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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
NH considers leaglizing hemp
    #4037209 - 04/10/05 03:10 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

New Hampshire considers leaglizing hemp
April 10, 2005
fosters.com

Depending on who you ask, legalizing industrial hemp will either capitalize on an uncharted market or will make it easier to put drugs in the hands of children.

Ossipee Police Chief Richard Morgan expects the worst.

"Legalization of hemp is really a backdoor attempt to legalize marijuana. You're going to increase the supply, which will lower the prices. That will give kids more access to it. It's ridiculous." said Morgan.

The debate gained momentum late last month, when the New Hampshire House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp.

The bill was approved by a 199-168 vote and forwarded to the Senate. A hearing is to be held by the Senate Environment and Wildlife Committee on April 19.

Hemp is known for its strong fiber and can be used to make clothing, rope, body care products and paper. The Declaration of Independence, as advocates like to point out, was drafted on hemp paper.

Supporters have argued that hemp has been unfairly characterized as marijuana when it is in fact a harmless material - some characterize trying to get high on hemp like trying to get drunk on nonalcoholic beer.

Others, such as Morgan, fear industrial hemp legalization would 'hamstring' the ability of law enforcement officials to control marijuana production.

"A person could drive through town with a bunch of green, leafy plants in the back, and as long as they have a permit, I couldn't even establish probable cause to question them," said Morgan.

Both marijuana and hemp are scientifically categorized as cannabis sativa, and are considered close relatives. The main difference is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in both. THC is the mind-altering ingredient in marijuana.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana has an average THC count of 3 percent. Industrial hemp contains a THC concentration of 0.3 percent or less.

In drafting the bill, state legislators argued industrial hemp "can serve to improve the states economy and agricultural viability and that the production of industrial hemp can be regulated so as not to interfere with the strict regulation of controlled substances."

Farmers would have to obtain a license from the state's commissioner of agriculture to grow or process hemp. The state would be the sole supplier of hemp seeds to farmers.

The hemp could only be grown with approval from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which some critics have said would render the state's new law useless.

J. Lisbeth Olimpio, one of the four state representatives who sponsored the bill, said the new law actually makes it more likely the DEA would approve an application to grow hemp.

"It doesn't guarantee it, it just opens the door," said Olimpio, who represents Wakefield, Brookfield and Effingham in Carroll County.

A number of other safeguards were also added.

For example, farmers would be required to destroy any byproducts of hemp growth, including flowers and leaves, and would be strictly prohibited from selling them.

Licenses could be denied or revoked if the seller has any controlled drug-related criminal offenses within the past 10 years or if deemed a threat to public safety.

Representatives of the commissioner's office would have the right to test hemp samples to ensure the levels of THC are within legal limits.

Supporters have also spoken of the bill's economic benefits.

The state would establish a special revenue fund under the new law meant to help offset the cost of implementing the program.

Growers would have to pay a $25 license application fee, renewable after 24 months. There would be an additional annual charge each growing season equal to $5 an acre of land under cultivation, with a minimum fee of $100, plus an amount sufficient to cover crop sample testing.

Persuading the doubters

Swaying the skeptics will probably have to wait, should the bill become law, until people can actually see the benefits of hemp, say supporters.

"The people fixed on the idea that marijuana is hemp, I'm not going to change their mind," said Olimpio.

The District 5 representative supports hemp use because it can be used to build products like roof shingles, clothing, and ropes.

A 12,000-year history of growth illustrates that hemp has a proven track record, she said.

"It grows wildly all over and nobody is picking it. Why can't farmers sell this product?" said Olimpio.

Olimpio feels it's unfair to compare marijuana to hemp because people would not be using hemp for illegal purposes, noting that many stores across the state already sell goods made from hemp.

One of those stores, Herbal Path in Dover, has a selection of goods made strictly from hemp.

For the nutrition guru, Herbal Path offers hemp fiber for its high levels of complex protein and low carbohydrates.

There's also an array of handbags, briefcases, camera bags and notebook covers, all made from hemp.

Most of the products are shipped to the store from Canada, but the new law could make the items more accessible locally.

Cindy Hebbard, a herbalist and health educator at Herbal Path, said the staff tries to educate people on the differences between hemp and marijuana.

Hemp is a durable material that can be used to make any number of goods, said Hebbard. She has strong feelings towards those who are concerned marijuana could become legal next.

"This is a completely different plant. It does not produce THC. I think that's a ridiculous fear," said Hebbard. "Anyone who says something about this being the next step (to marijuana legalization) has no idea really what this whole thing is about."

Shoppers are sometimes confused themselves about the differences between marijuana and hemp, but questions come more in the form of curiosity and an open-mindedness to try new things.

