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House Backs Plan To Spur Vt Hemp Industry


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Hemp is a product of the same plant as cannabis or marijuana, and the House Agriculture Committee member who described the hemp bill to his colleagues and urged its passage later called it unfortunate that the hemp and marijuana measures advanced on the same day.

"It's important for people to realize that industrial hemp is not marijuana," said Rep. Will Stevens, I-Shoreham.

Backers of the hemp measure said the seeds of the cannabis plant can be used in a variety of food products and in the manufacture of high-quality oil. The inside of the plant's stalks historically was an important source of fiber for rope and clothing. The plant would grow well in Vermont and be an important new source of income for Vermont farmers, they maintain.

But while the seeds and stalks can be made into hemp, the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant are marijuana, according to a Web site maintained by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA site says "many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana."

The Vermont House bill would require the state to issue licenses to hemp farmers, who would be subject to criminal background checks and could not get into the business if they had a felony on their record.

The farmer would be required to ensure that "all parts of the industrial hemp plant that do not enter the stream of commerce as hemp products, such as flowers and leaves, are destroyed or recycled at the place of production," under the bill.

Under questioning from Rep. Norman McAllister, R-Franklin, Stevens said North Dakota was the only other state to have passed a law to allow hemp to be grown within its borders. He said federal law allows the DEA to issue special permits for hemp production, but that the agency has declined to do so to date.

Hemp supporters hope that a new administration in Washington next year will take a more liberal stance. Stevens argued that the law would make Vermont poised to have its farmers take advantage if the DEA begins issuing permits.

"States that are in the lead on this will be in the best shape if the DEA ever issues permits," he said in an interview.

Gov. Jim Douglas said at his weekly news conference Thursday that he was cool to the hemp bill. "I don't know that it has much significance," he said. "I don't know what purpose it serves."

Source: Times Argus (Barre,VT)
Copyright: 2008 Times Argus
Contact: letters@timesargus.com
Website: Times Argus Online - Vermont News, Vermont Information, Vermont Jobs


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If the laws need to be changed then it is the people who will help make the changes: The DEA is only doing the job that the laws the people have voted on to enforce. Most of these laws are out dated for the current social and economic times in the USA. But until these laws are changed, by the people for the people then the enforcement will continue from the Federal, State and Local levels of government. It begins with the re classification of the Cannabis / Marijuana plant, and the continuing education of the different species and their inherant properties, values, & their applicable uses. Prison sentences for any cannabis products, or by products, must be abolished. Regulation & Taxation of marijuana imported or exported for medical use or personal use in the United States needs to change. The right and freedom to grow and possess marijuana on ones own property needs to change. Many medical marijuana patients cannot grow their own and need safe access. How does this apply to each state or local region? Those who are not a medical marijuana patieint and wish to grow a few plants for their personal use should not be subject to any prosecution.Those who want to commercially produce marijuana for medical or recreational purposes should be allowed to do so with regulations and taxation, that appropiately coincide with the new laws that will be forthcoming for all states and federal guidelines. All this is coming from the people. The progressive movement of marijuana in all forms has never been more openly discussed by the several hundred million people or so for the values and economic benefits and personal rights that need to change and will change. Business development in the industry is worldwide and can be shared amongst the nations, to better many regions and areas afflicted with poverty and despair, let alone the personal right to grow your own marijuana without the fear of prosecution.
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