Hemp

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Industrial hemp backer to try again

Location: 
Boise, ID
United States
Publication/Source: 
Spokesman-Review (WA)
URL: 
http://www.spokesmanreview.com/local/story.asp?ID=170858

Hemp: A Coming Epidemic

MSNBC reports on the alarming surge of hemp-laced foods being sold openly in our neighborhoods. Hemp products flow freely across our border from source countries such as Canada, where liberal policies have facilitated a booming industry targeting American snackers south of the border. While a ban on domestic hemp production provides some protection, it's becoming increasingly difficult to keep these products out of the hands of children.

According to MSNBC, hemp cultivation has been a problem for quite some time:

Hemp has been grown for at least the last 12,000 years for fiber and food. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp and in fact Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.

In recent years, hemp users have adopted increasingly diverse and discreet methods of administration:

Since the early 1990s, shelled hempseeds have been used as a food ingredient in a wide variety of foodstuffs, including baked goods, snacks, breakfast cereals, beverages, frozen desserts, tofu, and milk substitute.

The DEA has invested millions combating the dangers of hemp, both in court and in open fields around the country where the plant has learned to reproduce itself without human assistance. Still, there remains a well-funded campaign to legalize hemp in several states. Hemp advocates seek to deceive the public with misleading claims that it is a healthy food and that it isn't drugs.

To its credit, MSNBC refutes the dangerous myth that hemp foods are non-psychoactive:

If 20 percent of a food's ingredients are shelled hempseeds, and assuming a 2 ppm THC level, a human being would have to eat 50 pounds of the food in question to become intoxicated.


The prospect of hemp addicts consuming 50 pounds a day to get their fix is frightening indeed, and stands in stark contrast to the hemp advocates' repeated claims that it is "good for you."

Needless to say, this is not your daddy's granola bar.

Location: 
United States

Hemp: DEA Has Spent $175 Million Eradicating "Ditch Weed" Plants That Don't Get You High

In the past two decades, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has spent at least $175 million in direct spending and grants to the states to eradicate feral hemp plants, popularly known as "ditch weed." The plants, the hardy descendants of hemp plants grown by farmers at the federal government's request during World War II, do not contain enough THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, to get people high.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/ditchweedchart1.jpg
chart by Jon Gettman for Vote Hemp
According to figures from the DEA's Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program, it has seized or destroyed 4.7 billion feral hemp plants since 1984. That's in contrast to the 4.2 million marijuana plants it has seized or destroyed during the same period. In other words, 98.1% of all plants eradicated under the program were ditch weed, of which it is popularly remarked that "you could smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole and all you would get is a headache and a sore throat."

While the DEA is spending millions of tax payer dollars, including $11 million in 2005, to wipe out hemp plants, farmers in Canada and European countries are making millions growing hemp for use in a wide variety of food, clothing, and other products. Manufacturers of hemp products in the United States must import their hemp from countries with more enlightened policies.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/ditchweedchart2.jpg
chart by Jon Gettman for Vote Hemp
"It's Orwellian that the biggest target of the DEA's Eradication Program is actually not a drug but instead a useful plant for everything from food, clothing and even auto parts and currently must be imported to supply a $270 million industry," said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a group lobbying for increased acceptance of the versatile plant. "While Vote Hemp has urged the DEA to recognize the difference between hemp and marijuana so farmers could grow it here, the federal agency is spending millions of dollars to destroy hundreds of millions of harmless hemp plants."

DEA officials regularly argue that there is no difference between hemp and marijuana, but their own statistics belie that claim. In its reports on the domestic eradication program, the agency clearly differentiates between ditch weed and "cultivated marijuana."

Not only is the ditch weed eradication program a waste of money, it may even be counterproductive, said Vote Hemp national outreach coordinator Tom Murphy. "Much of the ditch weed eradicated is believed to be burned, turning a carbon consuming plant into a contributor of Greenhouse gasses," said Murphy in a post-Christmas press release. "For all the effort to find and destroy these harmless wild hemp plants they are coming back year after year. It is likely that the eradication programs help re-seed the locations were ditch weed is found. The late summer timing and removal method causes countless ripe seeds to fall to the ground where they will sprout again the following year."

