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“Hemp seeds” actor cleared

Posted on August 26, 2000

Woody Harrelson, the actor, has been cleared of marijuana possession after his symbolic planting of four hemp seeds in a Kentucky field.

The Natural Born Killers star planted the seeds in 1996 knowing that he would be arrested so that he could get the state to differentiate between hemp and marijuana.

The jury in Beattyville, Kentucky, took 25 minutes to find Harrelson not guilty on charges that could have landed him in jail for a year.

“When they said not guilty, I actually cried a bit because I really wasn’t expecting it. I was afraid. There was a real possibility of going to jail.”

Harrelson said renewed cultivation of hemp would help to save trees now consumed in paper production.

He said after the verdict: “Regardless of what the Supreme Court says, those people don’t think it’s right that someone should go to jail for growing industrial hemp.”

The Kentucky Supreme Court rejected Harrelson’s argument that the law should make a distinction between marijuana and hemp, which contains only minute amounts of the substance that makes marijuana smokers high.

In the 19th century, hemp was one of Kentucky’s leading crops, used for making rope and sails, before it was wiped out by anti-drug laws and the availability of other fibres.

Copyright © 2000, Times Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.