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What about industrial hemp?

Kudos to Illinois State University chapter of SSDP for a very nice Hempfest event today out on the quad (and a beautiful day for it).

While I was out there, one of the students asked me what, if anything, Prop 19 had to say about industrial hemp. “Nothing, really.”

Of course, I suppose that any of the provisions of the act could apply to industrial hemp (you could grow and keep as much of it as you wanted to within a 5’x5′ plot, and you could transport an ounce of it), but that’s fairly meaningless within the context of the kinds of amounts that you’d need to, say, build a hemp home.

It’s an unfortunate fact, but industrial hemp will not be solved through state referendum. Why? It’s too big.

The problem is that, while recreational marijuana state law creates a situation where there’s no possible way for the feds to arrest even a tiny fraction, a hemp farm is too easy a target, since the feds could even come in and seize the land.

The prime example of this is in North Dakota, where the state actually did legalize the growing of industrial hemp and issued licenses to farmers. But no farmers were willing to proceed without permission from the DEA (or at least assurance that they wouldn’t be hassled), so no hemp has been grown.

This train of thought led to another…

For those people who fear that Proposition 19 will lead to marijuana big business, the fact is that federal law pretty much insures that it won’t.

If there’s anyone that the feds can go after once Prop 19 passes, it’s anyone making a big business out of it. That gives the advantage to the small guy — the 25 square foot do-it-yourself grower — the person with an ounce. The ones the feds can’t touch.

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7 comments to What about industrial hemp?

  • bobreaze

    Which means that since MJ can’t become big bussiness people will unfortunatley have to pay higher prices for MJ until the laws change. But they will be lower than the current prices in california. I would gladly make the trade off though if my state were to legalize however i fear that is many many many years off. Guess ill have to move eventually to enjoy a freedom that i hope every californian will be able to enjoy soon.

  • The initiative doesn’t set up a framework or plan for hemp however it does include this at the bottom, allowing for further legislation for hemp industry….

    Pursuant to Article 2, section 10(c) of the California Constitution, this Act may be amended either by a subsequent measure submitted to a vote of the People at a statewide election; or by statute validly passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, but only to further the purposes of the Act. Such permitted amendments include but are not limited to:

    (a) Amendments to the limitations in section 11300, which limitations are minimum thresholds and the Legislature may adopt less restrictive limitations.

    (b) Statutes and authorize regulations to further the purposes of the Act to establish a statewide regulatory system for a commercial cannabis industry that address some or all of the items referenced in Sections 11301 and 11302.

    (c) Laws to authorize the production of hemp or non-active cannabis for horticultural and industrial purposes.

  • […] about industrial hemp? What about industrial hemp? - Drug WarRant October 5th, 2010 by Pete Guither Kudos to Illinois State University chapter of SSDP for a very […]

  • Just me.

    If I lived in cali and pro19 passes, Id grow some industrial hemp to make enough rope for the oppostion to hang them selves with, cause they do and will.

  • denmark

    The entire globe would benefit from open hemp farming. Anyone with half a brain, after a few moments of learning the true facts, would agree.

    Your second to the last paragraph Pete. As I contemplate the differences arising here in Washington state the lawyer heading up the Legalize 2011 in Washington state has a good point.
    He says: “If Washington voters passed a law permitting cannabis as a consumer product, the feds would be inclined to attack it. And if that law also included repeal of criminal penalties, both could fall and the criminal penalties return.

    And that, says Seattle attorney Douglas Hiatt, the head of Sensible Washington, is the reason to do repeal separately. Repeal, by itself, creates nothing to attack. It simply erases. The feds could still attack any regulations, but the repeal would stand.

    Hiatt, who was a history major, discovered that’s how the legalizers of alcohol did it 78 years ago. In November 1932, the people approved Initiative 61, which repealed all the state laws against alcohol. The rules and regulations came later, from the Legislature.

    “It was a two-step process,” Hiatt says. “And it was brilliant. It remains the only tried and true way to repeal prohibition.”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2012896747_bruce15.html

  • undrgrndgirl

    one of the things i wish were in prop 19 was a clear delineation between psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis…i fear that 19 will put the industrial hemp industry out of business in california before it has a chance to start…

  • Windy

    There are growers of cannabis in CA who are utilizing the non-flower parts of the cannabis plant for the same uses for which hemp is grown, and they claim the high grade cannabis they grow produces superior products to hemp. So, it is entirely possible that legalization of cannabis WILL put the industrial hemp industry out of business, due to those superior products. IMO, this will NOT be a bad thing, use of the whole plant instead of throwing away that which is not flower/bud, makes sense.