Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2001
Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)
Copyright: 2001 The Press Democrat
Contact:  Letters Editor, P. O. Box 569, Santa Rosa CA 95402
Fax: (707) 521-5305
Author: Mari Kane


EDITOR: I applaud Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin's introduction of AB 
848 to regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp. As a longtime member of 
the hemp industry, I feel lucky that my district is home to this 
progressive, courageous leader.

Your coverage of the bill's introduction by Ucilia Wang ("Hemp bill would 
legalize growing," Feb. 14) brought up many invalid points. The quote by 
Bill Campbell's press spokesman saying hemp legislation "was seen as a 
microstep toward eventually legalizing marijuana," sounds quite retro in 
light of the fact that Proposition 215 already made a giant leap toward the 
dreaded "legalization," over four years ago. The irony was not lost on me 
that in the same week the hemp bill was introduced, the state released $3 
million to fund medical marijuana clinical studies. How can any 
self-respecting member of the Legislature oppose the cultivation of 
industrial hemp on the grounds that it could lead to marijuana legalization 
at a time when California is leading the country in medical marijuana progress?

I challenge California's legislators to educate themselves on the actual 
science of hemp before passing judgment on this versatile crop. I also call 
on California hemp companies who now use imported hemp seed -- Nutiva, 
HempNut, Spectrum Naturals and Alterna -- to throw the weight of their 
support behind this bill.

Finally, I request that The Press Democrat devote more column space to 
in-depth reports on how industrial hemp works as an oil-seed producer, a 
phytoremediator and pest repellant and as a rotation crop. In the 21st 
century we should be using science and reason -- not fear and loathing -- 
to judge hemp's benefits.

Mari Kane, Hemp Industries Association, Forestville
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D