S. Ill. U. Hemp Bill Makes it through Ill. Senate

S. Ill. U. Hemp Bill Makes it through Ill. Senate
Posted by FoM on February 25, 2000 at 20:56:12 PT
By Jayette Bolinski, Daily Egyptian
Source: U-WIRE
Industrial hemp may be a key to Illinois' agricultural economy if legislation allowing Southern Illinois University to research the crop is ultimately signed into law. The Illinois Senate passed a bill Thursday that will allow SIU the opportunity to study the feasibility of industrial hemp production in Illinois. The bill now awaits House approval. 
Hemp production has been prohibited in the United States since the 1950s. Proponents of industrial hemp production believe the cash crop is an acceptable substitute for other flailing agricultural industries. Others argue, however, that growing industrial hemp, regardless of the intent, is the same as growing a controlled substance. Two illegal drugs, marijuana and hashish, are obtained from hemp plants but are grown to produce increased levels of THC, the primarily psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Industrial hemp is bred to provide more fiber, oil and seeds, which can be used to make rope, clothing and paper. Sen. Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville, is a co-sponsor of the bill and said she is pleased SIU's agriculture departments will have an opportunity to participate in the study. "The reason I sponsored the bill is because it is affording us an opportunity to work on an alternative crop for agriculture in the state of Illinois," Bowles said. "The potential is tremendous as far as the economy is concerned." If approved, the universities will study such aspects of hemp production as economic impacts, soil conditions and the viability of growth in Illinois. All research will be conducted in a controlled setting. The universities will be required to submit their findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2002. The legislation provides for the state to appropriate funds for the research, which will take place at SIU and at the University of Illinois. Funding likely will come from the budget of the Council for Agriculture and Research. Bowles said response to the bill has been generally positive, which she attributes to the "educational mission" she has been on to explain the intent and purpose of the bill. "Why should we in the state of Illinois be holding back and not pursuing this study and the viability of this crop and letting other states get ahead of us? Bowles said. "After all, agriculture is our biggest industry." (U-WIRE) CarbondalePublished: February 25, 2000(C) 2000 Daily Egyptian via U-WIRE  Copyright  1995-2000 Excite Inc. CannabisNews Hemp Search & Archives: Illinois Lawmakers Would Legalize Hemp Blankets Chicago With Hemp House Votes to Study Hemp News Hemp Archives: Over 600 Articles on Hemp Related News:
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