Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The storm brewing in California over hemp legislation has been a story carried here and there for months now, but on Monday, 28 August, it hit the front page of the Grey Lady in the Big Apple. Patricia Leigh Brown did a first rate scoop, and her leading character, a cotton farmer named Charles Meyer, described by her as having a "flinty Clint Eastwood demeanour", blows away the stereotype of the hemp activist as some kind of slacker with an attic full of grow lights. Meyer supports the war in Iraq and thinks if you are unwilling to recite the pledge of allegiance, well, it's love it or leave...hasta la vista as far as Meyer is concerned. And Meyer may be saying that to Governor Terminator soon if Arnie does not go along with Meyer's belief that hemp out to be grown in America, maybe right next to the apple pie farm.
As Brown points out, this is not the first time a state has passed a bill calling for hemp cultivation to be legal. Each time there were roadblocks, from gubernatorial vetos to DEA paperwork.
If this is front page news in New York, it is THE issue in California these days. For many hemp entrepeneurs there, John Roulac, Mina Hegaard, Larry Serbin and Marie Mills, this means a lot; they could buy hemp grown in America. But not if Arnie says nein, or whatever it is that tough guys say in the movies when they refuse to allow Americans to exercise their rights. Brown makes note of the fact that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. The image above, taken in England in August 2006 by Dru Lawson of The Hemp Trading Co., was a common sight in colonial America, (well, maybe the tractor was not quite a part of the scene); Kentucky became the prime grower through most of the nineteenth century, taking over from the thirteen colonies after industrialisation took root in the north.
If the California hemp bill goes forward, Kentucky and other states may well be producing once again. That means income and jobs for the USA. Unless Arnie does the wrong thing...

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