Legalization of Hemp Debated 

  Legalization of Hemp Debated 

Posted by FoM on January 24, 2001 at 08:42:03 PT
By Ken Hambleton, Lincoln Journal Star 
Source: Lincoln Journal Star  

No less than Christopher Columbus, Betsy Ross and Thomas Jefferson were brought into Tuesday's legislative debate on whether to legalize the growing of industrial hemp. Columbus and almost every other sailor of his time used hemp-sails. Ross made the first American flag out of hemp. And Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper, possibly grown by hemp farmer George Washington, Sen. Ed Schrock told the Agriculture Committee. 
But hemp use is considered a criminal act by the Drug Enforcement Administration because of the plant's best-known byproduct: marijuana. For the second consecutive year, Schrock introduced a bill (LB273) allowing the growth and cultivation of hemp - which has only enough THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to give you a headache instead of a high. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. The bill, aimed at providing a new market for strapped farmers, limits industrial hemp to a THC level of 0.03 percent. One opponent of the bill, Peggy Kelley of Omaha, said studies showed that 0.25 THC is enough to have a psycho-active effect. Responded Schrock: "And tests show that no matter how much of industrial hemp you smoke, the percentage of THC does not go up." Under the bill, the state Department of Agriculture would license and regulate hemp production. Growers would have to register, undergo background checks and be monitored by the ag department and the DEA. Schrock cited the historical uses of hemp and the current uses of industrial hemp in Canada, which legalized its cultivation in 1999 and currently has 35,000 acres planted. The United States is the only industrial country that does not allow the growing of industrial hemp, he said. Hemp also requires much less fertilizer, fewer pesticides and less labor to grow successfully. Saying hemp is too closely tied to marijuana, opponents of LB273 said allowing farmers to grow hemp would lead to soaring costs for drug-control efforts. "Legalize hemp and you legalize marijuana," said Sue Dugan, director of Omaha anti-drug group PRIDE. "Don't fall for that business of 'Let's just study the use.' It's been studied." As for promotion of the industrial uses of hemp - in hats, shirts, dresses, paper, bricks, shingles, wildlife cover, erosion control, cosmetics and clipper-ship sails - Dugan said too much of the marketing is tied to pro-marijuana efforts. "I need the no-use message," she said. "Kids are not being told enough about the dangers of marijuana." A much longer line of advocates testified for almost three hours about the benefits and uses of industrial hemp. Eleven other states have similar programs under DEA supervision. Tuesday afternoon, the Iowa Senate advanced a bill to allow the growth of industrial hemp, citing its potential benefit to farmers. But opponent Kelley, who said she was testifying as a concerned mother, saw potential for abuse: "Under the guise of farming, less noble people may try to plant marijuana in a field of hemp." Botanist Christian Elowsky countered that hemp and marijuana look distinctively different and hemp is usually planted much closer together. Cross-pollination with hemp also would dilute the THC potency of marijuana, he said. The Agriculture Committee did not have time to act on the bill Tuesday evening. Source: Lincoln Journal Star (NE) Author: Ken Hambleton, Lincoln Journal StarPublished: January 24, 2001Address: PO Box 81609, Lincoln, NE 68508 Copyright: 2001 Lincoln Journal Star Fax: (402) 473-7291 Contact:  oped Website: Hemp Archives

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Comment #4 posted by gO AWAY on January 25, 2001 at 05:15:03 PT
I wish PRIDE would take a hike go protest something that really kills you know like maybe badly designed roadways  look how many die every day on the highways  bad intersections  overpasses that are dangerous abortion alcohol those really kill too.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 24, 2001 at 20:24:34 PT:

Related Article
Merits of Industrial Hemp Debated in Committee
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Comment #2 posted by legalizeit on January 24, 2001 at 09:22:43 PT

Columbus? Puh!
>No less than Christopher ColumbusColumbus was one of the most racist pigs to ever roam the face of the Earth. His so-called "discovery" of America opened the door to 500 years of land robbing, massacre, forced Christianization and enslavement of native peoples. He used deceit and his knowledge of astronomical events to convince the natives that he had magical powers over the universe. He and the prohibs would get along nicely!>soaring costs for drug-control effortsWhoopee s*$t! Drug control costs have been soaring for decades to unimaginable levels, yet the drugs are relatively cheap and as easy to get as ever!"I need the no-use message," she said. "Kids are not being told enough about the dangers of marijuana." You need to get out of kids' faces. They already know about the 'dangers' of MJ as promulgated by B.S. programs like yours, and know it's a pile of bull. Do you tell kids about the dangers of legal drugs? >studies showed that 0.25 THC is enough to have a psycho-active effect.Where do the prohibs dig up all these "studies"? And why would anyone want to smoke industrial hemp anyway, when the real stuff is readily available?I wish these prohibs would mind their own business and quit trying to run our lives for us.
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Comment #1 posted by mungojelly on January 24, 2001 at 09:20:41 PT:

"Legalize hemp and you legalize marijuana"
If only it were so! Marijuana would be legal all over Europe, not to mention in Canada. But perhaps she meant that once hemp is legal, the original reason it was illegalized will have evaporated, leaving legalization as the only rational option? Hahmm! 
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