Hemp Cultivation in Maryland?
The situation in Maryland: For other articles see events page or answer 20.
A major effort is underway to push hemp legislation through various state governments:
Pubdate: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 Source: Sunday News (PA)
Copyright: 2000 Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.
Address: Letters to the Editor, Sunday News, P.O. Box 1328, Lancaster, PA 17608-1328 Fax: (717)291-4950
Feedback: http://www.lancnews.com/lnp/lettersunnews.html Website: http://www.lancasteronline.com/sunnews/
Author: Les Stark, Special to the Sunday News Note: Les Stark, of Ephrata, is a researcher/historian specializing in the Pennsylvania hemp industry.
PUTTING THE HEMP BACK IN HEMPFIELD
It's Time For Pennsylvania, And The County, To Join The Crowd On Industrial Hemp
About 2 1/2 months ago Maryland became the fourth state to authorize the cultivation of hemp. On July 1 Maryland became the third state to actually plant hemp seeds. This important test crop is growing right now.
Maryland now joins Hawaii, Minnesota and North Dakota as states that have passed positive hemp legislation that will allow farmers to cultivate hemp.
Nineteen other states have passed prohemp resolutions or have hemp legislation either waiting to be passed, under consideration or are undertaking studies on the economic potential of a revitalized hemp industry. They include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Interest in hemp is intense and increasing. Hawaii planted hemp on Dec. 14,1999. There is hope that hemp will boost a sagging farm economy hurt by the loss of sugar cane, formerly Hawaii's number one cash crop.
After passing positive hemp legislation in Minnesota last year, Gov. Jesse Ventura gathered farmers together to instruct them on how to apply for permits to grow hemp. He also wrote a letter to the Clinton administration, formally requesting that the federal government remove restrictions that prevent farmers from growing hemp right now.
Gov. Ed Schafer of North Dakota signed positive hemp legislation on March 17, 1999. The people of that state watched and learned from their neighbors across the border in Canada who have been successfully cultivating and profiting from the newly revitalized and rapidly expanding billion dollar hemp industry for half a decade now.
It is no wonder that North Dakota became the first state to pass positive hemp legislation. Farmers there are poised to grow hemp, especially for seed and oil as processing plants for flax seed oil already exist in the area and can easily process hemp seed oil.
In addition, the Navajo Nation and the Oglala Lakota tribe have announced intentions to grow hemp for self-sufficiency and as a boost to local economies. The Oglala Lakota held a planting ceremony on April 29, the 132nd anniversary of the signing of the Fort Laramie Treaty.
The hemp harvested on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota will be used to make hemp-based concrete that is lighter and easier to work with than masonry concrete. It will be used as part of a building project on Pine Ridge to address a severe housing shortage.
Here in Lancaster, interest in the cultivation, processing, manufacturing and marketing of hemp has been shown by the Lancaster Farm Bureau, individual members and Leaders of the Tobacco Marketing Association, agricultural research firms and experimental farms, a textile factory, bankers, agribusiness, township supervisors, a Kiwanis club, a Rotary club, some political candidates and scores of farmers.
It has caught the, attention of the media, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Pennsylvania State University, student activists at Millersville University and average citizens.
Historical craftsmen are eager to work with locally grown hemp fibers. There is a growing awareness of the historical significance of hemp in Lancaster County.
In a forum on hemp held in Yoders Restaurant (of New Holland) in March, Jean Laprise, an Ontario hemp farmer, pointed out that Lancaster County would have a tremendous geographic advantage in marketing of hemp. We are strategically placed in the center of a major population belt with many industries that could make use of hemp raised here.
Already here in Lancaster County there are many businesses that either import, produce or sell hemp foods, products and textiles. Hemp seed and oil products are being sold In local grocery and health food stores. The malls and other retail stores have carried hemp products for years now. Profits from sales of hemp products locally as well as nationally are projected to exceed all previous years.
Pennsylvania is the Keystone State. Our northeast corner borders a major hemp growing region in Ontario where tens of thousands of acres of hemp are cultivated yearly. The Maryland border graces Lancaster County. We'll be able to see their hemp right up close. Are we to sit idly by and just watch it grow?
The time to enact legislation that will allow our farmers to cultivate industrial hemp is right now.
