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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.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hemp News Update 


     Last Wednesday, January 30, the Vermont House Agriculture Committee voted 11-0 to support H 267, the state hemp farming bill. The committee worked hard to craft a bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp in the state, while addressing some of the concerns raised by opponents. A vote by the Vermont House is expected tomorrow. If you are a resident of Vermont and have not yet called your Representative, please read our Vermont Action Alert and make the call today!

     Former North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer, who signed the state's hemp farming law in 1999, was sworn in as the 29th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on January 28, 2008. The Farm & Ranch Guide reported that the Schafer nomination was confirmed unanimously by both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the full Senate. For more on what this may mean politically for hemp farming in the U.S., please check out The Vote Hemp Report email newsletter The State of Hemp that was sent earlier this week.

     On a final note, last week I was talking with a reporter about the potential of hemp farming. He asked what our opponents' facts were against hemp bills. I explained that in our opinion their arguments were merely political and emotional and tended not to be factual at all. For example, compare the following two statements from law enforcement regarding the issue of potentially growing pot within a hemp field.

     Sgt. Dean Hoover of the Saskatchewan Drug Unit recently testified before the Vermont House Agriculture Committee, where he stated that "it would be really easy to spot marijuana plants in the center of a hemp field because there's such a difference in the look. Hemp plants are absolutely filled with seeds, and of course marijuana are all female plants, so there are no seeds. They want the smokable product." Such is the case, and that is indeed a reasonable statement of the facts. No pot grower would ever operate within (or anywhere near) a hemp field.

     Now compare that to testimony from Vermont State Police Lt. Warren Whitney, Assistant Director of the Vermont Forensic Laboratory, who suggested that if hemp were legalized in Vermont and permits issued, there would be an incentive to plant a couple more valuable pot plants among the hemp plants. Simply not true for various reasons, but stated with authority while playing on fear and emotion.

     It's easy to fight ignorance, but it's much harder to fight the party line — and that's what we're really up against.


posted by Tom  # 7:34 PM
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