Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Doonesbury's Zonker to become hemp farmer, rename himself Kevin Colorado Springs

Source: westword.com

zonker doonesbury hemp farmer 205x205.jpg

Doonesbury hasn't had a print home in Denver since June 2011, when the Denver Post yanked it. But it can be accessed online, and it's still good. Creator Garry Trudeau remains sharp and engaged; he's not doing the equivalent of repeating Garfield-eating-lasagna jokes.
Case in point: Today's strip, part of a new storyline, in which longtime fave Zonker -- no doubt inspired by our recent cover story, "Green Acres" -- announces he's coming to Colorado to farm hemp under an appropriate new name. Check it out below.
In panel one, Zonker is chatting with a co-worker at McFriendly's, the restaurant where he works -- and a place that continues to supersize in a big way:
doonesbury zonker colorado 1.jpg
That's followed by a panel-two reference to a Colorado icon whose given name most locals know, but many outsiders may not:
doonesbury zonker colorado 2.jpg
The third panel identifies said celebrity and sets up the closing joke:
doonesbury zonker colorado 3.jpg
And then, in panel four, the punchline:
doonesbury zonker colorado 4.jpg
Will more people from around the country soon turn up in Colorado with hemp dreams? Here's an appropriate passage from "Green Acres," written by Melanie Asmar:
When voters legalized retail sales of recreational marijuana last November, a single sentence in the otherwise pot-centric Amendment 64 also made it lawful to grow hemp. That doesn't mean that a hemp industry will sprout overnight, however. While recreational marijuana can lean on the infrastructure currently in place for medical pot, hemp has virtually no road map.
What it does have is a merry band of hempsters, a small but dedicated group of supporters that includes a retired Yellow Pages saleswoman, a self-described mad scientist, the victorious defendant in one of Colorado's landmark medical marijuana cases and a handful of stone-cold sober lawmakers who represent the type of places where people have dirt under their fingernails and make their living off the land. Together, this group is determined to create a hemp industry and position the state at the leading edge of an agricultural boom.
In other words, Zonker may soon have some company -- perhaps named Earl Fort Collins or Marvin Grand Junction.
To keep up with Zonker's adventures in hemp, and Doonesbury in general, bookmark this.

Hawaii Senate Committee Appropriates Funds for Industrial Hemp Program

By Thomas H. Clarke
Source: thedailychronic.net

hemp field

HONOLULU, HI — Growing hemp in Hawaii is closer to reality after a Senate committee appropriated funds for a two year hemp and biofuel program in the state.
Last week’s action on House Bill 154 HD2 SD1 authorizes the director of the college of tropical agriculture and human resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop pilot program.
The funds were appropriated by the Committees on Agriculture and Energy and Environment, which also amended the bill to state that the Director of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, rather than the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture, is to establish the two year hemp program.
The bill has already been approved by the House, and has passed two readings in the Senate. The bill needs only approval from various Senate committees and passage of a third reading in the Senate.
The bill passed unanimously on the floor of the House earlier this month, and is expected to be approved by the Senate.
Because the bill has been several times in the House and the Senate, the two chambers will have to agree on the bill’s final language before heading to the Governor for final approval.
If passed in its most recent form, House Bill 154 HD2 SD1 would allow  the director of the college of tropical agriculture and human resources at the University of Hawaii at Manoa to establish a two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop pilot program.
A primary focus of the proposed research would be phytoremediation, a process by which the hemp plant draws toxins out of the soil and processes them safely through its roots, stalk, branches, and leaves.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture recommended the bill pass by a 7-0 vote Thursday, shortly before the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment recommended the bill’s passage 5-0.
The bill now advances to the floor of the Senate for a vote, but a vote has not yet been scheduled on the bill.
House lawmakers passed an amended version of the original bill, which expands the research to include hemp’s value as an alternative biofuel for Hawaii.
“People now understand how industrial hemp can benefit Hawaii,” said State Representative Cynthia Thielen (R-Kaneohe Bay), who cosponsored HB154. “The hemp plant itself uses phytoremediation to cleanse the soil of pesticides, heavy metals, oil, and other toxins.”
“Adding industrial hemp as a source of biofuel is another avenue worth pursuing,” Thielen said. “Reducing our dependence on foreign oil through the use of a renewable resource would be very good for Hawaii.”
The bill was introduced by Thielen, Speaker Joseph Souki, Representative Derek Kawakami, Representative Sylvia Luke, and Representative Angus McKelvey in January.
Cultivation of industrial hemp is currently prohibited by the federal government, but legislation has been introduced in Congress to allow the commercial production of hemp in the United States, the only industrialized nation in the world to prohibit the cultivation of hemp.
Hemp products can legally be sold in the United States, but the hemp must be imported from other countries.

