Bill To Study Hemp Farming Crops Up Again 

Bill To Study Hemp Farming Crops Up Again 
Posted by FoM on March 20, 2001 at 09:06:07 PT
By Adriana Colindres, Statehouse Reporter
Source: State Journal-Register
Persistence and patience often pay off. Rep. Ron Lawfer, R-Stockton, hopes that's the case with his latest proposal to study the feasibility of industrial hemp production in the Land of Lincoln. House Bill 3377 is a revised version of an idea that Lawfer and Sen. Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville, have been pushing for more than a year. Lawfer recently introduced the bill, and the House Higher Education Committee approved it 10-3 on Wednesday, sending the measure to the full House. 
A similar bill previously cleared the General Assembly, but Gov. George Ryan vetoed it last month. It is illegal to grow industrial hemp in the United States without permission. In other countries, the plant's seeds and fibers are used to manufacture clothing, shampoo and a variety of other products. Lawfer and Bowles believe industrial hemp eventually could become a cash crop for Illinois farmers who have been grappling with low commodity prices for their stalwart crops, corn and soybeans. "I think there's a lot of positives in it for agriculture," says Lawfer, a dairy farmer. Opponents, however, criticize the notion because they say industrial hemp like marijuana, its biological relative contains THC, which induces a "high." They say farmers should turn to other alternative cash crops and that approving the industrial hemp proposal would send the wrong message to young people about drug use. Ryan raised those and other concerns when he rejected the earlier version of the industrial hemp bill. But supporters of the plan aren't giving up easily. They know that some pieces of legislation - like wine or cheese - simply need to "age" before winning widespread acceptance under the dome of the Capitol. Whether the industrial hemp bill falls under that category isn't clear, but history reveals other examples. One is dockside gambling, an idea that used to pop up in the General Assembly about as often as the fake moles in a "Whack-a-Mole" arcade game. Dockside gambling finally became law in mid-1999, enabling the state's riverboat casinos to stop cruising on the water and permitting patrons to come and go as they please. For years before that, though, dockside gambling legislation had a lot in common with the plastic moles that "Whack-a-Mole" players smack with a mallet. It would retreat into the shadows for a while, then emerge again later. Another piece of legislation that managed to become law after years of effort was the measure lowering the legal threshold for drunken driving in Illinois. Then-Secretary of State George Ryan and others scored a victory in 1997 when the General Assembly agreed to drop the 0.10 percent standard to 0.08 percent. But it took them six years to bust through the logjam that had kept the proposal in legislative limbo. Lawfer says his new industrial hemp bill is an attempt to address the governor's worries about the earlier version. The previous bill, for instance, called for the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University to study the feasibility of industrial hemp production. The new bill excludes SIU because the U of I campus already has a "semi-secure" area where test plots of industrial hemp could be grown, Lawfer says. Making that change in the legislation likely would mean spending less public money on the study, Lawfer says. Ryan also had objected to its potential $1 million cost. Even with the revisions to his bill, Lawfer seems keenly aware of the uphill battle ahead. "The one issue that's hard to address, and is part of the educational process, is the belief that approval of this bill sends a wrong message," Lawfer says. "That's extremely hard to overcome." Complete Title: Bill To Study Hemp Farming Crops Up Again In LegislatureAdriana Colindres is a Statehouse reporter for Copley Illinois newspapers. Source: State Journal-Register (IL)Author: Adriana Colindres, Statehouse ReporterPublished: March 19, 2001Copyright: 2001 The State Journal-RegisterAddress: P.O. Box 219, Springfield, IL 62705-0219Fax: (217) 788-1551Contact: letters sj-r.comWebsite: Article:Another Bill In Illinois Legislature Promotes Hemp Hemp Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by sm247 on March 20, 2001 at 16:03:02 PT
thank you....again
I thank the lawmakers with the kahunas to stand up for us in all ways religious use medical use and industrial use. 
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: