House Reverses Itself on Legalizing Hemp-Growing 

House Reverses Itself on Legalizing Hemp-Growing 
Posted by FoM on February 10, 2000 at 18:36:51 PT
By Gene Johnson, Associated Press
Source: Boston Globe
New Hampshire's House of Representatives reversed itself Thursday and killed a bill that would have let the state's farmers grow hemp, a close relative of marijuana valued for its seed oil and strong fibers. The House gave the legislation tentative approval in January, but following heavy lobbying by law enforcement officials and a request by Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, it decided by 40 votes to send it to what most likely will be a polite death. 
Police officers have said hemp and marijuana are so similar that allowing hemp would make it tough to enforce marijuana laws. The state attorney general circulated a letter asking lawmakers to reject the bill. ''The enforcement difficulty is really going to be horrendous if you can't tell one from the other,'' Rep. David Welch, R-Kingston, warned the House. Welch chairs the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The bill would allow the state's farmers to apply for federal permits to grow hemp. It defined hemp as a variation of the cannabis sativa plant containing less than 1 percent of the psychoactive chemical THC. Marijuana, another variation of cannabis sativa, usually contains 15 percent to 20 percent THC. Hemp fibers are used in rope, clothing and building materials, among other things. Oil from its seeds can be used in skin lotions and other novelty products. It is more profitable than traditional plants grown in the state, and the state's agriculture commissioner has said planting it would help farmers hurt by a dwindling demand for hay. Supporters said Thursday observers can tell the difference between hemp and marijuana and there is no proof legalizing hemp would complicate enforcement. ''This is not marijuana,'' said Rep. Derek Owen, D-Hopkinton. ''I don't know how you can tell it's terrible if we haven't even planted it yet.'' Owen is a farmer who has gone to federal court to seek the right to grow hemp. The courts dismissed his case, saying hemp is illegal to cultivate without a federal permit. The federal government does not give permits to farmers in states that ban hemp-growing. Growing hemp is legal in Canada, Hawaii, North Dakota and Minnesota, and several other states are considering hemp legislation. Owen lost a court appeal last month. Claremont Democrat Amy Robb-Theroux, a supporter of the bill, said lawmakers may have misinterpreted the decision as a reason not to pass the bill. ''The recent court decision out of Boston really placed a cloud over the bill,'' Robb-Theroux said. ''There really wasn't time to educate the 400 members of the House about it. And with the concerns of law enforcement and the very strong lobby efforts of law enforcement, people just didn't know what to do today.'' Although technically lawmakers are studying the bill, there is little chance of it returning to the House floor this year. But Robb-Theroux said she is optimistic additional discussion will clear up misconceptions about hemp. ''It's very frustrating,'' said Mark Lathrop, a Chesterfield farmer interested in growing it. ''But we're finally going to be able to hold all this information to the light of day.'' Concord, N.H. (AP)Published: February 10, 2000 Copyright 2000 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, Inc. Related Articles:A Bill To Grow Hemp in New Hampshire Moves Forward Agriculture Chief Testifies for Hemp Bill N.H., Fight to Legalize Hemp is Gaining Ground Search & Archives of Hemp Related News:
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Comment #1 posted by Terry Smith on August 01, 2001 at 13:04:16 PT
legalize hemp.
I have never smoked tobacco a day in my life yet all through college my friends and i practiced a smoking hemp. every last one of them including myself graduated and have become positive individual whom pay their taxes and help the community out anyway possible. Basically, smoking this stuff doesn't make you a bad person we are more aware of a freedom that god present in the first days of the creation of the earth. "Let man control over every animal and make use of every herb baring seed!" That exactly what we've done and I wish that the law maker would legelize this plant in all of its form because any law officer can make an arrest for a small amount an individual may have on them. Inseed of trying to lock up the people who follow the law in every way except for a little hemp smoking now and again, they should arrest the people who are out there killing, raping, and stealing. I consider myself to be a good person who enjoys a smoke I beg of you to legelaize it so people such as myself don't have to hide anymore.
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