Pubdate: Fri, 28 May 2004
Source: Herald-Dispatch, The (WV)
Copyright: 2004 The Herald-Dispatch
Author: Winnie Fox
Bookmark: (Hemp)


In 1750, hemp was the largest industrial crop in the world. Up until 1883,
between 75 to 90 percent of all paper in the world was made of hemp.

In 1937, growing hemp was made illegal in the United States. Why can we
import $300 million worth of hemp products per year from Canada and China,
but can't grow it here?

The West Virginia Legislature passed an industrial hemp bill in 2002, and
the governor signed it.

The last I heard of it, the Department of Agriculture was working on a plan
to grow it experimentally, under strict controls, working with the Drug
Enforcement Agency. Involving the DEA is absurd because unlike its cousin,
marijuana, one thing industrial hemp cannot do is produce a narcotic effect
when smoked.

Surely someone in the Legislature with some guts and brains can resurrect
this bill, attach some funding, send someone to Canada to find out how to do
it and start a whole new, environmentally friendly industry.

Is our Legislature asleep, dead or held hostage by existing industries?
Let's keep an eye on this. I'd like to know, wouldn't you?

Winnie Fox 

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