The staff at Herbal Path tries to educated shoppers on the health benefits of hemp in food forms like fiber and hemp seed oil, and its durability in handmade products.

In her personal opinion, Hebbard feels legally growing hemp would greatly benefit the state's farming industry.

"Canada has a thriving hemp industry. Our farms are turning into condos and housing developments at pretty alarming rates. I think its a great way to save a number of family farms," said Hebbard.

The closest the Legislature has come was the passage of a bill in 2003 that allowed the Maine Agriculture Experiment Station at the University of Maine to explore the feasibility of hemp growth.

The study included analysis of required soils and growing conditions, seed availability and varieties, and environmental benefits, among others. No further hemp legislation has since been proposed.

No matter what studies take place, Morgan, the Ossipee police chief, strongly believes the similarities between the two are too time-consuming and costly to distinguish.

The chief said it was his understanding that, short of laboratory testing, it's impossible for law enforcement officials to differentiate between marijuana and hemp.

If the bill were to pass the Senate, Morgan said he would expect the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police to lobby the governor for a veto if the lobbying hasn't started already.

"In a perfect world, a legitimate farmer would just grow hemp. This is not a perfect world," said Morgan.


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Invisibledr_gonz
Registered: 08/18/03
Posts: 44,645
Re: NH considers leaglizing hemp [Re: veggie]
    #4038115 - 04/10/05 08:00 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

Both marijuana and hemp are scientifically categorized as cannabis sativa, and are considered close relatives. The main difference is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in both.




hmmmm.... you could smoke a doob of hemp the size of a telephone pole and all it's gonna do is give you a headache! I'd call that a BIG difference.

Quote:

"It grows wildly all over and nobody is picking it. Why can't farmers sell this product?" said Olimpio.




I loved when Bill Hicks would hammer on these topics!


Edited by drgonz (04/10/05 08:34 PM)


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InvisibleYarry
Old Timer
 User Gallery

Registered: 01/05/04
Posts: 23,740
Re: NH considers leaglizing hemp [Re: veggie]
    #4038157 - 04/10/05 08:13 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

i dont see how legalizing hemp as a textile makes getting weed easier


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InvisibleDNKYD
Turtle!

Registered: 09/24/04
Posts: 12,326
Re: NH considers leaglizing hemp [Re: veggie]
    #4038199 - 04/10/05 08:26 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

Quote:

"In a perfect world, a legitimate farmer would just grow hemp. This is not a perfect world," said Morgan.




Whatever happened to trusting people?


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InvisibleSuperD
Cacti junky
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Registered: 10/05/03
Posts: 6,648
Loc: The bridgesii bridge
Re: NH considers leaglizing hemp [Re: DNKYD]
    #4038699 - 04/10/05 10:44 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

"No matter what studies take place, Morgan, the Ossipee police chief, strongly believes the similarities between the two are too time-consuming and costly to distinguish."

The solution is quite simple. Legalize both. Put law enforcement resources where they need to be: violence, rapes, terrorism, robberies etc.


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:super:D
Manoa said:
I need to stop spending all my money on plants and take up a cheaper hobby, like heroin. :lol:

Looking for Rauhocereus riosaniensis seeds or live specimen(s), :pm: me if you have any for trade


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InvisibleMasonsChild
Fellow Traveler>^..^<

Registered: 03/18/05
Posts: 657
Loc: Upper Midwest
Re: NH considers leaglizing hemp [Re: SuperD]
    #4040872 - 04/11/05 01:44 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

I am for keeping hemp illegal so it doesn't seed all the good stuff out.


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Truckin' ain't for Sally's


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OfflineSeussA
Error: divide byzero

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Registered: 04/27/01
Posts: 23,480
Loc: Caribbean
Last seen: 1 month, 15 days
Re: NH considers leaglizing hemp [Re: MasonsChild]
    #4041356 - 04/11/05 04:17 PM (11 years, 10 months ago)

> Whatever happened to trusting people?

Well... I can make $5,000 from a field of hemp or $500,000 from a field of kind... economics has a lot to do with trust, unfortunately.

> the similarities between the two are too time-consuming and costly to distinguish

This is the main problem... the cops cannot, with a simple visual look-see, tell if somebody has a nice field of hemp, or a nice field of kind. Rather that worry about telling the difference, lets just outlaw everything. Kind of like making it illegal for everybody to drive because we can't tell the difference between regular drives and bank robbers.

> I am for keeping hemp illegal so it doesn't seed all the good stuff out

I remember readin a story a while back about a guy that would go around apartment buildings and the like (as a service for hire) spraying hemp pollen with the idea of 'seeding out the good stuff' making it an unfavorable location for people to grow indoors. General grow community concensus was... filters... of course, once growing becomes legal, this could become a hurdle, but selective breeding would eventually win out.


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Just another spore in the wind.


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