Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jun 2007
Source: News-Times (Forest Grove, OR)
Copyright: 2007 Pamplin Media Group
Author: Allan Erickson
Bookmark: (Hemp)
Bookmark: (Environmental Issues)


The resolving of the issue of hemp bags at Forest Grove High School 
("Over The Hemp," News-Times, May 30, 2007). could have been a 
contentious and loud community dispute, but in the end displayed 
Oregon at its best.

The principal of Forest Grove High School, John O'Neill, behaved 
cautiously and intelligently. He gave the students the ultimate 
challenge of education: "prove it." And the students, to their credit, did.

In Oregon we are experienced with cannabis. About 10 years ago Bill 
Conde "proved it" by producing hemp MDF (medium-density fiberboard) 
boards at the Washington State University wood products laboratory.

The boards produced by Conde and his supporters tested two to three 
times stronger in nearly every category of strength and elasticity 
than the same boards made from tree fiber.

A sustainable crop requiring little assistance from pesticides and 
herbicides, hemp produces three to four times the fiber per acre than 
our forests.

State Sen. Floyd Prozanski has rightly persisted in introducing an 
industrial hemp bill for years, but he has largely been ignored. By 
encouraging production of hemp in Oregon our state could produce a 
fiber for our state's growing composite lumber products industry.

If 15,000 Oregonians can benefit from cannabis as medicine, how many 
jobs could be produced by allowing hemp to be grown here?

Perhaps by listening to the students of Forest Grove High School who 
"proved it;" perhaps by listening to and supporting Sen. Prozanski's 
common sense legislation; perhaps by realizing Bill Conde "proved 
it;" perhaps by utilizing our forests specifically for lumber, again, 
we can save our ancient forests and increase their continuity while 
harvesting older trees producing higher quality lumber; and perhaps, 
we can protect and restore some of our troubled salmon and trout habitats.

Forest Grove residents are lucky to have such fine citizens as the 
children and adults of Forest Grove High School.

Allan Erickson lives in Eugene