Pubdate: Wed, 08 Oct 2003
Source: Honolulu Weekly (HI)
Contact:  2003 Honolulu Weekly Inc
Author: Chad Blair
Bookmark: (Hemp)


America's only legal experiment in growing hemp died Sept. 30. The U.S. Drug
Enforcement Agency killed the 4-year-old project through delays in granting a
permit to geneticist David West.

The DEA thinks hemp will get you high. It won't -- but you can use it to make
food, clothes and buildings.

West and DEA agents ground up all the hemp seeds at the quarter-acre plot in
Wahiawa. He told the Weekly, "I'm a little numb, but I'm at least relieved to
have this albatross off my neck." West continued: "We have a
drug-war-industrial complex in this country. It will go on forever, because
they just keep the medicine show rolling -- now it's meth amphetamine. It's all
about job security for police and prisons."

Republican Rep. Cynthia Thielen, a major supporter of the project, said, "This
is a terribly sad loss of economic opportunity for the state. Industrial hemp
is a value-added crop. And it was legal in the U.S. until the 1940s!"

West's success in growing hemp in these latitudes apparently upset authorities.
He pointed to a break-in at the facility two years ago: "I won't speculate who
it was, but it was very professional. They were there specifically for seeds,
and they didn't miss any."

Meanwhile, the Hemp Industries Association is predicting victory in a battle to
prevent the DEA from banning hemp foods. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
is expected to rule within six months.

Canada, China and much of Europe permit harvesting of hemp. The plant's users
have included Washington, Jefferson, Siddhartha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Rembrandt,
Van Gogh, Pliny the Elder and Ralph Nader.
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