Hemp Crop Study Comes Up For Vote In Illinois 

Hemp Crop Study Comes Up For Vote In Illinois 
Posted by FoM on January 07, 2001 at 10:04:13 PT
By Nancy Chesley
Source: Quad-City Times 
Rep. I. Ronald Lawfer, R-Stockton, hopes his fellow representatives will agree that industrial hemp is not marijuana and should be researched as a possible alternative crop for farmers.He is sponsoring legislation that would authorize a study of the crop under very controlled conditions in the agricultural departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
The topic has drawn controversy because industrial hemp is biologically akin to marijuana. Both have the same botanical name, cannabis sativa.Supporters say industrial hemp could benefit farmers as a third crop to rotate with corn and soybeans in their fields, helping to reduce plant disease. Lawfer said the leafy stalks can be grown with little or no pesticides, another environmental advantage.The studies would determine ideal varieties and growing conditions. But first the schools would have to secure federal permits. Laws in the United States do not distinguish between marijuana and industrial hemp, making it illegal to cultivate either.Currently it's illegal to have cannabis of any type. Anti-drug groups fear permitting industrial hemp is a step toward legalizing marijuana. Police oppose the legislation, saying it sends young people a confusing message.Capt. Dave Sanders of the Illinois State Police said growing industrial hemp as a crop would make it harder to enforce the law. Now when police stop someone with marijuana, "you can pretty much look at it and have some idea. What if the person says, 'No, it's hemp.' "Sanders said police would have to submit a sample to a laboratory, heaping additional testing onto what the state police's eight labs already perform.Lawfer said legislators don't want to appear soft on crime, yet he sees this as an agricultural issue. "This does not legalize marijuana. It doesn't even legalize industrial hemp. The bill is strictly a study to see if it's an economic and viable crop."He said the research could uncover ways to reduce or eliminate the already-low level of THC in industrial hemp. THC is the chemical that causes marijuana users to get high.Industrial hemp is grown in other countries, including neighboring Canada. It is used in a multitude of products, from building materials to cooking oil to clothing.Usually the Illinois Department of Agriculture promotes any new opportunities for farmers to boost income or broaden markets. However, it has adopted a neutral position on industrial hemp legislation."It could possibly be of benefit to some individual producers," said John Herath, agency spokesman. "But as for an overall economic impact on agriculture in Illinois, it's probably not there."The Senate passed the measure 49-9 last year, but it failed twice in the House. Lawfer said he expected another vote Monday or Tuesday when the Legislature returns to complete unfinished business before new and re-elected senators and representatives are sworn in Wednesday.If Lawfer gets his vote, he should have enough support to win passage. In November, the last time the measure came up, it received 69 votes. That was two votes short to pass it then, but more than the 60 required for passage in January. Source: Quad-City Times (IA)Author: Nancy Chesley, Quad-City Times Springfield BureauPublished: January 7, 2001Copyright: 2001 Quad-City TimesAddress: 500 E. Third St., Davenport, IA 52801Fax: (319) 383-2370Contact: opinions qctimes.comWebsite: bill is SB1397. More information is available at: General Assembly Summary of SB1397 Articles:Hemp Study Bill Narrowly Misses Approval of Hemp as Cash Crop Rejected by House To Study Hemp In Illinois Ignites Controversy Hemp Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by dddd on January 08, 2001 at 02:53:49 PT
Stripey brings up an excellent point about the state to state dichotomous laws.I think this confusion will work in a favorable way,in that it will make it more publicly obvious how absurd marijuana prohibition actually is.Any time these issues are brought into the realm of public scrutiny,it is a good thing.................dddd
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Comment #5 posted by Stripey on January 08, 2001 at 00:51:03 PT
Never underestimate the power of a large group of stupid people.If Illinois decides that hemp is too close to MJ, then what? Who's next? That will make for some interesting interstate relations, some state allow MMJ, while some don't even allow hemp products? Sounds like a rat-screw in the brew to me. . .
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Comment #4 posted by mungojelly on January 07, 2001 at 21:18:05 PT:
meanwhile, back at the ranch
Meanwhile, the DEA is trying to make hemp illegal by administrative fiat. We in the movement to reform cannabis laws are not very used to having friends in high places, but in this case we do. The idea of making all consumable hemp products illegal is not only absurd (absurdity is no barrier to prohibition) but also a political landmine. Stepping on the toes of the well established companies that sell hemp food in America is flat out dumb. Unfortunately, I doubt the conflict will ever make it into the open air; it will die an ignoble death well before mainstream America knows that anything has happened. I say unfortunately because such a show could mean nothing but a disaster for the drug war establishment. People may not stand up and take notice when the DEA obscurely threatens to place something in the federal register, but they'll damn well notice when their favorite lip balm, beer, granola, etc, is suddenly and undemocratically declared an illegal narcotic. 
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Comment #3 posted by sm247 on January 07, 2001 at 18:29:13 PT
The Senate passed the measure 49-9 last year, but it failed twice in the Housewell what was the house's main disfunction  when 49-9 passed in the senate??
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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on January 07, 2001 at 12:38:07 PT:
Let's Institutionalize Stupidity!
FoM: Please omit last fragment. It should be as above and as follows:What if the person says, 'No, it's hemp.'"If the accused druggie says this, the wise policeman should ask, "Why would you be stupid enough to risk arrest for possession of weed that won't get you high?" This scenario is too bizarre to merit much discussion. It give you some idea of the intellectual bankruptcy of prohibition.
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Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on January 07, 2001 at 12:33:58 PT:
What if the person says, 'No, it's hemp.' "
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