A while back, I started to work on a blog about industrial hemp and it's possible reintroduction into Nebraska agriculture. I spent hours researching hemp and its products, growing requirements etc., and I even wrote the Governor and asked for his feelings. I got a quick response from the gov, and I'll share it here.
First off, the gov stated "Industrial hemp has received increased attention over the years as a potential value-added agricultural product. While I support the development of value-added agriculture, there are a few concerns I have with respect to industrial hemp, mostly related to law enforcement."
The letter I got from the Governor went on to say...
"First, it would be very difficult to visually distinguish between legal hemp and other cannabis plants using aerial surveillance. This makes the detection of marijuana patches virtually impossible. Second, hemp would have value to drug dealers as an additive to increase marijuana bulk. Lastly, current federal law makes hemp in any form illegal, so there would be a conflict of enforcement interest between federal and local law enforcement officers.
"There is also concern with regard to the market for hemp products and whether there is sufficient demand to warrant legalization. It would be tragic to commit additional state resources (increases in personnel and funding) to make industrial hemp a reality only to find out that there was no appreciable benefit to Nebraska's agriculture economy."
It seems to me the governor has a well thought out position. What is difficult for me to understand is the mixed message the Federal government is passing down the pike... Yesterday the VA announced that patients taking medical marijuana ("legal" in 14 states) would not be denied some services at VA hospitals. This smacks of official approval for medical marijuana to a casual observer.
Lets talk about those 14 states a moment... Colorado as a Nebraska neighbor has approved medical marijuana, and is trying to find ways to properly regulate it. If the feds didn't step back from enforcement, this would be a moot point. In California, a state considering total legalization of pot, the city council of Oakland has approved four 100,000 square foot indoor marijuana grow operations. Of course California is drooling at the possible tax ramifications if recreational use of marijuana is approved.
Oh and one more thing, the US of A is the only industrialized country that outlaws hemp production. Why? The drug war is why!
So what kind of messages are we getting? Mixed to say the least. In Colorado, California, and 12 other states, medical marijuana is available and the feds do little or nothing about the laws already on the books regarding it's cultivation and use. I guess our governor is behind the 8 ball then since as our kids like to say "everybody else is doing it". Actually, I feel our gov is doing the right thing as he is at least trying to follow the laws already on the books.
It seems much the same as the immigration fiasco in Arizona right now. The laws are on the books, but the feds do nothing and then get mad when the states do something about it... what a bunch of hooey! I wish "our" representatives in Washington would quit writing new laws and find ways to enforce the ones we already have, fix them, or repeal them if they don't work. The message sent to the people would likely make some sense at least.