Pubdate: Fri, 3-9 Feb 1999
Source: Boulder Planet (CO)
Copyright: Boulder Planet, LLC 1999
Author: Laura Kriho



It was fitting for Don Ament's friends in the legislature to jokingly
adorn him with a noose during his confirmation hearing as Colorado's
new Commissioner of Agriculture.

Historically, hangmen's nooses were made of hemp. In fact,
turn-of-the-century dictionaries showed the terms 93hemp94 and
93noose94 were synonymous, as in 93he deserves the hemp.94

I'll bet Commissioner Ament regretted the fact that his noose was not
made out of Colorado hemp. When Don Ament served in the Senate in
1996, he voted in favor of a bill (SB 96-67) that would have allowed
Colorado farmers to cultivate industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive
variety of Cannabis sativa. Hemp has been used by humans for over
10,000 years. Hemp can be used to make over 25,000 different products,
including paper, plastic, cloth, particle board, fuel and rope. Hemp
cultivation requires no herbicides or pesticides. Hemp would provide a
profitable crop for struggling Colorado farmers and create new rural
industries to process and manufacture this value-added crop.

Allowing hemp cultivation would also make Colorado farmers competitive
with Canadian farmers, who this year harvested their first commercial
crop of industrial hemp. Canadians are now producing a large variety
of hemp products, which will be marketed in the United States.
However, this market remains banned to U.S. farmers, because U.S. law
enforcement have stated that they would not be able to tell the
difference between industrial hemp and psychoactive cannabis, even
though their counterparts in Canada, Europe, and China have no
problems doing that.

Law enforcement also opposes hemp because it would send the 93wrong
message94 to young people. What really sends the wrong message is the
arbitrary outlawing of a legitimate and profitable farm crop that is
accepted in most of the civilized world. It sends the 93wrong
message94 to lie to young people that the hemp paper on which the
U.S. Constitution was printed and the cannabis they can buy on the
streets are both fundamentally equal and both fundamentally evil.

In 1996, Senator Ament wisely saw hemp as a promising new crop for
farmers. In 1999, Commissioner Ament is in the powerful position to
make this crop available to Colorado farmers. We should all encourage
Commissioner Ament and Governor Owens to bring back hemp to Colorado
and make our farmers competitive in the global hemp industry. For more
information, call: 303-448-5640.

Laura Kriho
Colorado Hemp Initiative Project
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