Peoria, Illinois — I am happy to see the Journal Star publish the article “Colleges may study hemp’s pros”, Saturday, August 26, 2000
At a recent Heart of Illinois Sierra Club meeting, I asked the following question to both District 18 Rep. Ray LaHood and candidate Joyce Harant:
“The State of Illinois has adopted resolution HR553, urging the U.S. Congress to acknowledge the difference between marijuana and industrial hemp, and to clearly authorize the commercial production of industrial hemp. What is your position on HR553?”
Harant answered that she would support it to both boost the rural economy and give farmers an alternative crop. I was dissapointed that LaHood spoke out against industrial hemp, saying it would “send the wrong message.” What message? The wrong message that we should continue to clear-cut forests for paper, rather than have a sustainable fiber source?
Simply put, hemp is a fiber crop. Hemp is planted at approximately 300 plants per square yard and is harvested before it flowers. A field of hemp grown for fiber looks similar to a field of eight-to 15-foot tall hay. The pollen from hemp will reduce the THC content of any marijuana grown in its proximity. Hemp is bad news for marijuana growers.
At four-plus dry tons/acre, hemp is bulky and not economically feasible to transport over a distance of 50 miles. Thus, hemp is not an export crop and is not suseptible to global market fluctuations.
This does pose some risks, however. It offers farmers the opportunity to vertically integrate. Rather than souly be producers, farmers will have the chance to invest in mini-mills, which will manufacture various materials, such as composites for automobiles.
So, there you have it. Now you can make a decision as to what message hemp proponents are sending.
Note: Eric Pollitt is the founder of Peoria based Global Hemp.
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