Drug Czar Cautions Against Hemp Crops 

Drug Czar Cautions Against Hemp Crops 
Posted by FoM on February 29, 2000 at 06:54:44 PT
By Dave McKinney, Sun-Times Springfield Bureau
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
The nation's top drug enforcement official Monday attempted to temper growing legislative interest in the possibility of making hemp a viable cash crop for Illinois' struggling farm economy.The plant, which is a genetic cousin to marijuana, has been hailed by its supporters as a potentially profitable raw material for textiles, paper products and food.
But as the Illinois House mulls authorizing a new study of the crop, President Clinton's drug czar cautioned House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) about potential pitfalls with hemp, which is now illegal to grow."The federal government is concerned that hemp cultivation may be a stalking horse for the legalization of marijuana," Barry R. McCaffrey, director of the office of National Drug Control Policy, wrote in a letter to Madigan.McCaffrey also pointed to concerns raised by the military and various federal agencies about whether greater use of hemp might taint drug-testing procedures. His office has been made aware that some individuals who tested positive for marijuana argued they had consumed hemp before the tests.Immediately after McCaffrey's letter reached the statehouse, supporters of hemp began scoffing at his arguments."No one is suggesting the legalization of marijuana. It really obfuscates the purpose of this argument, which is to improve a seriously failing farm economy," said Rep. Judy Erwin (D-Chicago), one of four House members pushing a study of hemp.Last week, by a 49-9 vote, the Senate sent to the House a measure that would authorize the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University to analyze whether hemp could be mass-produced in the state and what potential demand for the crop is."Our farmers are struggling to make ends meet and are looking for an alternative crop to get back on track financially," said Sen. Evelyn Bowles (D-Edwardsville), the bill's lead Senate sponsor.The University of Illinois has estimated that a two-year study of hemp would cost about $375,000. If a study is approved by the legislature, the Drug Enforcement Administration would still have to sign off any research project, as it has in one other state: Hawaii.Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the Chicago Democrat has an open mind on the concept and has yet to see evidence that hemp production would open the door to wider marijuana use. The House may take up the issue later this week.Springfield:Published: February 29, 2000Copyright 2000, Digital Chicago Inc. CannabisNews Hemp Search & Archives:S. Ill. U. Hemp Bill Makes it through Ill. Senate 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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Comment #3 posted by Robert Goff on March 06, 2000 at 18:28:44 PT:
hemp instead of trees
Where is the talk about (or am I missing it) on how growing hemp could save our forest? GREAT-GREAT WEBSITE! THANK YOU FOR THIS SITE! AMERICA NEEDS THIS INFOMATION!!!
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Comment #2 posted by StoneWolf on February 29, 2000 at 16:56:48 PT:
Uh oh! I can see it now, a row of hemp, a row of weed, a row of hemp, a row of weed. I'm all for helping the farmer but I do feel a detailed study needs to be conducted to include, how to detect the differences in the plants. I'm not up on MJ plants, don't use it, but find the legal argument interesting.
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Comment #1 posted by Wabo on February 29, 2000 at 12:18:24 PT
Old Ratchetjaw
Barry needs a new writer. People have heard enough of the old act. On of the main reasons MJ was made illegal in the first place was to destroy the hemp industry that once flurished in this country.What really kills me is that all reference to that industry has been censored from school text books also. 
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