News in Brief 7/16/99

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Hawaii Governor Signs Hemp Bill

Last Wednesday (7/7), Hawaii Governor Ben Cayetano signed a measure that will seek federal approval to establish an experimental plot of hemp on the island of Hawaii. Upon the measure's signing, the Los Angeles-based Alterna Applied Research Laboratories, which produces hemp-based consumer products, gave the state a $200,000 grant to pay for the quarter-acre plot on state-owned land. Before any hemp seeds can be planted, however, the laboratory must first obtain a permit from the DEA, which has not issued such a permit in four decades. Cayetano said the measure demonstrates his administration's support for finding different ways to diversify the state's economy. Opponents of the measure argue that the measure sends a message to the Hawaii's youth that the state is softening its stand against illegal drugs.

Iowa's Proportion of Blacks Behind Bars Second Only to D.C.

The Des Moines Register has reported that 1 in 12 African Americans in Iowa is incarcerated, on parole or on probation. The ratio for whites is 1 in 110. Experts say disparities in sentencing for crack versus powder cocaine are partly to blame, and even the local U.S. Attorney, Don Nickerson, isn't pulling any punches. "Some people will argue at that point that the decision [to impose harsher sentences for crack cocaine] was discriminatory," Nickerson told the Register. "I don't know if it was. But I can definitely say it had the effect of being discriminatory."

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Issue #99, 7/16/99 House Subcommittee Holds Second Hearing Attacking Drug Policy Reform | UK National Health Service May Expand Heroin Prescription | Kids On Texas Border Using More Cocaine | Governor Balks as Medical Marijuana Task Force Recommendations Move Forward in California Senate | News in Brief | Media Alert: New York Premiere of "You Know What I'm Saying?" | Editorial: A Drug War Suppressant
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