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The Hemp Report

An online trade journal covering the North America hemp industry: agriculture, processing, marketing, research, business and regulatory news, and updates. Strong focus on hemp farming and developments in Canada.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Hemp is not like pot. Please make a note of it. Thanks. 

Crossposted and Recommended diary at DailyKos.

Before I launch into this little lecture I would like to make an assertion:
If hemp had remained an agricultural crop instead of being classed as a Schedule 1 drug we wouldn't have had all the problems we've had all these years.

I just like to say that.

I have been wanting to address the issue of comparing hemp to pot. This happens often and it is so stupid it drives me nuts to have to listen to it.

John Walters, "Drug Czar" for the Bush Administration, the worst presidential administration in human history, has often found it useful to compare and contrast hemp and marijuana.

Is he really stupid, or does he have an agenda?

Make the jump.


His purpose, of course, is to hold the Official Line, Reefer Madness. His job is to lie, to distort, to confuse, and to muddy the waters of public discourse. A typical Team Bush crony.

He is not the only one, though. In February of this year Vote Hemp put out a press release. In it we had this quote from Tom Riley of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP):
"You have legitimate farmers who want to experiment with a new crop," Riley said. "But you have another group, very enthusiastic, who want to allow cultivation of hemp because they believe it will lead to a de facto legalization of marijuana." Mr. Riley continued with "The last thing law enforcement people need is for the cultivation of marijuana-looking plants to spread. Are we going to ask them to go through row by row, field by field, to distinguish between legal hemp and marijuana?"

Um, no — you do what the Canadian government did. Hemp farming in Canada is well regulated by Health Canada ensuring that only legitimate farmers are licensed and that they only grow government approved low-THC hemp. Requirements include applicant background checks, GPS coordinates of hemp fields, the use of varieties of approved low-THC certified hemp seed purchased from licensed seed vendors, and random inspections and testing. This licensing scheme ensures that farmers are only growing non-drug industrial hemp and not marijuana. Even though law enforcement is able to distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana, the licensing process eliminates the need for them to visually distinguish between industrial hemp and its drug psychoactive cousin.

Industrial hemp plants have long and strong stalks, have few branches, have been bred for maximum production of fiber and/or seed, and grow up to 16 feet in height. They are planted in high densities of 100 to 300 plants per square yard. On the other hand, drug varieties of Cannabis are shorter, are not allowed to go to seed, and have been bred to maximize branching and thus leaves and flowers. They are planted much less densely to promote bushiness. The drug and non-drug varieties are harvested at different times, and planting densities look very different from the air.

Don't believe me. Check this out. Here is a copy of the listing for Cannabis that was in the April 1927 USDA Farmers' Bulletin No. 663, "Drug Plants Under Cultivation." Later printings of Farmers' Bulletin No. 663 did not have it.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Farmers' Bulletin No. 663
Drug Plants Under Cultivation
Washington, D.C.
Issued June, 1915
Revised April, 1927

U.S. Government Printing Office: 1929

By W. W. Stockberger, Senior Physiologist in Charge, Drug, Poisonous, and Oil Plants, Bureau of Plant Industry

From the section titled, "THE CULTIVATION AND HANDLING OF DRUG PLANTS", pp. 16-17.


The drug cannabis (Cannabis sativa) consists of the dried flowering tops of the female plants. The plant grows well over a considerable portion of the United States, but the production of the active principle is believed to be favored by a warm climate. For drug purposes, therefore, this crop appears to be adapted to the Southern rather than to the Northern States.

Cannabis is propagated from seeds, which should be planted in the spring as soon as conditions are suitable, in well-prepared sandy or clayey loam, at a depth of about an inch in rows 5 or 6 feet apart. The seeds may be dropped every 2 or 3 inches in the row or planted in hills about a foot apart in the row, 6 to 10 seeds being dropped into each hill. Two or three pounds of seed per acre should give a good stand. About half the seeds will produce male plants, which must be removed before their flowers mature, otherwise, the female plants will set seed, thereby diminishing their value as a drug. The male plants can be recognized with certainty only by the presence of stamens in their flowers.

Ordinary stable or barnyard manure plowed in deeply is better for use as a fertilizer than commercial preparations and may be safely applied at the rate of 20 tons per acre. Good results may be obtained, however, with commercial fertilizers, such as are used for truck crops and potatoes, when cultivated in between the rows at the rate of 500 or 600 pounds per acre.