New Hampshire House approves growing industrial hemp

Source: necn.com

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's House has passed a bill to protect industrial hemp from being tagged as an illicit drug.

The House voted without debate Wednesday to send the Senate a bill that would forbid industrial hemp, a botanical cousin to marijuana, from being listed as a controlled substance. The House tried last year to get the Senate to agree to a similar bill, but the Senate instead voted to study the measure.

Supporters say hemp was once an important crop in the United States, but has not been grown in New Hampshire for decades. They say the plant has lower levels of THC, a principal chemical in cannabis, than marijuana and can be used for a variety of non-illicit products.

Industrial Hemp Bill Introduced in West Virginia

By Thomas H. Clarke
Source: thedailychronic.net

hemp harvesting 1

CHARLESTON, WV — A bill that would remove a provision requiring an applicant to meet federal requirements prior to being licensed to grow industrial hemp in West Virginia was introduced last week to the House of Delegates.
The bill was authored by Delegate Mike Maypenny (D-Taylor County), who has also introduced two bills that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.
The bill, House Bill 3011, would remove the following wording from West Virginia’s Industrial Hemp Development Act of 1931:
Prior to issuing a license under the provisions of this article, the commissioner shall determine that the applicant has complied with all applicable requirements of the United States department of justice, drug enforcement administration for the production, distribution and sale of industrial hemp.
Passage of House Bill 3011 would effectively re-enact the Industrial Hemp Development Act, allowing West Virginia farmers to grow hemp for the first time since World War II, when the US temporarily lifted the nation-wide ban on the growth of hemp, encouraging farmers to grow the crop for the war effort.
Currently, the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration prohibit the growth of industrial hemp in the United States.
Due to this prohibition, applicants for a license to grow hemp in West Virginia can not possibly comply with the applicable federal requirements, and no licenses to grow can be issued.
Legislation is also pending in Congress to once again allow the commercial production of hemp in the United States.
Hemp products can legally be sold in the United States, but the hemp must be imported from other countries.
Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
The world’s leader in hemp production is China.
Bills to allow the cultivation of hemp have been introduced in several other states this year.

Hemp market ripe for picking

By Pamela Dickman
Source: reporterherald.com

LOVELAND -- Shaun Crew's company is the biggest processor of industrial hemp in Canada, and his leading product is protein powder.

Hemp Oil Canada also supplies hemp oil, seeds and more for cereal, salad dressings, cooking products, baked goods, soaps and lotions.

"Milk," salad dressings, paint, cloth, rope, packaging supplies, chewing tobacco alternative and yarn lengthen the list of products that boost the $500 million hemp industry -- a venture Colorado is on the verge of joining.

"When I see hemp, I see an alternative crop," said Kent Peppler, Mead farmer and president of the Rocky Mountain Farmer's Union, at an industrial hemp symposium Thursday at The Ranch in Loveland.

"I see a crop that doesn't use fertilizer. I see a crop that doesn't need a great deal of water. I see a crop that has multiple uses."

All those factors make hemp a potential cash crop and alternative for Colorado farmers as state voters just legalized the production with Amendment 64.

Lawmakers are in the midst of crafting regulations for the industry many say is wrongfully lumped with marijuana, just as it was in Amendment 64.

Both industrial hemp and recreational marijuana are now legal under Colorado law, but both remain illegal under federal statute that lists them as controlled substances.

Lawmakers, hemp proponents and farmers unions are lobbying to remove industrial hemp from that list because it is not potent enough to be used as a drug and is instead on the cutting edge of the health food and nutrition industry.

"This has nothing to do with the wild cousin," said Crew, one of about 10 speakers at the symposium. "This is all about health and nutrition."

Already, the products made from hemp number in the thousands, and the possibilities are growing as is the industry. Crew said production and demand has increased 25 percent to 45 percent per year for the past 10 years and is expected to double in the next 12-18 months.

Now is the prime time to lead the way for hemp production in the United States, noted Colorado Sen. Gail Schwartz, who is on the committee creating oversight for Colorado agricultural hemp production.

"Colorado is going to be making history ... We are interested in putting Colorado on the map and producing food and fiber."

