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The Vote Hemp Weekly News Update Volume I, Number 2
April 11, 2006

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the second issue of The Vote Hemp Weekly News Update! You did not miss last week's issue as there wasn't one. The Weekly News Update only comes out in weeks that have enough hemp news. We're not going to just make stuff up, though an author of one of this week's stories has done just that.

People often ask the question "Why Hemp?" The answer is that hemp is part of the solution to some of the problems in the world. David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and NAIHC Director James Woolsey both mention hemp in this light in two of our stories this week.

Our second story is an editorial by The Minnesota Daily that quite simply states that "Hemp is not the same as marijuana and should be legalized." This is the same university where George Weiblen and Shannon Datwyler did the work for their study Genetic variation in hemp and marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) according to amplified fragment length polymorphisms..

The third story is about a start-up that uses hemp in the creation of their products. Hemp won't be a small, niche market forever, but this company shows that is does play the part well now and can help people fulfill their dreams.

Then there are people like former ONDCP counsel Michael C. Barnes and his cronies who think nothing of bashing our industry with a hatchet piece like Don't get sucked in by hemp-laced foods. Vote Hemp submitted a rebuttal op-ed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which is also below. We'll see this week if it gets published or not.

Please consider making a contribution to Vote Hemp. Thanks again for your support.

Weekly Hemp News Stories
  • The Once and Future Carbohydrate Economy
  • Hemp tied down by stupid laws
  • Valley couple launches personalized banner business
  • James Woolsey, hemp advocate
  • Health Food Without Harm

  • Hemp tied down by stupid laws

    Editorial
    The Minnesota Daily
    April 10, 2006

    Hemp was the plant of choice for the founding fathers of our nation. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson often praised the plant in their writings and tried to persuade others to grow it as a cash crop. Nonetheless since the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, this has not been a possibility for citizens of the United States. A new University study, however, could pave the way to change that.

    The study, conducted by University researchers George Weiblen and Shannon Datwyler, identified a new and more accurate way to differentiate cannabis drug plants from nondrug plants. The method, called amplified fragment length polymorphism, generates about 100 more genetic markers per unit effort than other research techniques. This genetic "fingerprinting" of cannabis is an important first step to legalizing the growth of hemp in the United States because differentiating cannabis was not as clear in the past.


    Valley couple launches personalized banner business

    By Judy Waggoner
    Appleton Post-Crescent
    April 9, 2006

    Rarely does a family vacation translate into a business start-up, but it did for entrepreneurs Marty and Nancy Rezmer of Appleton.

    After the couple and their two children Gracelyn, 8, and Andy, 11 returned from a trip to California in 2004, they identified a market need and began to create a product to fill it.

    "Every time we go to a (national) park, the kids go through the Junior Ranger program and earn badges and pins," said Marty, 57.


    James Woolsey, hemp advocate

    By Kurt Cobb
    Resource Insights
    April 3, 2006

    Industrial hemp has an unlikely new champion: former CIA director James Woolsey. Woolsey sees a link between the need to end America's oil addiction and hemp's potential as a source of renewable energy. He said so when he visited my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan last weekend as part the 2006 Powershift National Tour. According to its website the tour is "a public education effort designed to engage decision-makers, youth, farmers, media and the general public on energy security."

    During a question and answer session one audience member broached the subject of hemp. Embarrassed conference organizers tried to move on to another question, but Woolsey insisted on responding. To their surprise he offered a lengthy disquisition on the merits of cellulosic ethanol as an alternative fuel, the myths about industrial hemp and the potential advantages to American farmers. And, he announced that he is a board member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council.


    Health Food Without Harm

    By Tom Murphy

    Hemp seed foods found on health food store shelves are rich in well-balanced protein, magnesium and vitamin E. Most importantly hemp seed is one of the few significant sources of "omega-3's" the "good fats." Hemp seed foods are thus enjoying phenomenal growth, fueled by health-conscious Americans.

