Hemp: California Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Bill

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last Friday vetoed a bill that would have allowed California farmers to grow industrial hemp. Sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Assembly Bill 1147 would have defined industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, limited its THC content to less than 0.3%, and mandated annual testing of fields to ensure content limits are met.

(courtesy Independent Media Center)
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said the measure conflicted with federal law and would have made it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor illicit marijuana crops. While he acknowledged recent successful court battles waged by the hemp industry, Schwarzenegger said "no court has specifically ruled that a live cannabis plant is a non-controlled substance or that farming these plants is not a regulated activity. As a result, it would be improper to approve a measure that directly conflicts with current federal statutes and court decisions. This only serves to cause confusion and reduce public confidence in our government system."

Schwarzenegger fell for the standard US police excuse that allowing hemp production would make it more difficult to stop outdoor marijuana grows: "Finally," he said, "California law enforcement has expressed concerns that implementation of this measure could place a drain on their resources and cause significant problems with drug enforcement activities. This is troubling given the needs in this state for the eradication and prevention of drug production."

Oddly enough, police in countries where hemp farming is a legal and productive part of the economy don't seem to have any problem distinguishing between industrial hemp and marijuana.

The hemp industry was not pleased. "Gov. Schwarzenegger's veto is a letdown for thousands of farmers, business people, and consumers that want to bring back industrial hemp to California to create jobs, new tax income and to benefit the environment," said Eric Steenstra, founder and President of Vote Hemp, the nation's leading industrial hemp farming advocacy group, in a Monday press release denouncing the veto. "The veto was not based on facts but instead an irrational fear he would look soft on drugs in an election year. His veto message shows he knew industrial hemp is an economic development and agriculture issue, but he instead allowed himself to be cowed by confused drug war lobbyists. AB 1147 would have reigned in the overreach by federal authorities that has prevented non-drug industrial hemp varieties of cannabis from be being grown on US soil for fiber and seed. It is disingenuous to cite federal restrictions when drug war lobbyists refuse to sit down with the large coalition of farmers, business people and environmentalists who crafted the industrial hemp legislation. Industrial hemp will continue to be the only crop that is legal to import, sell and consume, but illegal to grow, in California."

"It's unfortunate that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1147. We had looked forward to the hemp oil and seed in our products being grown and produced right here in California," said David Bronner, chair of the Hemp Industries Association Food and Oil Committee and president of Alpsnack/Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. "Farmers in California, like farmers all across the United States, are always looking for profitable crops like hemp to add to their rotation. This veto clearly points out why HR 3037, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005, needs to be passed on the federal level."

Seven states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) have now changed their laws to give farmers an affirmative right to grow industrial hemp commercially or for research purposes. But the bill Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed differs from those laws. In those seven states, the laws require a DEA license to grow the crop, one the agency is historically reluctant to provide. The California bill would have explicitly provided that the federal government has no basis or right to interfere with industrial hemp in California.

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Hemp bill veto

I think the next time a bill like this comes up,it should not need the Governor's approval!

Industrial Hemp Veto

Gov. Schwarzenegger might have big strong muscles, but it now appears he has a small weak brain. This would have been a huge economic impact to the state and farmers of Calif. Shame on him, I hope the voters of CA. remember this come election time. How can he justify this? He can't, products will still be produced in the US using imported hemp rather than domestically grown hemp. His decision lacks commen sense, he's proven his most important muscle, besides his heart, is weak.

industrial hemp veto

That's how those girly boys are.


The Governator was correct on this one. The EU provides subsidies to farmers that grow hemp or flax. If hemp was profitable on its own, there would be need for such subsidies. It's mindless to think that farmers in California would be able to compete in the global hemp market without sizable state or federal subsidies. Those who claim the world will end if we don't start growing hemp and smoking too much of it. Like the "medical" marijuana charade, the politicos are smart enough to see what's at stake here. They like playing whack-a-mole. Let's see, the medical charade didn't work very well, the hemp charade isn't working well, either, and the First Amendment religious freedom claim was laughed out of court. What's next?


In order for you to have cheap gasoline, Big Oil recieves huge subsidies from US taxpayers. America's agriculture and forestry industry have been hit hard. Lets keep US tax dollars in the US for ethanol fuel. Considering there are many other ways for America to get a buzz. I would hope you might think about you dropping your addiction to foreign oil.

to the guy against hemp

We all know what side of the seat you sit in. Its not ok to voice an ignorant opinion when you have no idea what could happen with hemp. Maybie it would be a worthless crop after legalization maybie it won't but you don't know that. You are clearly not old enough to remember when hemp was legal and the benifit it had for our country. O but they don't teach you any of that in the school books.so tell me kind sir really are you a follower or a leader and this being the new hemp generation we are leaders.

Hemp Has A Proud Past And A Promising Future

Industrial hemp has enormous potential. We know that hemp flourished in many parts of the country. Here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a thriving hemp industry existed for more than 150 years. Between the years of 1720-1870 there were over 100 water-powered hemp mills for processing hemp fiber just in Lancaster County alone and there were dozens more hemp mills in all of the surrounding counties. There were almost as many mills for processing hempseed oil from the many tons of excess hempseed that was a byproduct of the fiber crop.

