Bill Would Allow Hemp Farming in Calif.
Press, August 17, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. --
California farmers could legally grow industrial
hemp under a bill approved by the state Senate
that distinguishes it from a widely grown distant
Hemp "bears no more
resemblance to marijuana than a poodle bears to a
wolf," said Sen. Tom McClintock, a Republican.
"You would die from smoke inhalation before you
would get high."
He said industrial
hemp was improperly lumped into the ban on marijuana
in 1937 after it had been grown commercially for
decades by American farmers, including George
Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
which passed 26-13 and now goes back to the
Assembly, would require that the hemp crop be tested
before harvesting to make sure it has only a trace
amount of tetrahydrocannabinols, or THC, the drug in
No matter the
concentration of THC, hemp currently can't be
legally grown in the United States without a
difficult-to-get permit from the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration. The bill attempts to
avoid federal restrictions by requiring farmers to
sell the hemp only to California processors to avoid
any interstate commerce that could bring federal
The crop can be used
in a variety of products, including clothing,
cosmetics, food, paper, rope, jewelry, luggage,
sports equipment and toys. As food, supporters say
it is high in essential fatty acids, protein, B
vitamins and fiber.
The Office of
National Drug Control Policy has opposed legalizing
hemp cultivation, saying hemp crops could be used to
hide marijuana cultivation by mixing the two plants
in the field.
The Senate debate
produced a bumper crop of California stereotype
jokes, several aimed at McClintock, an outspoken
conservative who carried the bill in the Senate for
it author, liberal Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno
of San Francisco.
"There must be some
mistake," Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, a
Democrat, told McClintock, the Republican nominee
for lieutenant governor. "You'll get a parade in San