Wednesday, September 26, 2007


In the land of the free it used to be a crime not to grow hemp. If that law is still on the books, then there's going to be some very overcrowded prisons. Hands up!

But before anyone lays down the law, we have to know what it is, and that is a bit of a grey area for many. Technically, for instance, North Dakotans can grow hemp, as Sarah Terry-Cobo points out in her article of 24 September in the Inside Bay Area e-newsletter. However, farmers there are suing the federal government to be able to exercise this right.

The subject of her piece is CaliforniaBill AB 684 which has passed in the state senate, but awaits ratification or veto by an Austrian governor. As this governor has already vetoed one such bill, it is not expected that he will sign this new one.

In another western state, similar debate rages. Terry Smith of the Idaho Mountain Express notes of a bill which goes for referendum in Hailey, Idaho on 6 November. This initiative is in with others related to marijuana, which Smith completey mixes up in his article by saying that hemp is a "marijuana byproduct."

Again, the press gets this issue so wrong, there ought to be a law against sloppy journalism. Hemp was once the world's most traded commodity, and it was grown by the US government. It was no byproduct, and marijuana had nothing to do with it. It was actually misinformed journalists employed by Hearst who made 'marijuana' a well known word, after mixing it up with hemp and destroying a livelihood for Americans. Let's hope that today's journalists can do better, and that the Austrian will not yet again veto what is America's heritage.

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