Your tax dollars at work.

Hemp grows with technological advances

Location: 
Canada
Publication/Source: 
Business Edge (Canada)
URL: 
http://www.businessedge.ca/article.cfm/newsID/14336.cfm

Hemp: North Dakota Becomes First State to Legalize Industrial Production

Industrial hemp production becomes legal under North Dakota state law as of January 1, making it the first US state to do so. But while the state Agriculture Department is ready to start handing out licenses next month, it cautions potential farmers that they can't actually begin growing hemp until they are licensed by the state and are approved by the federal government.

Given that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) remains opposed to legalizing the production of the marijuana relative -- the two plants are different cultivars of the cannabis plant, one grown for its oils, seeds, and fibers and the other to get you high -- North Dakota wheat, beet, and soybean farmers probably shouldn't be thinking about switching over anytime soon. That despite the fact that their cousins on the other side of that line in the trackless prairie that marks the US-Canada border in the area are growing it like crazy, sending it across the border, where it can be processed and sold as hemp products, and taking their US dollar profits back home.

In several bills passed since 1999, the North Dakota legislature has approved industrial hemp cultivation. Last month, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem gave his approval to implementing rules crafted by the Agriculture Department, whose head, Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson, has been a leading proponent of the potential new cash crop. On Monday, the rules won final approval in the legislature.

"The administrative rules committee of the Legislative Council has reviewed the rules and has not recommended any changes," Commissioner Johnson said in a press release Monday. "After Jan. 1, 2007, North Dakotans will be able to apply for licenses to grow industrial hemp."

But he also warned that the feds remain an obstacle. "Our rules clearly state that persons who hold licenses to grow industrial hemp must also obtain permission from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). It will be up to the DEA to allow producers to compete with other countries for the profits from this potentially valuable crop."

Under the North Dakota rules, producers must consent to a criminal background check and document the amount of harvested hemp sold. Their fields must be provided with geopositioning instruments to track their location, and planted hemp seed must contain less than 0.03% THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

Johnson told the Associated Press he had no illusions of hempen hills in North Dakota anytime soon, but that he hoped to pressure the DEA to act. "We'll see where it goes," he said. "Hopefully, North Dakota will be the first state where producers can grow hemp for legitimate uses. Nobody has ever put something like this in front of the DEA," he said. "We want to make industrial hemp happen. We have put these rules together in such an airtight fashion that we know we are not going to have illicit drugs being grown in North Dakota," Johnson said.

The DEA doesn't care. Hemp contains traces of THC and thus falls under the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, DEA Washington spokesman Steve Robertson told the AP. "There is no differentiation between hemp and marijuana," Robertson said. "The regulations for hemp are the same as they are for marijuana." [Ed: Robertson of course is lying -- yes, lying -- the CSA clearly gives DEA the authority to grant hemp growing licenses.]

But perhaps some frustrated North Dakota farmer with a hemp license will take the agency to court. And then perhaps the US can join the list of civilized countries that allow hemp production, with North Dakota in the vanguard.

Africa: As Marijuana Growing Expands, Swaziland Begins to Ponder Hemp

Faced with agricultural crisis and an irrepressible and growing marijuana farming sector, the southern African kingdom of Swaziland is now considering the production of another form of cannabis -- hemp. "Swazi Gold," as the locally produced pot is known, is a valuable commodity, fetching up to $5,000 a pound in the European market, and with growers of traditional crops such as cotton and sugar seeing tough times because of falling prices, generations-old, small-scale, traditional marijuana cultivation is being transformed into a major cash crop in the economically staggering nation.

Known in the local parlance as "dagga," Swaziland marijuana is consumed locally and exported to neighboring countries in southern Africa, as well as Europe. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), marijuana production in southern Africa generated about 10% of the $142 billion annual global marijuana trade. The UNODC's 2006 annual drug report calls Swaziland one of the major producers in the region. The other major regional marijuana producers are identified as Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania.