Les Stark, of Ephrata, is a researcher/historian specializing in the Pennsylvania hemp industry.
Pubdate: Fri, 19 May 2000 Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2000 The Washington Post Company
Address: 1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071
Author: Lori Montgomery, Washington Post Staff Writer
MD. AUTHORIZES THE PRODUCTION OF HEMP
Maryland yesterday became the fourth state in the nation to authorize the production of hemp, a hardy fibrous crop with many commercial uses that sponsors hope will offer Maryland farmers a profitable alternative to tobacco.
There's just one drawback: Hemp is also known as marijuana. And under federal drug laws, it is illegal.
But with a growing number of states showing interest in the crop to help bolster their sagging farm economies, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is reviewing its hardline stance against hemp production. And Maryland officials are optimistic that the DEA will permit them to implement their four-year pilot program.
"We're growing rope, not pot," said Charles Puffinberger, an assistant secretary in the Maryland Department of Agriculture. "Maybe if we all gang up on the DEA, they might give in and say, 'Go ahead. Grow whatever you want.' "
Gov. Parris N. Glendening signed a bill into law yesterday to create the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, authorizing state agriculture officials to design a tightly-regulated program to grow hemp on state-owned land. Interested farmers would face an extensive criminal background check and be licensed by the DEA. State police could search the site at any time.
The law, which takes effect July 1, would also require agriculture officials to closely control the supply of hemp seeds, which are classified as a controlled substance. The seeds must be imported from Canada or abroad with DEA approval, Puffinberger said.
The measure sailed through the recent legislative session with little controversy, drawing eight negative votes in both chambers. But none of the measure's sponsors showed up to be photographed with Glendening (D) during the bill-signing ceremony, a popular event that normally draws crowds of supporters.
Indeed, the only person to join Glendening and legislative leaders in the hemp bill picture was Joyce Nalepka, of Silver Spring, an anti-drug activist who flashed a bumper sticker behind the governor's head that said, "Boycott Pot (and all hemp products)."
"I am furious over the fact that this bill has passed," Nalepka said. "Hemp is marijuana is cannabis sativa is pot. As a mother, it is my belief that marijuana is absolutely our most dangerous drug."
Most experts recognize a difference between the two varieties of the hemp plant, or cannabis sativa. One, marijuana, contains high levels of a psychoactive chemical known as THC. The other, industrial hemp, contains very low levels of THC. It reportedly gives those who try to smoke it little more than a headache.
Still, federal law classifies both types of cannabis as a narcotic. Other than Maryland, only Hawaii, North Dakota and Minnesota have laws allowing hemp production. All were passed last year. Both Minnesota and North Dakota allow farmers statewide to grow hemp.
In Virginia, lawmakers passed a resolution last year urging federal officials to "revise the necessary regulations" to permit experimental hemp production there.
Hawaii is the only state so far to receive DEA approval to plant hemp. The seeds were sown in December, the nation's first legal hemp patch in nearly 50 years.
The DEA imposed serious security measures. Hawaii's hemp is guarded by a 24-hour alarm system and a six-foot-high fence topped with razor wire, Puffinberger said--expensive restrictions that would be difficult to duplicate on Maryland's budget.
DEA spokesperson Rogene Waite said the agency is currently reviewing its security restrictions for growing drugs such as marijuana in light of the states' concerns.
Whatever security measures the state would take, Nalepka believes it wouldn't be enough. "I don't care if the governor himself goes out there with an Uzi and stands at the gate." Kids, she said, will still try to smoke it.
The other big question is whether hemp will be a hit with farmers.
Del. Clarence Davis (D-Baltimore), the measure's chief sponsor, has no doubt that farmers will find hemp "the way to go."
But one of the legislature's few tobacco farmers, Sen. Thomas McLain Middleton (D-Charles), was less than enthusiastic.
"I'll stick with my Marlboros, thank you," he said smiling.
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*Industrial-Hemp has no psychoactive properties following definition of the European Economic Community (EEC); THC content is less than 0.3%. In general, low THC-seed varieties without psychoactive properties are those that have a THC content of less than 1%. (See also No-THC Hemp-seed.) THC= Delta-9 TetraHydroCannabinol.
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