Washington, DC — Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader joined people who want to grow and market industrial hemp yesterday in criticizing federal agencies for making it difficult for farmers to grow the crop. Nader, of Winsted, Connecticut, also spoke out against a recent raid on a South Dakota Indian reservation in which federal agents seized at least 2,000 plants described as industrial-grade hemp plants by the crop’s owner. Hemp cannot be grown commercially in the United States because it belongs to the same family as marijuana, although Nader pointed out that the levels of hallucinogenic THC are far lower in hemp than in marijuana. “It is analogous to consuming poppy seed bagels or nonalcoholic beer,” he said. Nader said the Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing new rules that would require a product containing any amount of THC to be classified a “Schedule I” controlled substance, the same category as heroin and LSD. Exceptions would be made for industrial hemp products not intended for human consumption, such as paper, clothing, or rope. While American farmers are barred from growing hemp, manufacturers are allowed to import it from other nations that produce hemp products.
Copyright © 2000, The Boston Globe. All rights reserved.