"People here will get around R80 [roughly US$11] for a 10kg bag of maize when they sell it at the market, but they will get R3,000 [about $405] for a 10kg bag of cannabis if they can sell it to someone who is going to take it outside of Swaziland," local informants told the UN's IRIN News Service. "A person can grow 30 10kg bags in a year up in the hills here, and they use the money to buy cows, furniture, send their children to school. We are in a good situation because our fathers grew dagga, so we could afford to go to school, have clothes and other benefits."

According to South Africa's Institute for Security Studies (ISS), the Swazi pot crop is being integrated into existing regional and global criminal networks. "Of the cannabis that is harvested, the best quality is earmarked for compression into one- or two-kilogram blocks that are smuggled via South Africa and Mozambique to Europe and the UK [United Kingdom]," said a recent ISS report on Swaziland's cannabis trade. "Nigerian criminal networks have moved into the dominant position in the Swazi cannabis trade during the past few years, and the proceeds of their sales in Europe are used to pay for cocaine purchased in South America, which is then smuggled to South Africa and elsewhere."

Swazi police attempt to eradicate the crops, but without much success. While the Swazi government gets limited anti-drug aid from the US, more important support from South Africa has ended because Swaziland can't afford to pay its share.

An IRIN reporter accompanied the head of Swaziland's anti-drug unit, Supt. Albert Mkhatshwa, on one search-and-destroy operation where a plantation was burned. "This is just dagga being grown by some of the villagers close by," Mkhatshwa explained. "We will spray it with weed killer and the plants will be dead in a day or so, but if we come back in a month's time it is likely more will be growing in the same spot. The people know we don't have the necessary resources to cover the whole area, so they will take a chance that we will not come back soon. People have been growing herbal cannabis for a long time in Swaziland, long before it was illegal," he said.

And if some local entrepreneurs and government officials have their way, people may be growing hemp as well. According to IRIN, the Swazi government is set to allow small-scale production of hemp to see if it has the potential to become an economically viable crop.

"In hemp we have an alternative to cotton, which has let us down badly over the last few years. It has been because of marijuana that we have found it difficult to talk about hemp, but that is changing, and we are beginning to shape public opinion to its benefits," said Lufto Dlamini, the Swazi Minister for Enterprise and Employment. "The government is considering a proposal to grow hemp, and a decision will be reached by the end of this month. But I expect it will be given the go-ahead to grow for research purposes, and if that proves successful then we will see," he told IRIN.

Dr Ben Dlamini, 70, a former education administrator in the Swazi Department of Education, was an early hemp advocate. "The major emphasis on cannabis in Swaziland has always been on smoking it and getting a 'high,' but if we were to grow hemp commercially it would solve a lot of problems," he told IRIN. "It can be used to manufacture fuels, textiles, healthy oils and lotions," he pointed out. "People are getting the idea that hemp can be used for purposes other than smoking, but the process of understanding this is very slow."

Vote Hemp Action Alert: Comment On Framing Rules Until October 30

Dear XXXXX,

Considering the bad news I gave you last week about Governor Schwarzenegger's veto, I am especially happy to report good news from North Dakota. The second-largest wheat exporting state, North Dakota is ranked ninth overall in agriculture exports and is just across the border from the thriving hemp farming provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan Canada. This important farming state will be the first to implement an industrial hemp farming law when it publishes rules on state licensing.

You can help make this happen by sending a letter in support of North Dakota's proposed rules. The deadline for comments has recently been extended to October 30, 2006.

While Vote Hemp has been organizing comments in support of the rules, Drug Watch International has mobilized anti-hemp activists to send letters in opposition. Despite their efforts, letters in support of the rules are outweighing those in opposition by a 4-to-1 margin. Help us keep a winning score by sending a letter now.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), also trying to derail North Dakota's hemp farming plans, sent comments quoting the 1999 report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) which expressed concern that Switzerland's industrial hemp program was being "used for the cultivation of more potent cannabis destined for the illicit market."

