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Revised Hemp Bill Would Grant U of I Study

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by Superjoint, Apr 9, 2001.

  1. By Adriana Colindres, State Capitol Bureau
    Source: State Journal-Register

    The Illinois House decided Friday to authorize the University of Illinois to study the production of industrial hemp, a relative of marijuana that eventually could become an alternative cash crop for the state's farmers. Similar legislation previously cleared the House and Senate but was vetoed in February by Gov. George Ryan.
    Supporters of the idea, who say hemp production could help revive the sagging fortunes of Illinois farmers, responded to the veto by crafting a revised proposal, House Bill 3377.

    It is intended to ease Ryan's worries about the earlier legislation, said Rep. Ron Lawfer, R-Stockton.

    "We believe this bill does address those concerns," said Lawfer, the House sponsor.

    "We feel that we have touched all the bases," added Democratic Sen. Evelyn Bowles of Edwardsville, who has been the bill's main Senate supporter.

    The House vote was 72-43, sending the bill to the Senate for consideration.

    A Ryan spokesman said the governor wouldn't comment on the legislation until it reaches his desk.

    House Bill 3377 would allow the U of I to research the feasibility of growing industrial hemp in Illinois. Part of the research would involve "finding high-producing, high-quality varieties with a zero level of THC," according to the bill.

    Ryan, in his veto message, had said one problem with the earlier bill was that it wouldn't require researchers to try to develop a hemp plant without the psychoactive ingredient known as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which produces a "high."

    Another new provision in the bill authorizes Western Illinois University to research "the potential impact of commercial production of industrial hemp on law enforcement."

    The Illinois State Police, which opposed the earlier Lawfer bill and is neutral on the new one, sought that aspect of the legislation. State police have cited concerns that law enforcement could have trouble distinguishing between industrial hemp and marijuana.

    Ryan also said in February that the existing market for hemp products doesn't justify spending an estimated $1 million in state taxpayer money for the research.

    The revised bill says the research at both universities is subject to funding availability. Money will be sought from federal, private and other sources, but not from the state, according to the bill.

    The revised bill also specifies that industrial hemp couldn't be commercially produced in Illinois unless the General Assembly passed legislation to that effect.

    Complete Title: Revised Hemp Bill Would Grant U of I Production Study

    Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
    Author: Adriana Colindres, State Capitol Bureau
    Published: April 7, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 The State Journal-Register
    Contact: letters@sj-r.com
    Website: http://www.sj-r.com/
     
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