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Bill Would Permit Cannabis Growth

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
SACRAMENTO – The most liberal Democratic lawmakers from the Bay Area and the most conservative Republican legislators from Southern California have rolled together a bill allowing farmers to grow cannabis – the hemp variety, not pot.

Congress members from the Bay Area are among those who have introduced a similar measure in Washington, redefining industrial cannabis used in fine clothing and other goods as an agricultural product and not a drug.

Farming of hemp, a variety of cannabis that wouldn't get people high even if they smoked piles of the weed, was banned amid the nation's war on drugs.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in hemp fiber for clothing, seeds for human consumption and oil for soap are imported annually, mostly from Canada, according to bill supporters.

Even Giorgio Armani, whose clothes are a special favorite of Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez of Los Angeles, uses hemp in his products, according to USAgNet, an Internet-based agricultural information service.

One of the authors of AB684, Assemblyman Mark Leno,

D-San Francisco, said the hemp ban is out of date, comparing the "trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinols) in industrial hemp" to trace amounts of opium in poppy seeds on your bagel."

Sen. Tom McClintock,

R-Thousand Oaks, says hemp is no more like pot than poodles are like wolves.

Law enforcement agencies argue marijuana plants could be hidden amid hemp, since it has the same 11-point leaf.

Bill supporters, however, say growers would fear cross-pollination – a development that would ruin both crops.

Hemp has 0.3 percent of the psychoactive drug, whereas marijuana contains up to 15 percent.

Vote Hemp, an advocacy group, said Wednesday it believes hemp-farming backers are going to reach the end of their longtime effort this year, citing a Zogby International poll they commissioned last month that shows support from 71 percent of Californians.

Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, and all age groups liked the idea of legalizing hemp farming.

In the Central Valley, farmers are keen to grow hemp, which is more lucrative than many other crops, according to proponents.

Nutiva, an organic food company headquartered in Sebastopol, believes it could save $100,000 a year in transportation costs if it could buy hemp seeds in California, supporters said.

The Legislature passed a bill similar to AB684 last year, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it, saying that "under current federal statutes there is no definition of 'industrial hemp,' nor is there a distinction between cannabis plants based on THC content.

"All cannabis plants, regardless of variety or THC content, are simply considered to be 'marijuana,' which is a federally regulated 'Schedule I' controlled substance."

But Democratic Reps. George Miller, Pete Stark and Lynn Woolsey are among a group of bipartisan congressional members who are trying to change that federal law with legislation they introduced last month.

Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger's office said the GOP governor has not taken a position on AB684, co-authored by Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Eureka, and two members of his own party – Assemblymen Chuck Devore of Irvine and Anthony Adams of Claremont.

Hemp was a commercial crop in California in the early 1900s. During World War II the government encouraged farmers to grow hemp for rope with a Hemp for Victory campaign when supplies from the Philippines were cut off.

The plant's stalk provides the strongest known natural fiber. It is also heavy in cellulose, which can be used in some plastics, such as shower curtains, building materials and auto products.

The seeds, which contain essential fatty acids, are used in everything from health foods to fast food snacks. The oil is used in body-care products such as lotions, soaps and shampoos.

News Hawk- User 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Inside Bay Area
Author: Steve Geissinger
Contact: sgeissinger@angnewspapers.com
Copyright: ANG Newspapers
Website: Inside Bay Area - Bill would permit cannabis growth


New Member
It's about time a brain cell or two was fired up in the heads of government officials.

Keep them cells firing boys!!! Thanks also for the hard work on the bill.
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