They failed to mention that by 2001, the INCB no longer cited concerns about Switzerland, and in its review of European Commission industrial hemp regulations it found them to be "effective" and "strict" and concluded that "the misuse of those regulations or the diversion of cannabis licitly cultivated in member states of the European Union is unlikely." Industrial hemp hasn't been mentioned in an INCB report since.

Help us counter the misinformation campaign being waged by Drug Watch International and the DEA. Give North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson the support he needs to bring industrial hemp farming back to North Dakota. Please take action now.

Sincerely,

Eric Steenstra
President

Angry Response to Schwarzenegger's Veto

· Opinion: The Mighty Pen

· Editorial: Governor's Late Vetoes

· Editorial: He Cleared His Desk, Clouded His Ideology

· Don't Hold Your Breath for Sense about Hemp


Opinion: The Mighty Pen

Long Beach Press-Telegram
October 4, 2006

[Ed. Note: The parts relevant to industrial hemp are excerpted below.]

Some of the bills that didn't deserve the ax:

Industrial hemp: The governor vetoed a bill that would have allowed farmers to grow industrial hemp. Since this grade of the plant doesn't cause intoxication, those who want to grow it to make paper, clothing and other products should have the right to also grow an industry.


Editorial: Governor's Late Vetoes

San Francisco Chronicle
October 3, 2006

[Ed. Note: The parts relevant to industrial hemp are excerpted below.]

He vetoed an industrial hemp bill (AB 1147 by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco) that would have been good for state farmers and good for the economy by reducing the importation of a popular product — and would not in any way have promoted marijuana cultivation or use.


Editorial: He Cleared His Desk, Clouded His Ideology

The Orange County Register
October 6, 2006

[Ed. Note: The parts relevant to industrial hemp are excerpted below.]

The governor also vetoed, wrongly, we believe, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a bipartisan bill that would have allowed farmers to grow hemp products provided they do not contain any significant level of THC, the chemical that produces the high from marijuana. Critics were right that the veto showed an "irrational fear" of looking soft on drugs. Industrial hemp can be used to make clothing and a variety of consumer and food products, and has nothing to do with drug use.


Don't Hold Your Breath for Sense about Hemp

The Times-Standard
Eureka, CA
October 6, 2006

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of a bill to legalize the growing of industrial hemp as a valuable — and non- intoxicating — cash crop is a perfect example of federal control run amok ... as if we didn't have plenty of examples of that in California already.

Read more ...

 

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Location: 
United States

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.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/hempia.gif
(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.

Doctor lashes out after drugs conviction (The Australian)

Location: 
United States
URL: 
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20492560-29277,00.html

Hemp: North Carolina Governor Signs Bill to Study Industrial Use

North Carolina Governor Michael Easley has signed a bill that will create a commission to study the industrial uses of hemp. With that move coming as California awaits Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision on whether to sign a hemp bill there and North Dakota finalizes rules that would allow farmers to grow hemp under a 1999 law, it appears the hemp logjam is beginning to break -- at least in the states.

The Beneficial Uses of Industrial Hemp Act, passed as part of the as part of the Studies Act of 2006, will lay the groundwork for industrial hemp farming in the heavily agriculture Tarheel State.

According to the new law, a commission will be created to study ""the uses of industrial hemp oil as an alternative fuel and motor oil; the uses of omega-3 rich industrial hemp seed and industrial hemp oil in snack foods, body care products, and food supplements; the uses of industrial hemp fibers as raw materials for construction and paper products and for fabric; and the uses of industrial hemp in the manufacture of recyclable car parts."

The commission will be comprised of 15 members, including delegates of the Governor, the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, House and Senate leaders, Agriculture Committee chairs, the President of the NC Farm Bureau, and the deans of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NCSU and the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at NC A&T. The commission will report its findings and recommendations to the 2007 General Assembly and the Environmental Review Commission by December 1, 2006.

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