Vermont Farmers Could Soon Be Growing Hemp Legally Read more: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/vermont-farmers-could-soon-be-growing-hemp-legally#ixzz2Oiceuuen Follow us: @motherboard on Twitter | motherboardtv on Facebook

By Mat McDermott
Source: motherboard.vice.com


For decades Vermont has draped its political feet on either side of the proverbial fence, with one leg being highly progressive and the other highly conservative. If there's one thing that unites the two, it's a sense of craggy individualism and independence. Most recently, that unlikely union manifested in 29 towns voting to oppose tar sands exports, the state enacting a ban on fracking, and two attempts to mandate labeling of GMO ingredients. 

And now, a proposed bill (H.490) would, if passed, see industrial hemp cultivation legalized and regulated in the state beginning this July 1. This flouts federal law, of course, which has long forbidden hemp farming, with the DEA apparently unwilling to differentiate between hemp and its cousin, marijuana, costing the nation potentially millions in revenue. Curiously, it's also now legal to import into the United States finished hemp products, from clothing to seed. 

Which brings us back to H.490. The bill is being spearheaded by Teo Zagar, a documentary filmmaker now representing the towns of Barnard, Hartford and Pomfret, following the resignation of former Rep. Mark Mitchell in 2011. I had a chance to speak with Zagar* about the motivations for not waiting around for the Feds to approve hemp, the bill's chance of success, and whether Vermont might be joining Washington and Colorado with marijuana legalization anytime soon.

MOTHERBOARD: Since Vermont already had a bill that would regulate hemp production, once the Feds legalized it, why are you introducing this bill--which strips out that delaying language--now? 

When I joined the legislature last year, my first day driving to Montpelier, I'm on 89 heading north, not knowing what to expect. I didn't know what committee I'd be on. When I get there, the Speaker calls me into his office and says, "You're on Agriculture." I was surprised, but I was really pleasantly surprised because there's a lot new agriculture in my town. It's been totally transformed by that. 

I go into the Ag committee room. There's this poster, from World War II, which says, "Grow Hemp for the War". I asked the committee chair what the deal is, in Vermont, with hemp. Obviously it's illegal federally, so no one does it, but we have a precedent with medical marijuana going around federal laws. So why isn't hemp being grown?

It's just such a commonsense thing to do. You'd think it shouldn't take a lot of work to let it through [at the Federal level]. But I have no faith in that process, that it'll have any good outcome for the state of Vermont, or any other state for that matter. Our relationship with the Feds is challenging, and complicated, and often gets in the way of us being able to do the things that the vast majority of Vermonters want to do and think is right. 

I'm not an expert in hemp. I just know that it can be used for so many different things, that it's more environmentally friendly in terms of how it's grown and processed than the alternatives, and—the big reason why it has some chance of success here in Vermont—is because of the economic potential, the jobs.
Hemp for Victory! (1942) called for a sizable bounty increase--50,000 total acres--of hemp for 1943, a 14,000-acre bumper crop over 1942, for everything from shoes to naval tow-lines
Do you think bill represents a chance for Vermont's oftentimes split political personality to unite? It seems to me there should be.

I definitely do. If a good bill comes to the floor, there will be support. It's such common sense. It's completely irrational that it was prohibited in the first place. Our Vice-chair of the Agriculture Committee is a Republican; the Chair is a Democrat. I don't want to speak for them, but there will be Republican support, because it's common sense. It's a no-brainer. It'd be good for Vermont. We have all these deficits and shortfalls in our funding. We're trying to patch things up, going about it in really potentially dangerous ways by raising taxes on certain things. This would have such a positive effect. 

OK, so let's assume the bill passes. What do you expect the federal reaction to be?

I think a much greater precedent has been set with medical marijuana. I'm not equating marijuana with hemp, though they're already linked in many people's minds. Hemp is a much less controversial issue. It's far more controversial that it's prohibited in the first place. Turning that around, once there's momentum behind it, will happen. And it'll happen quickly.

The real question is who will be the first one? Who will put themselves out there? Because you're facing possible forfeiture of your land rights, if the Feds choose to follow the rules that are in place. 

Let's muddy the waters a bit. Should this pass, what are the chances that Vermont will go down the road that Washington State and Colorado have taken, and legalize marijuana? 

There was actually a bill put forward that I signed onto (H.499). 

Decriminalization is the first step. That's been in the works for a few years. It was held up last year; it looks like it might have a chance this year. But, the decriminalization issue is controversial enough. There's not enough of a clear political sense of it for there to be enough support for it in the state. The legalization? We can't talk about that until we have some consensus on decriminalization, and have the support of the Vermont people. It's a hugely complicated issue. There's a lot of unknowns. It's common sense. It's another common sense thing. 



