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Illinois Drug Education Alliance Letter

Posted on February 10, 2000

Dear Representative Tenhouse,
The Illinois Drug Education Alliance (IDEA) is extremely concerned about the Hemp bill, HR553. IDEA’s only mission is drug-free children, and the Hemp bill has serious implications for increasing drug use. As you study this issue you should know that:

  • There is no measurable market for hemp. “Given the average size of farms in the United States (469), two farms could have supplied the hemp fiber equivalent of the 1997 import levels.” (United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service report “The Status and Potential of Industrial Hemp in the United States”)
  • “Short of chemical analysis, there is no way to discriminate between marijuana producing plants and hemp-producing plants.” (Office of National Drug Control Policy, “ONDCP Statement on Industrial Hemp,” July 1997)
  • Currently, drug use is higher among youth in rural America than in large urban areas. A field of hemp could provide easy assess to one more drug, compounding an already existing problem for Illinois rural communities. (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, “CASA White Paper No Place to Hide: Rural 8th Graders Using Drugs, Smoking, Drinking at Higher Rates…”)
  • One of the reasons that the DEA opposes industrial hemp production is the belief that hemp advocates have a hidden agenda of favoring the legalization of marijuana. Read what the pro drug people have said in High Times magazine.
    • “The way to legalize marijuana is to sell marijuana legally. When you can buy it at your neighborhood shopping mall, IT’S LEGAL!” (Hemp activists Matthew Cheng and Alex Shum, in High Times, 3/90)
    • “Don’t forget that the joints you smoke and the fiber you make into clothes are the same plant.” (Hemp guru Jack Herer, in High Times, 4/95)
    • “H.E.M.P. organization stands for Help Eliminate Marijuana Prohibition.” (High Times, 4/95)
    • “When people buy and see hemp it stimulates public awareness, mainstreaming the evil weed into a normal commodity whose days of illegality are numbered.” (High Times, 8/97)

Founded in 1982, IDEA is a statewide, grassroots network of over 4,000 adults and youth working in drug prevention. IDEA sponsors the state Red Ribbon and Alcohol Awareness campaigns, the IDEA Conference (Over 1,900 attended in ’99.), newsletters and a youth board I representing the entire state of Illinois, from the rural southeast to the Chicago housing projects.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at 630-420-1766.

Respectfully,
Joyce Lohrentz, President

The solution to any problem begins with an IDEA.

Copyright © 2000, Illinois Drug Education Alliance. All rights reserved.