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INDUSTRIAL HEMP
IS PLANTED IN AMERICA

For the first time since World War II, hemp seeds have been planted legally on American soil. On December 14, on the island of Oahu, the Hawaiian Industrial Hemp Project was inaugurated by Dr. David West, Ph.D., plant geneticist and breeder in charge of the program, when he planted live hemp seed obtained from Kenex, a Canadian agri-business firm.

“This historic event marks the beginning of a change in federal policy,” said Rep. Cynthia Thielen, who led the three-year effort to obtain a permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency to grow hemp. “I believe this change will lead to DEA ‘farmer friendly’ regulations within the next year.”

Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano declared December 14th to be “Industrial Hemp Day” in Hawaii, and urged “a serious evaluation of the plant’s economic potential.” The state’s economy still suffers from the loss of its main export, sugar cane, and has the highest unemployment rates in the country on one of its islands: 17.6%. “My administration supports stimulating Hawaii’s economy and keeping our agricultural lands productive,” says Governor Cayetano. “Industrial hemp could meet both of these objectives.”

The quarter-acre research plot was made possible by a $200,000 grant from Alterna, a Los Angeles-based hair products firm which includes a hemp shampoo in its line. Alterna President Mike Brady was one of the many business leaders and government officials present at the planting. Private financial support was necessary due to onerous DEA security requirements which include chain link fencing topped by razor wire and a 24-hour infrared security system.

It’s illegal to grow it in the US but legal to import from foreign countries. In year 2001 hemp sales are projected to be 1.5 billion dollars. Why is the US the only industrialized nation that doesn’t permit hemp cultivation? That’s Alterna’s question and the impetus behind our mission to FREE HEMP by eradicating this drug-free, economically viable, wonder-crop for the United States.

Hemp’s biggest roadblock is that it is in the same plant family as marijuana. Alterna is a dedicated hemp advocate passionately focused on educating the nation that hemp is not a drug. The vast environmental and economic benefits are undeniable. Learn more about hemp and it is certain you’ll become an advocate too.

Hawaii is currently the only state in the US to obtain permission from the DEA to grow industrial hemp. Like Hawaii, North Dakota and Minnesota legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp in the spring of 1999 and intend to plant crops next spring.

Written by: John Howell, Hemp Times


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