The legalization bill, which was really controversial for me to sign--unless you read it, you'd just think I want there to be a free-for-all for drugs, which is the exact opposite. The bill calls for the regulation and taxation of marijuana. 

What's happened in other places is that once you end the prohibition of marijuana, once you remove it from a black market that causes far more harm in society--because it shares a market with more harmful drugs, the money going to less savory characters, the Mexican drug cartels and maybe terrorists--if you end prohibition and just regulate it, you're probably going to have a net-positive result, if it's done right. There'd be an age restriction, so it'd still be illegal for kids. It'd probably reduce access for kids, if it's regulated appropriately. But I don't see that happening for years.

*Full disclosure: I've known Teo since college; and, though I had forgotten about it, apparently had a clip in one of his films, showing off my prowess on a skateboard.

Maine Lawmakers to Look at New Hemp Bill

by WABI-TV5 News Desk
Source: wabi.tv


Next week, state lawmakers will take a up a bill that would let Maine farmers grow hemp for industrial use.

Monday in Augusta, lawmakers got a peek at what hemp can be used for.

The Business Alliance of Commerce and Hemp put on the display.

If the law passes here in Maine, it would still violate federal law, similar to Maine's medical marijuana law, but supporters say it would let Maine farmers compete globally.

"We see this bill as a positive step towards allowing American farmers to compete with the rest of the farmers in the world," said Steve Ruhl, of the alliance. "We are the only country in the world, industrialized countries, that does not allow our farmers to grow the hemp crop. As you can see from this chart it has many uses. It's time to stop denying our farmers the right to compete."

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for next Thursday afternoon.

Missouri Hemp Farming Bill Scheduled for Hearing

By Thomas H. Clarke
Source: thedailychronic.net

hemp field

JEFFERSON CITY, MO — A bill that would exempt industrial hemp from the Missouri’s controlled substances act has been scheduled for a hearing by the General Laws Committee later this month.
Senate Bill 358, sponsored by Senator Jason Holsman (D—Kansas City), would exempt industrial hemp—defined as containing less than 1% THC—from the state’s controlled substances act and allow anyone not convicted of a drug-related crime to grow it.
An identical bill was introduced in the House last year, but never received a hearing.
A hearing on SB 358 has been scheduled by the General Laws Committee on Tuesday, March 26 at 3:00 pm.  This is a public hearing that allows for testimony in person or in writing if provided in advance.
“Hearings like this give people a chance to voice their opinion outside of the ballot,” said Steven Wilson of the Central Missouri Hemp Network. “Informed citizenry is what managed this country and it is how we can reclaim farm sovereignty and farm freedom.  I encourage all who care about the working man to come out and tell the Senate what they think, either way.  Citizen up or citizen down.”
Similar bills to allow farmers to grow hemp have been introduced in several other states, including Kentucky, Minnesota, and Vermont.
Cultivation of industrial hemp is currently prohibited by the federal government, but legislation has been introduced in Congress to allow the commercial production of hemp in the United States, the only industrialized nation in the world to prohibit the cultivation of hemp.
Hemp products can legally be sold in the United States, but the hemp must be imported from other countries.
For those Missouri residents interested in testifying at this hearing, contact sweb@senate.mo.gov, or contact members of the General Laws Committee:

Top ten hemp legends: Which myths are true -- and which went up in smoke?

