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Friday, August 2, 2013

Hemp Blurb




Did you know, in 2012, three Michigan counties passed resolutions for Industrial Hemp? Montmorency, Presque Isle, and Oscoda counties: Three very important steps in the direction towards an end of Cannabis Prohibition in Michigan. It is important for everyone to understand what these resolutions mean, and also how we can build off from it and experience equal success in our surrounding counties for industrial hemp.
            This resolution does not allow anyone to actually grow the industrial hemp; it changes no local, state, or federal law. It does, however, allow the Board of Commissioners for these counties to recognize the difference between hemp and marijuana, and asks the federal government to lift restrictions on the hemp crop. It also asks that Michigan Legislature passes regulations on industrial hemp farming under state laws, and excluding federal applications, fees, or licenses.
            The use of hemp has been plentiful for thousands of years. The benefits of its’ oil seed, fiber, is almost limitless; yet we are allowing our government to interfere with our rights to this beneficial plant. Medical Marijuana has been passed in our state successfully in 2008 and put into effect in 2009.  Now it’s time to use the additional cannabis sativa L. plant and bring it closer to home in the form of cultivation and production to boost our economy.  We are well aware of the benefits of cannabis, but somewhere along the lines, we’ve forgotten about Hemp! We shouldn’t have to consider hemp an ‘alternative’ source. It has the potential and clear capability to be the number one crop in the country, the “Billion Dollar Crop”, as once mentioned considered by Popular Mechanics in 1938.  So far in the 2013 legislative season, industrial hemp has been introduced and passed in a total of 19 states. This means these states, much like our own Michigan counties, have recognized hemp is not marijuana, and these states have successfully implemented legislation to allow cultivation in some states, such as Colorado. The federal bill, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, has 42 co-signers, 3 in fact from Michigan (Rep.Justin Amash R-3, Rep. Dan Benishek. R-1., and Rep. Kerry L. Bentivolio R-11), but of course seems to be on the back burner on a Senate level. Without a doubt, it is simply up to individual states to progress with industrial hemp. Our government “for the people” is being challenged to the very core; when our own DEA is preventing its’ own citizens to benefit, grow a plant, and thrive we need to reevaluate whether or not we need their permission to do so. States with passed legislation have added into their bills lifting the federal ban on hemp. This means these states do not have to seek approval, applications, licenses, and fees, to cultivate the plant.  
            Michigan as a whole needs to support the research, cultivation, and production of hemp, just as Presque Isle, Montmorency, and Oscoda counties has done. We need to talk with our local Farmers Bureau, County Commissioners and local Representatives to achieve a like-minded consensus on this pressing economic matter. Michigan has the capability to use our farm land and help our farmers in dire need, promote small businesses who can work with these farmers cultivating the hemp and put it to use. We have to support our country and bring an economy back to the states. Importing hemp is costing us an estimated $11.5 Million in 2011 (Ref. Congressional Research Service, Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity, Renee Johnson, June 25, 2013. www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32725.pdf.)  The Hemp Industries Association, or HIA, believes the United States had a retail market for hemp at an estimated $500 Million in 2012, not including some sales from major retail stores where hemp products are available. (Ref. Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity)
            Our country is in an economic downward spiral if we do not get our voices heard to our representatives and demand action. Working with our legislators is how positive work gets done. With your help, the use of industrial hemp is just years away, if not less, for our great state of Michigan. Contacting your local representatives, urging your senators, attending local cannabis activists meetings is important, if not critical, if we want to ensure a green step forward. If you need more information on your local representatives, as well as senators, please visit www.thehia.org on how to stay connected, get educated, and promote industrial hemp around the country. Also new to the Genesee County Compassion Club is a Hemp 101 course! I will personally educate whomever willing on industrial hemp, what it is, the history of hemp in the U.S., and ways to contribute in the efforts for the end of Cannabis and Hemp prohibition! Stay tuned on class dates and times at www.genesee3c.com.  I am grateful for the opportunity to promote Hemp any way that I can. Thank you to MMMReport for letting me “dab” into the tales of Hemp a bit. I hope I can contribute again with more thorough updates state by state.
Chelsea Shaker
Political Representative for Genesee County Compassion Club
Flint, Mi 

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