The fiber was used for all types of material from tough durable work clothes and coarse cloths up to and including fine linen. Conestoga wagon covers, grain bags, towels, sheets, table cloths, napkins, handkerchiefs, curtains, rugs, pillow cases and just about anything was made from the hemp fiber. It was often blended with wool, cotton, silk, flax and other fibers.The oil was used in paints, laquers, lubricants, varnishes, printers ink and lamp oil. The remaining seed cake was fed to the livestock.

As a historian and author of the book Hempstone Heritage I: In Accordance With Their Wills; "All the Heckled Hemp She Can Spin" - A Study of the Early American Homespun Hemp Industry as Revealed by the Wills of Old Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: 1729-1845, I am strongly aware of the fascinating past that this crop has had. I am also aware of its' tremendous potential for the future.

The truth is, hemp should be allowed to succed or fail on its' own merits. Laws should not hinder our progress in this direction. The market should be the determing factor. We should not have to prove that hemp WILL be a valuable commodity, only that it should be allowed into the competition of the market place. In Canada where hemp is allowed to be grown, its' cultivation is expanding. Why should they be allowed to get the early jump on this industry? Why can't OUR farmers be allowed to compete? It just doesn't make sense.

I sense that this is one piece of injustice and stupidity that will be corrected when people learn to look at this issue from a clear perspective.

Hemp Has A Proud Past And A Promising Future

I am also a hemp historian and would really like to get a copy of your book. Very little information exists about hemp's role in the early homespun industry aside from numerous and scattered casual references. I am the author of "Unravelling an American Dilemma: The Demonization of Marihuana" 1995 posted at: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/history/conspiracy_toc.htm
please tell me how to get a copy my email is [email protected].

Many people are unaware of attempts to establish hemp cultivation in California during the early part of the 20th century. The final attempt during the 1920s was derailed due to fears that the crop would be diverted to marijuana production. Dale Gieringer wrote a very good historical article about this attempt to develop a hemp industry during the 1920s.

The veto by the Govenator does not surprise me. Hemp grown for seed would have had an immediate market in California. Hemp grown for fiber might have had potential in the nonwoven fiber composite market, but not in the textile market.

Towing the the party line...

This is an example of why Arnie is unfit to govern California, he will always bow to what the party and the administration want no matter how damaging it is to California. A real Californian would have fought for our state - Ernon, Medical Mar. raids, border/immigration issues, etc. If the freaking Canadians can tell the difference between pot and hemp, why can't CAMP and the DEA? Is Canada that much smarter? He is continuing to sacrifice our economy to the Bush administration, it is hopeless...

Arnold is officially a Girly Man now

I was looking forward to seeing the Governator stare down the DEA in a jurisdictional dispute, but apparently his balls of steel are just special effects.


Marijuana is not a narcotic although California
law calls it a narcotic, it is pharmacologically distinct
from the Family of opium derivatives Marijuana is not
addicting, not detrimental to health does not release aggressive
behavior. Studies with rats show increase brain power with
continual use of marijuana. Time for little honesty.
Thank You George


Marijuana is not a narcotic although California
law calls it a narcotic, it is pharmacologically distinct
from the Family of opium derivatives Marijuana is not
addicting, not detrimental to health does not release aggressive
behavior. Studies with rats show increase brain power with
continual use of marijuana. Time for little honesty.
Thank You George

Hemp Seed

I have my parents, my children and their great grandmother all eating hemp seed. It is a wonderful product with the highest protien count in the plant kingdom and rich in omega oils (and quite tasty). This is important because we are eating less meat in an effort to be more health concious. Unfortunately, the only hemp seed products available here in Southern California are imported from Canada. Yet another reason why the Canadian dollar continues to climb against the U.S. I have half a mind to go to Canada and grow hemp myself. My parents are very anti-marijuana, and it took some educating to convince them that while there may be .03% THC in leaves and stalks of hemp plants, there is NONE in the seed. I have always supported Govenor Swartzeneggar, but this decision is a sham, and a shame. This veto comes from oil company and chemical lobby pressure, and stupidity. We sure didn't see the Governator take this line when he was on Lenno with Snoop Dogg campagning. He presented a very liberal acceptance of the gratuitus smoking of pot backstage. That is so different from farming food products. He should be ashamed. He of all people should have the balls to back the California farmer, and what could have been a rescession resistant and sustainable industry here at home, has turned into another victory for the war in the middle east. Hemp alone could supply 100% of the energy needs of this nation. That is what the Bush admin is frightened of.

$40 Billion in subsidies to Corn Farmers

What European nations pay in subsidies to industrial hemp farmers pales in comparison to the $40 billion our federal govenment has handed out to corn growers for producing High Fructose Corn Syrup that contains measurable amounts of mercury and lead that is deemed safe by the FDA for human consumption.

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