Source: westword.com

Did Henry Ford really make a car out of hemp? Was the Declaration of Independence written on hemp paper? Did Abraham Lincoln use hemp oil in his lamps?
The hemp plant, a variety of Cannabis sativa that's the subject of this week's cover story "Green Acres," is steeped in lore. Some hemp legends are true. Others are half-true, and some are completely false. Here, we present ten hemp myths culled from the Internet -- and attempt to separate the fact from the fiction.
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10. George Washington grew hemp.
This oft-repeated legend is true; watch a video above of the folks at Mount Vernon, Washington's plantation-turned-museum, talking about the president's hemp farming.
If that's not enough proof, the column The Straight Dope took on a version of this question in 2009, providing a detailed answer and listing its sources.
"Both Washington and Jefferson tried growing hemp on their Virginia farms, with mixed success," The Straight Dope reports. Though he wasn't very successful, "Washington continued to tout the crop after he became president," columnist Cecil Adams adds.
9. Abraham Lincoln used hemp seed oil in his lamps.
abraham lincoln 550x400.jpg
While hemp seed oil can be used in lamps, we couldn't find any credible evidence that Lincoln himself used it. We did find references to Lincoln using whale-oil lamps, as well asan article in a White House Historical Association publication explaining that the family quarters of the Lincoln White House boasted indoor plumbing and gas-fed lighting.
Some hemp websites even go so far as to claim that Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation by the light of a hemp seed-oil lamp. As proof, they offer this quote, which has absolutely nothing to do with lamps: "Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica."
But Lincoln may have never said that. Several websites claim our sixteenth president wrote that strange sentence in a letter to the Hohner harmonica folks in 1855. But Hohner, a German company that also makes banjos and accordions, wasn't founded until 1857.
8. Vincent Van Gogh painted on hemp canvas.
Van Gogh-Landscape Under a Stormy Sky.jpg
Denver Art Museum
Van Gogh's "Landscape Under a Stormy Sky."
This legend may or may not be true. While hemp canvases existed in the 19th century, when Van Gogh was alive and painting, they weren't as popular as they had been in the past -- notably in the 17th century.
One of the best sources we found on this is a 1980 article from the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, in which the author reports on sampling canvases from 116 Dutch, English, French, Italian and Spanish paintings. She found that by the late 18th century, most painters had transitioned from painting on hemp canvases to painting on linen. As for why, she notes, "the disappearance of the use of hemp canvases coincides exactly with the decline in the production of hemp in France, which began circa 1820."
The author tested six Van Gogh paintings specifically and found that all of them were painted on "preprimed off-white," meaning "machine woven linen ... preprimed being used in the sense that the priming was applied to the canvas before it was stretched."
Most hemp websites also declare that Rembrandt painted on hemp canvases. This assertion is more likely to be true, considering that Rembrandt painted during the 17th century.
7. Hemp helped clean the soil around Chernobyl.
hemp chernobyl article 550x276.jpg
This is another tricky one. There are news reports that a U.S. company called Phytotech, along with Ukranian scientists, planted cannabis around Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear power plant accident, in 1998 to see if the plant would suck up contaminants in the soil through a process known as phytoremediation. But the results of that study aren't widely available -- if they're available at all.
A sort-of interim report was given in New Scientist magazine in April 1999. An article called "Back to Chernobyl" quotes someone named Slavik Dushenkov of Phytotech (which appears not to exist anymore) talking about the project:
After processing the plants, they obtained clean hemp fibre and plant remains rich in caesium. The contaminated remains were burnt in a sealed incinerator that caught all the radioactive ash.
But so far, this method looks as if it could remove only about 1 per cent of the caesium, as much of it is tightly bound to soil particles.
So did Phytotech plant hemp around Chernobyl? Probably. Did it work? It's unclear.
6. Henry Ford made a car out of hemp.
It seems there is some truth to this legend, though it doesn't go as far as some would like. There is indeed a video (see above) of Henry Ford whacking the rear windshield of what many assume is a "hemp car" with an axe to show its strength.
But the part about the car being entirely, or even mostly, made of hemp? Unlikely. In fact, the Benson Ford Research Center -- named after a descendant of Henry Ford and containing his personal book collection and the Ford Motor Company's corporate archives -- refers to it as the "soybean car." Here's an excerpt from their explanation:
What is it?
The "Soybean Car" was actually a plastic-bodied car unveiled by Henry Ford on August 13, 1941 at Dearborn Days, an annual community festival.
What was it made of?
The frame, made of tubular steel, had 14 plastic panels attached to it. The car weighed 2,000 lbs., 1,000 lbs. lighter than a steel car. The exact ingredients of the plastic panels are unknown because no record of the formula exists today. One article claims that they were made from a chemical formula that, among many other ingredients, included soybeans, wheat, hemp, flax and ramie; while the man who was instrumental in creating the car, Lowell E. Overly, claims it was "...soybean fiber in a phenolic resin with formaldehyde used in the impregnation."
A blog called The Angry Historian researched this myth in 2010 and references that article: a 1941 New York Times story that claims Ford chemists had developed a plastic made of 70 percent cellulose fiber, and that those fibers included 10 percent hemp.
