HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Advocate Proposes Hemp Co-Op
Pubdate: Fri, 24 Sep 2004
Source: Red Deer Advocate (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004 Red Deer Advocate
Author: Harley Richards
Bookmark: (Hemp)
Bookmark: (Hemp - Outside U.S.)
Bookmark: (Canadian Marijuana Party)


Max Cornelssen is a hemp advocate who has been pushing for a hemp
growers co-op in the Stettler area.

Agricultural producers are accustomed to losing crops to insects and
bad weather.

Max Cornelssen's 2004 harvest was derailed by the police.

The Sherwood Park-area man has been pushing for the establishment of a
hemp growers co-op in the Stettler region.

Originally from the town, he's been recruiting local farmers and hopes
to establish a "biomass conversion facility" where methanol, fabric
and fertilizer could be produced from the fast-growing plant.

A big hurdle has been the fact hemp can only be legally grown under
licence from Health Canada, using approved varieties with low
tetrahydrocannabinol or THC levels.

Cornelssen has argued these restrictions are unfair and that THC - the
psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana - is necessary for the
plants to resist insects.

He's been distributing unapproved seed to prospective growers and was
cultivating his own industrial hemp on a 450-square-foot plot near
Sherwood Park.

The goal was to produce enough seed to plant about 30 acres of hemp
around Stettler this fall.

But on Aug. 31, Strathcona County RCMP swooped down onto Cornelssen's

He said he was hauled away in handcuffs, and charged with production
of cannabis marijuana and possession of a controlled substance for the
purpose of trafficking.

His property was searched and his hemp crop removed.

Cornelssen is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 6, but remains

He plans to contest the charges on the basis he had no guilty intent -
pointing out he's been publicizing his hemp-growing activities as part
of his efforts to establish the co-op.

Cornelssen also wants to forge ahead with the Stettler co-op, although
he now has to count on others for seed.

"I've lost what I've produced. I'm hoping there are others out there
that have a similar amount."

He does have sufficient seed for about five acres, and would like to
see 15 to 20 acres planted in Central Alberta this fall.

A member of the Stettler detachment of the RCMP said last month anyone
caught growing hemp in contravention of the Controlled Drugs and
Substances Act could face criminal prosecution.

Cornelssen, who ran for the Marijuana Party in the Crowfoot riding
during this year's federal election, was convicted in 1996 of
cultivating and possessing marijuana. He was sentenced to community
service work.
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