When the female plants reach maturity a sticky resin forms on the heavy, compact flower clusters, and harvesting may then be begun. The tops of the plants comprising the flower clusters are cut and carefully dried in the shade to preserve the green color as far as possible. Drying can best be done, especially in damp weather, by the use of artificial heat, not to exceed 140° F.

For several years cannabis of standard (U.S.P.) quality has been grown on a commercial scale in this country, chiefly in South Carolina and Virginia. After the flowering tops are harvested they are thoroughly dried under cover, then worked over by hand, and all the stems and large foliage leaves removed. This process gives a drug of high quality but greatly reduces the net or marketable yield per acre, which usually ranges from 350 to 400 pounds. Some growers do not remove the stems and leaves, thus increasing the acreage yield but reducing the market value of their product. The quality of cannabis can be determined only by special laboratory tests, which most dealers are not equipped to make; and consequently, they are usually unwilling to pay growers as high prices as they would if the low-grade cannabis were kept off the market.

The market price in January, 1927, for domestic cannabis (U.S.P.) was 23 to 33 cents a pound.

The U.S.D.A. teaching farmers how to grow seedless flowering tops of Cannabis, amazing. Compare that information to that in historical and modern hemp farming guides and you are now an expert in the subject.

However, law enforcement is still living in their past and believe that the proposed DEA ban on hemp foods is current information and HIA v DEA never happened, and present testimony to committees fully believing their own rhetoric. They act like like the 1998 DEA press release "Statement from the Drug Enforcement Administration On the Industrial Use of Hemp" is gospel. They also seem to believe that the ONDCP National Drug Control Strategy statements on industrial hemp in 1999-2001 are just as valid today as when they were written. We know that they are not, but law enforcement does and they are more than willing to present such testimony to legislative committees as they just did in New Hampshire to kill the hemp farming bill there once again.

Please be aware that North Dakota recently passed into law HB 1020 and language in the bill specifically removed DEA from the licensing process for hemp farmers in that state. It reads:
"A license required by this section is not conditioned on or subject to review or approval by the United States drug enforcement agency."

The language in version 78020.0500, page 7 lines 14-15, which is available on their legislature's Web site.

HB 1020 passed the House 92-0 on April 24, 2007 and passed the Senate 47-0 on April 25, 2007 and was signed by Governor Hoeven on April 27, 2007. It it is now law as there was an emergency clause in the bill that was carried.

Jordan Smith has a well written update in today's Austin Chronicle in her story North Dakota Hemp Heads Toward Federal Showdown. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.

The last commercial hemp crops in the United States were grown in central Wisconsin in 1957, and these crops were purchased and processed by the Rens Hemp Company in Brandon, about 40 miles northwest of Milwaukee. The primary reason industrial hemp has not been grown in the U.S. since then is because of its misclassification as a Schedule I drug in the CSA of 1970. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 had provisions for farmers to grow non-psychoactive hemp by paying an annual occupational tax of $1.00. The exemption for hemp products was contained in the definition of marihuana in the Act:
"The term 'marihuana' means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L. ... but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination."

The language of the exemption was carried over almost verbatim to the definition of marihuana in the CSA [21 U.S.C. §802(16)] which superseded the 1937 Tax Act, but since there was no active hemp industry at the time the provisions for hemp farming were not included in the new Act.

There is also an exemption for hemp farming in the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961. Article 28 states that:
"2. This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fibre and seed) or horticultural purposes."

Laws allowing the farming of industrial hemp would not be in conflict with the Single Convention of which the U.S. is a signatory.

The media is finally starting to get past the "giggle factor" that surrounds hemp. One of the best treatments of California's hemp farming bill, AB 684, was in a story by Samantha Young in yesterday's Fresno Bee titled State Assembly approves hemp farming bill.

I'm starting to ramble. So, let's have a discussion about hemp farming & related stuff. If you want to discuss pot, please check out the diary Pot is not like tobacco. Please make a note of it. Thanks. by xxdr zombiexx. Weird, it has an eirily similar title to this one.


Hemp, Marijuana, Propaganda, Farming, Agriculture, Recommended

posted by Tom  # 9:13 AM
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