Industrial Hemp Wins MN Senate Approval

Industrial Hemp Wins MN Senate Approval
Posted by FoM on March 08, 1999 at 20:52:20 PT
Majority Leader Moe Says Crop Would Help Farmers
ST. PAUL, A bill that would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp won preliminary approval today in the Minnesota Senate, reports The Associated Press. And before your mind associates industrial hemp a state full of stoners, relax. 
Although marijuana and hemp plants are similar, they're not the same. According to the North American Industrial Hemp Council, "hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. Due to the similar leaf shape, hemp is frequently confused with marijuana. Although both plants are from the species cannabis, hemp contains virtually no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana." In other words, no one's going to get high smoking industrial hemp. "You'd get sick if you smoked (hemp) before you'd ever get high," said Senate Majroity Leader Roger Moe, who sponsored the bill this year and last. Moe told AP hemp would be a good crop because it is used in a variety of products from fertilizer to carpet, cosmetics and car dashboards. Moe said hemp is grown in 22 countries, and more than 210 companies worldwide use it in products. Minnesota hemp growers would be required to register with the state and federal government, reports AP. The bill also would require them to provide the names of people to whom they sold the crop. Growing hemp is illegal in Minnesota but permitted in Canada, said the wire service. Senator Kenric Scheevel, a Republican from Preston, told AP hemp has widespread support among farmers. "Industrial hemp should be considered an alternative crop. It's certainly not going to replace the mainstays of agriculture," Moe told AP. Scheevel, R-Preston, told reporters hemp is "even more versatile than soybeans." "I've been pleasantly surprised with the amount of support in the agriculture industry," Scheevel said. Last year, Gov. Arne Carlson vetoed a bill to allow experimental hemp growth, reports AP. He said the plant would create problems for law enforcement officials because it is impossible to distinguish hemp from illegal marijuana plants. But Sen. Charlie Berg, an independent and farmer from Chokio, said hemp already grows naturally in the wild. He said the THC levels in the plant are so low that if one smoked it, one would feel nothing. "I don't think there's going to be any dire results," Berg told reporters concerning legalized hemp. Although Gov. Jesse Ventura has said he supports hemp production, Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver told AP he had law enforcement concerns because to the naked eye, marijuana is indistinguishable from hemp. "The growing of marijuana remains a significant law enforcement concern," Weaver said. If the bill became law, hemp growers would be allowed to set up experimental and demonstration plots. More information: The Industrial Hemp Information Network's Web site, The North American Industrial Hemp Council's Web site Hemp as an Industrial and Food Resource Canadian Industrial Hemp Council Chris Godsey, Channel 4000 Staff Writer 
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