Pubdate: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2001 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Section: Metro
Author: Kevin McDermott


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A plan to study hemp as a possible agricultural crop 
hit another snag Tuesday as proponents struggled to overturn a 
gubernatorial veto.

The House debated, then postponed, a measure to authorize the University of 
Illinois to study legalizing hemp production for use in clothing and other 
materials. The bill passed this year, but Gov. George Ryan vetoed it.

In floor debate, supporters talked about the potential economic benefits. 
But the sponsor, Rep. Ron Lawfer, R-Stockton, shelved his veto challenge 
before it was voted on.

Lawfer needs 71 votes to overturn the veto. "He wasn't sure he had the 
votes," said Sen. Evelyn Bowles, D-Edwardsville. She has helped Lawfer push 
the hemp-study idea through two passages in the past two years.

Bowles said she would lobby House members this week, talking to "as many of 
them as I can," in preparation for a House override vote. It also would 
have to pass in the Senate.

Backers say the hemp study could lead to a major new crop for Illinois 
farmers. Opponents say hemp is too closely identified with its biological 
cousin, marijuana, and shouldn't be promoted by the state.

The Legislature met Tuesday for the first time since the terrorist attacks 
of Sept. 11. People entering the Capitol were subjected to bag-searches and 
metal detectors. The House, long known for its raucous, open style, was 
muted by new rules restricting floor access by staff members, lobbyists and 

One journalist was expelled from the House chamber after she left her seat 
to use the bathroom and tried to return. Other reporters complained to 
House Speaker Michael Madigan about lack of access to lawmakers. Madigan 
said security issues overrode those concerns.

The hemp bill is HB 3377.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart