cannabisnews.com: Douglas Won't Veto New Hemp Law





Douglas Won't Veto New Hemp Law
Posted by CN Staff on May 30, 2008 at 18:20:02 PT
By Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Press Bureau
Source: Times Argus 
Montpelier, VT -- Gov. James Douglas will allow a bill legalizing hemp to become law despite concerns from the law enforcement community about its impact on marijuana eradication efforts in the state.The legislation, which legalizes the cultivation of industrial hemp in Vermont, won nearly unanimous support in the both the House and Senate this session. Though Douglas doesn't support the bill, and has refused to attach his signature to it, he will nonetheless forward the legislation to the Secretary of State, which will effectively enact the law.
"It's a do-nothing bill," Douglas spokesman Jason Gibbs said Thursday. "The federal law still prohibits the cultivation of industrial hemp, and so the practical impact of this legislation is virtually nothing."Douglas could have vetoed the legislation, an option he considered after law enforcement officials raised concerns. But Gibbs said Douglas does not "exercise his veto authority lightly," and that the bill is too insignificant to warrant such an extreme action."The consequence of this bill is so low, so insignificant, that it doesn't rise to the level of a gubernatorial veto," Gibbs said.Farmers won't be able to grow hemp crops just yet. Federal statute, which supercedes state law, draws no distinction between hemp and marijuana, and anyone growing either is subject to prosecution.But Tom Tremblay, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, said he worries about what the legislation means for law enforcement officers in Vermont if the federal law does change."The plants are really difficult to differentiate," Tremblay said. "The legalization of industrial hemp could increase production of marijuana."Hemp and marijuana are in the same species of flora. THC, the intoxicating compound in marijuana, exists in hemp but at much lower levels. Vermont's law classifies hemp as a cannabis sativa plant with less than .2 percent THC. Marijuana generally has a THC content of at least 5 percent.Tremblay, though, said that proving in a criminal court that the marijuana they seized isn't actually hemp means an expensive and laborious testing protocol that the state's crime labs are ill-equipped to take on."It would require the crime lab to basically develop some kind of chemical analysis, so we'd have to purchase special equipment and conduct special training, which would be expensive and time consuming," Tremblay said. "I, for one, would rather have the crime lab focusing on the very serious cases we're dealing with now."Lawmakers this session heard testimony from authorities in Canada  where hemp cultivation is legal  who said they have no trouble distinguishing the plants. That testimony was compelling enough for Rep. Jim McNeil, a Rutland Town Republican on the House Agriculture Committee that drafted the original bill."You can smoke as much hemp as you want and you just get a massive headache," McNeil said. "And you can tell the difference between the crops from a distance  you don't have to be right up on top of it."McNeil said he supports the legislation because of the potential impact it could have on agriculture in the state."It could be a viable rotation crop for farmers, and I think it could spur a lot of small businesses," he said.Hemp, grown legally in every industrialized country except the United States, reaps attractive profit margins for some farmers. Hemp oil, derived from seeds, is used in food and beauty products. Hemp's long stalks contain fiber and cellulose that can be made into textiles, building materials and fuel.Amy Shollenberger, director of Rural Vermont, said the law positions Vermont farmers to capitalize on the hemp boon when the federal statute finally does change."I think Vermont's best hope is to do as much as it can to build local economies, and I think hemp can be a big factor in building that economy," Shollenberger said.Vermont businesses already selling hemp products, she said, are clamoring for locally sourced hemp.Anna Barrett, marketing director for Way Out Wax in Morrisville, said her company, which sells candles and other natural products, would prefer to purchase its hemp ingredients from local farmers."It's an amazing crop that has so many applications," Barrett said. "We could make hemp wax candles. People are always looking for hemp oils because they're so healthy and good for you. I really think there's a market here."Andrew Meyer, co-owner of Vermont Soy in Hardwick, said the hemp industry might also spur in-state processing facilities that could strengthen the manufacturing sector in Vermont."If you have a source of hemp, and a demand for its products, you could potentially see processing facilities around the state," he said.Gibbs said Vermonters would have been better served had their Legislature focused on issues other than hemp."The time the Legislature spent on this issue would have been better spent addressing property taxes or health care costs or reducing regulatory barriers to job creation," Gibbs said.Source: Times Argus (Barre, VT)Author: Peter Hirschfeld, Vermont Press BureauPublished: May 30, 2008Copyright: 2008 Times ArgusContact: letters timesargus.comWebsite: http://www.timesargus.com/ Related Articles:Hemp Bill Moves To Full Senate Votehttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23895.shtmlVt. Senate Weighs Industrial Hemp Billhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23717.shtmlHouse Backs Plan To Spur Vt. Hemp Industryhttp://cannabisnews.com/news/thread23666.shtml
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on July 24, 2008 at 23:00:12 PT
In case you missed it
North Dakota Farmers Sue to Overturn U.S. Ban on Industrial Hemp. 
