Hemp Bill Awaiting Ill. Governor's Approval

Hemp Bill Awaiting Ill. Governor's Approval
Posted by FoM on January 19, 2001 at 08:08:34 PT
By Anne Marie Tavella
Source: Daily Egyptian
The future of a bill allowing Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to research industrial hemp as an alternative crop for Illinois farms may soon be stalled by a veto from Gov. George Ryan. The bill passed the Illinois House of Representatives 67-47 on Jan. 9. It was originally introduced in November, but did not gain sufficient votes. The Industrial Hemp Act passed through the Senate 49-9 last spring. 
Although the act has survived the legislative hurdles, the probability that Ryan will sign the bill is not high. "The governor said he's inclined to veto it," said Nick Palazzolo, spokesman for the governor. However, the governor will not make a final decision until he has met with interested parties, Palazzolo said. Rep. Ronald Lawfer, R-Stockton, said if the bill is signed the next step is obtaining funding. Lawfer, who co-sponsored the bill, said the cost has been estimated at $400,000 per university. He hopes to obtain the majority of the funding through the state, although additional funding may have to be sought elsewhere, Lawfer said. Lawfer said he plans to speak with SIU Dean of the College of Agriculture as soon as possible about funding and other issues involving the hemp research. The majority of the cost of the research stems from federal regulations requiring security, including fencing and surveillance. The security is required because hemp, as a cousin of marijuana, is defined as cannabis in Illinois. Both hemp and marijuana are members of the cannabis sativa family, and it is illegal to grow or produce cannabis. However, while marijuana contains about 20 percent of THC, the psychoactive part of the hemp plant contains about 1 percent THC. Industrial hemp fibers can be used for cloth, paper, oils, food products and building materials. According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council, hemp can yield three to eight dry tons of fiber per acre, four times what an average forest can produce. Lawfer said much of the opposition to the bill stems from the confusion between marijuana and hemp. He said the bill has been taken "out of context." "This bill does not legalize marijuana, it does not even legalize industrial hemp," Lawfer said. In addition to funding, Lawfer also plans to address the concerns of the state police, who have raised possible problems with law enforcement differentiating hemp from marijuana. Lawfer said the concerns are valid but premature because this bill does not legalize hemp, but calls for a highly controlled research environment. Capt. Dave Sanders, spokesman for the Illinois State Police, said the police are looking at the larger picture this bill presents. If the research shows that hemp is a viable crop for Illinois and hemp is legalized, there may be ramifications for law enforcement and forensic labs, Sanders said. "All hemp has some levels of THC. Detection would be difficult," Sanders said. The State Police's concerns influenced Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, who opposes the bill. Bost said the possible problems with hemp identification and funding convinced him to vote against the bill. "Our (Agriculture) Department at SIU was concerned about the bill," Bost said. When the bill failed to pass in November, Tony Young, associate dean for research of the College of Agriculture, told the Daily Egyptian SIUC was willing to do the research, but would have to obtain external funding. Rep. Dan Reitz, D-Steeleville, was the only area representative to vote in favor of the bill. Reitz said his participation in discussions with the agriculture committee persuaded him to support the bill. "I didn't see any reason not to vote for it," Reitz said. "I really believe there is a difference between industrial hemp and marijuana." Reitz said he was urged to support the bill by a farm bureau in his area. Since the bill has passed, he said he has only received feedback from those who supported the bill. "I haven't had any negative comments," Reitz said. Source: Daily EgyptianAuthor: Anne Marie TavellaPublished: January 18, 2001Fax: (618) 453-1992 Address: SIU M/S 6887 1247 Communications Building Carbondale, IL 62901Copyright: 2001 Daily EgyptianWebsite: Articles:Ryan Has Doubts About Bill For Economic Hemp Study Bill Would Study Hemp as Alternative Crop Vote To Study Hemp's Uses CannabisNews - Hemp Archives
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Comment #3 posted by Tom on February 26, 2001 at 14:40:05 PT:
Hemp Study Veto
How terribly short-sighted & ill informed for a Governor. Let's all just say NO to RYAN
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 26, 2001 at 09:01:05 PT:
Related Article - Iowa
Hemp Good for Iowa
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Comment #1 posted by sm247 on January 26, 2001 at 02:20:42 PT
Override the veto !!
I hope their state has the power to override a veto if that didn't work.For once just say YES !!
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