    Yet if you were to believe former Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) employee Michael C. Barnes' hatchet piece "Don't get sucked in by hemp-laced foods" in the April 4 Atlanta Journal-Constitution, you would think that everyone, from chefs to dieticians, who says hemp is a marvelous healthy food is actually trying to sell you marijuana.

    Mr. Barnes advances various dishonest reasons why hemp foods should be banned. The notion that trace insignificant levels of THC in hemp seed build up in the body to cause health effects is not supported by a single study, while there is extensive evidence that hemp seed has no harmful health effects. He then cites older articles in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology as evidence that hemp foods interfere with drug tests, but ignores the two most recent reports published by the same journal showing no interference with drug tests at current industry THC standards. Barnes fails to mention that Canadian and European governments control trace THC residues in hemp seed under straightforward regulations, and US hemp companies have adopted even more stringent standards under the TestPledge program (www.TestPledge.com) to prevent drug test interference even at unrealistic daily consumption levels.

    Barnes urges the FDA to crack down on hemp companies on the theory that "hemp food companies are in direct violation of FDA rules." FDA is correctly interpreting the rules on hemp foods, which have never been illegal in the US. "Industrial hemp" refers to non-psychoactive varieties of cannabis bred for millennia for fiber and seed that have no drug effect whatsoever.

    Completing Mr. Barnes' string of deception is that hemp foods are part of a slippery slope to weaken the nation's drug laws. In fact, hemp seed products are responsibly marketed solely for their health and nutritional benefits, and purposely avoid making irrelevant and distracting references to marijuana use. Clearly differentiating industrial hemp from marijuana has helped grow hemp food sales in North America by 50% per year since 2003. By Barnes' logic, poppy seeds should also be banned from use in foods. Although poppy seeds come from a non-narcotic variety of the opium poppy and contain insignificant levels of opiates, children may be encouraged to smoke opium.

    Mr. Barnes is part of a cabal of government lawyers at the ONDCP and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who lost a long useless court battle over nutritious hemp foods in 2004. These radicals are stirring local governments across America, conflating legal and healthy hemp seed foods with the very different and unlawful flavorings and marketing tactics of marijuana-flavored candy makers. These lollipops are flavored with fragrance oil distilled from hemp flowers, which do not have any drug potential but are nonetheless already unlawful under federal law.

    When the Georgia General Assembly set out to stop the marketing and sale of "marijuana-flavored" candies the hemp industry sought changes to the original version of SB 511 because of potential damage to the legitimate hemp food products. We presented written testimony to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs urging them to ensure hemp seed foods would not be confused with the "marijuana-flavored" candies. The Committee responsibly adopted clarifying language in this regard. Mr. Barnes should follow the good example of the Georgia legislature and stop trying to ban cereal, waffles, and other healthy hemp foods.

    Tom Murphy is the National Outreach Coordinator for VoteHemp.com which seeks to restore industrial hemp farming in the U.S.


    The Once and Future Carbohydrate Economy

    By David Morris
    The American Prospect
    April 8, 2006

    Less than 200 years ago, industrializing societies were carbohydrate economies. In 1820, Americans used two tons of vegetables for every one ton of minerals. Plants were the primary raw material in the production of dyes, chemicals, paints, inks, solvents, construction materials, even energy.

    For the next 125 years, hydrocarbon and carbohydrate battled for industrial supremacy. Coal gases fueled the worldŐs first urban lighting systems. Coal tars ushered in the synthetic dyes industries. Cotton and wood pulp provided the worldŐs first plastics and synthetic textiles. In 1860, corn-derived ethanol was a best-selling industrial chemical, and as late as 1870, wood provided 70 percent of the nationŐs energy.

    The first plastic was a bioplastic. In the mid-19th century, a British billiard ball company determined that at the rate African elephants were being killed, the supply of ivory could soon be exhausted. The firm offered a handsome prize for a product with properties similar to ivory, yet derived from a more abundant raw material. Two New Jersey printers, John and Isaiah Hyatt, won the prize for a cotton-derived product dubbed collodion.

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