Tuesday, July 15, 2008 by: David Gutierrez | Key concepts: hemp, farmers and industrial hemp
http://www.naturalnews.com/023637.html
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Comment #8 posted by John Tyler on May 31, 2008 at 20:14:15 PT
job creation
"The time the Legislature spent on this issue would have been better spent addressing property taxes or health care costs or reducing regulatory barriers to job creation," Gibbs said.
Isnt this what the Legislature was doing, reducing regulatory barriers to job creation? This is a great start to the hemp industry in Vermont.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on May 31, 2008 at 17:07:32 PT
Very, very interesting.
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n542/a08.html?397 Bearman Crusades For End To Pointless War On Drugs
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on May 31, 2008 at 16:52:12 PT
Smuggler's Blues
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4566359a6000.htmlEx-drug lord deported to NZ
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on May 31, 2008 at 16:31:21 PT
Sorry.
Went way OT without warning.Sorry.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on May 31, 2008 at 16:29:46 PT
Seems I remember a similar machine hitting
the news, worldwide, in California a bit back.EPA restricts rat poisons to protect childrenhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24895522/I predict a rush on mouse and rat pellets.Why in the world would anyone put rat pellets outside where wildlife or children or pets could get hold of it?If it saves more birds, in general, though, I'm ok with it.We probably really need more cats.I guess maybe in places where people are plagued with hordes of tree rats hanging in the trees... and few hungry cats, a person might do something like place poison pellets near the trees that the rats might be infesting. 
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Comment #3 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on May 31, 2008 at 03:30:50 PT
You can have your law and eat it, too.
"It's a do-nothing bill," Douglas spokesman Jason Gibbs said Thursday. "The federal law still prohibits the cultivation of industrial hemp, and so the practical impact of this legislation is virtually nothing.""The consequence of this bill is so low, so insignificant, that it doesn't rise to the level of a gubernatorial veto," Gibbs said.I don't think I've ever heard a governor say they were going to let a bill become law, because it was supposedly bad legislation.Of course, the law could do something next year, if the new President decided having the DEA prevent farmers from growing hemp was not a good use of resources.If there was only a way to find out what McCain and Obama's positions are on this issue.Like a media that thought that 28 states having introduced hemp legislation, 15 having passed legislation, and 8 having removed barriers to its production or research was enough to ask the Presidential candidates if they would continue the federal prohibition on hemp farming.Maybe Trinity United will ask Jack Herer to preach.
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Comment #2 posted by dongenero on May 30, 2008 at 20:20:35 PT
out of the mouths of prohibs.......
Tremblay said. "I, for one, would rather have the crime lab focusing on the very serious cases we're dealing with now."Yes Mr.Tremblay, we would all rather have you focusing on serious crime cases!!
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Comment #1 posted by ripit on May 30, 2008 at 18:46:31 PT:
one step closer!
yup! keep walking ppl were getting there! };
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