So while the car likely had some hemp in it, it's probably a stretch to call it a "hemp car."
5. The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.
declaration of independence 550x266.jpg
This legend is false. The final, official Declaration of Independence is kept at the Library of Congress, and researchers there say it was written on parchment, a type of paper made from animal skin. But what about the rough drafts of the document? Many hempsters claim that those were written on hemp paper.
That's unlikely. The website for Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home-turned-museum,says as much: "According to the Library of Congress, analysis [of the original rough draft] by paper conservators has determined that the paper is most likely Dutch in origin. While hemp was commonly used to make paper in Southern Europe during this time, the Dutch were much more likely to use flax or linen rags."
Reluctant to give up, hemp boosters suggest that additional rough drafts may be made of hemp. Why? Because Benjamin Franklin helped edit the Declaration of Independence, and he also allegedly owned a hemp paper mill.
Alas, that legend may also be untrue. For instance, this is what the Benjamin Franklin Tercentary, a private, non-profit alliance established to mark the three-hundred-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth in 2006, has to say about his paper mills: "He and his wife collected cotton rags (the raw material of paper), invested in setting up paper mills, and eventually ran a thriving wholesale paper business."
4. Australians survived two famines by eating virtually nothing but hemp seed for protein and hemp leaves for roughage.
map of australia 550x351.jpg
This legend sounds so insane that no one would give it a second thought. Right?
Wrong. The Internet is rife with websites boasting this supposed fact; even the "Cannabis in Australia" Wikipedia entry mentions it, attributing it to a 2010 Sydney Morning Herald article that quotes Australia's first licensed industrial hemp farmer as having said it.
But it's most likely false. In fact, we couldn't find evidence of a single famine in Australian history, let alone two that were abated by the almighty hemp plant.
3. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency spends 99 percent of its marijuana eradication budget on cutting down feral hemp, also known as ditch weed.
ditchweed feral hemp toke of the town 550x365.jpeg
Toke of the Town, via Diana Sunshine Wulf
In 2004, the pro-cannabis group NORML put out a press release claiming DEA data shows that "of the estimated 247 million marijuana plants destroyed by law enforcement in 2003, more than 243 million were classified as 'ditch weed.'"
As proof, they cite a chart in the 2003 Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, a University of Albany publication that was formerly funded by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. The chart shows that most of the cannabis destroyed by the DEA was indeed ditch weed, mostly growing in Indiana. A note at the bottom of the chart says it was adapted by Sourcebook staff from data provided by the DEA.
But is that true? We contacted the federal DEA, which confirmed that the statistics cited by NORML are accurate. By way of explanation, DEA public affairs staff coordinator Michael Rothermund offered this:
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) uses the term "marijuana" (sometimes spelled "marihuana") to refer to all cannabis plants, regardless of their THC content. Under the CSA, any person who seeks to grow marijuana for any purpose, including industrial purposes, must be registered with the DEA. DEA evaluates these applications for registration in compliance with the statutory factors mandated by Congress and applicable regulations.
And if they're not registered, the DEA chops 'em down.
2. Hemp requires no irrigation or pesticides to grow.
hemp stalk from wikipedia 550x367.JPG
It's true that the manner in which hemp grows -- tall and very close together -- shades out many weeds and makes it tough for insects to infiltrate. But the plant is not magic.
According to this fact sheet from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food of British Columbia in Canada -- which legalized hemp in 1998 -- "the suggestion that hemp requires no pesticides is not true." However, the fact sheet also notes that "hemp appears to be more free of pests than some other crops," and says that "if a hemp stand is healthy and even, weeds can be reduced to virtually zero under the hemp canopy."
As for water requirements, the fact sheet notes that hemp plants need "plenty" of rainfall, especially within the first six weeks. After that, it says, the plant is drought resistant, though it grows thicker and taller when watered.
1. In 1938, Popular Mechanics called hemp a "billion-dollar crop."
hemp popular mechanics 550x182.jpg
This legend is true. In February 1938, the magazine featured an article called "New Billion-Dollar Crop" (page 238) that proclaimed, "American farmers are promised a new cash crop with an annual value of several hundred million dollars, all because a machine has been invented which solves a problem more than 6,000 years old." The crop was hemp and the new machine was a so-called decorticator that separated the usable fiber from the plant.
But the article left the most important details for last. The last two paragraphs say, "Federal regulations now being drawn up require registration of hemp growers, and tentative proposals for preventing narcotic production are rather stringent."
It went on to call the connection between hemp and marijuana "exaggerated" and predict that "if federal regulations can be drawn to protect the public without preventing the legitimate culture of hemp, the new crop can add immeasurably to American agriculture and industry." Unfortunately, the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, which had passed by the time the Popular Mechanics article appeared, saw to it that that wouldn't happen.