the Southerners in the (Congress) were able to keep it out and outlawed for economic reasons." The Associated Press contributed to this story. Richard Smith can be reached at rsmith or at 757-5745. Published: February 6, 2000  Copyright 1999 Cox Interactive Media & Waco-Tribune Herald CannabisNews Hemp Archives:
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by Mark Gower on June 06, 2000 at 01:18:18 PT:
Growing at home
I want to know how to grow drugs using hemp and what equipment is needed and how to use it. Also need to know how often to water them and how long to grow them for and how to make the drug the best
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: