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Hemp supporter says crop is far removed from marijuana

Posted on May 18, 2000

By Ray Hollmann, Quincy Herald-Whig

In response to:
Hemp and marijuana are one and the same illegal thing, Thursday, May 4, 2000

To The Herald-Whig:
Quincy, Illinois — In response to Mr. (Leo) Mueller’s letter of May 4 on hemp and marijuana, I was amazed that he touted himself as an expert on hemp.

In 1997, when I held a hemp informational meeting in Saint Clair County for legislators and Farm Bureau members, my speaker Jeff Gain, formerly with the Illinois Corn Growers and National Soybean Association, now with the United States Department of Agriculture, said there are no hemp experts since we have not grown it for 50 years.

Evidently, Mr. Mueller’s expertise is forensic science (read law enforcement), which might explain his being so adamant about hemp and marijuana being the same thing. For you see, when hemp is legalized, law enforcement agencies which now are being reimbursed the same for destroying ditch weed as marijuana, will lose over 99 percent of their federal income from the cannabis eradication program.

According to a 1993 DEA report, law enforcement agencies destroyed over 350 million cannabis sativa plants in Illinois that year, but only some 240,000, or one plant in every 128 was actually marijuana. The rest, 349, 260,000, were ditch weed left over from when we grew it for the war effort in the early 1940s.

At the first meeting of the Illinois Hemp Task Force formed by the Illinois Legislature, a representative of that state law enforcement agency that has been accepting federal tax dollars for destroying a non-drug plant had the brass to accuse us hemp advocates of having a hidden agenda.

Let’s cut to the chase. We hemp advocates want a viable farm crop besides corn and beans, and the law enforcement people want to keep their cash cow. Who really does have a hidden agenda?

Ray Hollmann
Fairview Heights, Illinois

(Editor’s Note: Hollmann indicates he has a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in literature, a specialist degree in education, is a member of the Illinois Hemp Task Force and is director emeritus of the Saint Clair County Soil and Water District.)

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