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December 28, 1995
USDA Issues "White" Paper On Industrial Hemp: Report Concedes That American Hemp Cultivation Isn't Likely Any Time Soon
A recently released USDA "white" paper
indicates that the federal agency is currently exploring the
possibility of domestic hemp cultivation. The report notes
that a number of U.S. states reliant on the revenue raised
through tobacco farming have shown an interest in the possibility
of cultivating hemp as a way to compensate for slumping tobacco
sales. However, the report's conclusions demonstrate that
in spite of worldwide trends and renewed domestic interest in
hemp production, large-scale hemp cultivation will not begin in
the United States any time soon.
According to the report, the USDA insists that, "Production and processing trials [are] needed to establish the economic viability of industrial hemp production [within the United States.]" Nevertheless, the report further notes that neither can be permitted because "legal issues currently preclude [this] research" from taking place. In sum the USDA maintains that they cannot endorse the domestic production of industrial hemp until field tests are conducted while simultaneously noting that the DEA refuses to allow any actual tests to take place.
Moreover, the report states that the DEA remains "opposed to any consideration of hemp as a legitimate fiber or pulp product." The DEA justifies this position, not on the basis of any agricultural or economic evidence, but on "the perception that industrial hemp advocates have a hidden agenda of favoring the legalization of marijuana." The report further notes that current policy dictates "that the White House Drug Enforcement Office should be contact[ed] before USDA staff attend meetings on industrial hemp or get involved with research programs.
"In essence, the federal government is allowing our nation's policy toward an agricultural endeavor be determined -- not by an agricultural agency -- but rather, by an anti-narcotics agency that bases its reasoning upon the preconceived notion that any advocacy of industrial hemp is also an endorsement of the legalization of marijuana," states NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. "For the American farmers and businessmen who could potentially benefit from this growing worldwide industry, the U.S. government's bias is unsupported and truly shameful."
An in depth look at the USDA report will be featured in the forthcoming issue of NORML's Ongoing Briefing. Copies of the 7 page report entitled "Industrial Hemp and other Alternative Crops for small-scale Tobacco Producers," are presently available from NORML.
(Meanwhile) Colorado Senator Set To Introduce Legislation Allowing For Hemp Cultivation In Colorado
A Colorado bill that would allow for the
regulated cultivation of industrial hemp by Colorado farmers is
expected to be submitted to the state legislature in 1996.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Lloyd Casey (D-Northglenn),
permits the planting of no more than forty acres of industrial
hemp in Colorado for agricultural, commercial, and scientific
A similar bill was introduced by Sen. Casey in 1995 but was defeated. (A complete story of the hearings surrounding Casey's previous hemp bill appeared in the Spring 1995 issue of NORML's Active Resistance.)
For more information on Colorado's efforts to legalize hemp cultivation, please contact the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project @ (303) 784-5632 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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