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Schwarzenegger Vetoes Calif. Hemp Bill

Join Together  October 4, 2006

A bill that would have legalized cultivation of hemp in California was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported Oct. 3.

"Unfortunately, I am very concerned that this bill would give legitimate growers a false sense of security and a belief that production of industrial hemp is somehow a legal activity under federal law," said Schwarzenegger. Hemp, a cousin of marijuana, is considered a controlled substance under federal law.

Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who sponsored the hemp bill, blasted the veto. "It's just another example of myth and politics trumping science and sound public policy," Leno said. "But we're not through yet. We're not going to give up. I'll probably try to introduce it again ... in January."

Leno dismissed concerns that law-enforcement officers would have problems distinguishing between hemp and marijuana. "Marijuana grows 6 feet tall. Hemp grows as high as 16 feet," said Leno. "People plant marijuana 4 feet apart. Hemp is planted inches from one another. I don't know what was so difficult. They're two entirely different plants we're talking about here."

Currently, only North Dakota allows hemp to be grown commercially.