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May 26, 2007

Agri-View: Wisconsin industrial hemp vote

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, May 26, 2007

Here is a report from Agri-View about the recent 9-0 vote by the Assembly Rural Economic Development Committee to pass a bill that would create a commission to study growing hemp in Wisconsin. Industrial hemp cultivation is already legal under state law, but prohibited by federal law. Republican presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas authored federal legislation to legalize hemp cultivation at the federal level click here. Madison's Rep. Tammy Baldwin is one of the bill's original cosponsors.

Source: Agri-View click here
Read original article online: click here

Capitol News
Thursday, May 24, 2007 12:35 PM CDT
By Joan Sanstadt, Agri-View News Editor

Industrial hemp vote

The Assembly Rural Economic Development Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeffrey Mursau (R-Crivitz) last week voted unanimously to move the industrial hemp bill out of committee and recommend it for debate on the Assembly floor.

Over the years, industrial hemp (because of its feared link to marijuana) has been one of the more controversial topics this reporter has covered. That's why a unanimous committee vote on what has been a contentious issue was gratifying.

Granted, the committee wasn't voting on the right of farmers to grow the crop - it is still illegal to do so. But what it does do is advance the matter to the Assembly and then, hopefully, to the State Senate and ultimately to Gov. Jim Doyle.

As attorney general, Doyle opposed the idea of growing industrial hemp in the state. But years have passed and now as Gov. Jim Doyle - a governor that has launched a major bio effort - many are hopeful that he is willing to take another look at a crop that not only could offer significant quantities of biomass, it just might also lead to new economic development in the state.

So, as a committee devoted to rural economic development, it seems as though members did exactly what the committee seemed designed to do - look at new ways of bringing industry and jobs to rural areas.

The committee's action doesn't take a giant step in any direction. What it does do is take a teeny-tiny step in the direction of learning real facts about a "new" crop for which Wisconsin offers ideal growing conditions. (It's not exactly "new" because it was grown very successfully in the state up until the late '30s and then was grown again - at the request of the U.S. government - during WWII.)

Here's what the bill does: It creates a 13-member committee to study the uses of industrial hemp. The bill requires the committee to review literature related to industrial hemp, to evaluate the economic opportunities for the state that could result from producing and using industrial hemp, and to report its findings and recommendations to the legislature. The committee would have to complete its work in about a 12-month period.

Mursau said "the federal government may be closer than ever before to approving industrial hemp. If the feds approve, we want to be prepared to grow the crop - We want Wisconsin to be a leader in this."

Ervin a. "Bud" Sholts, chair of the North American Industrial Hemp Council, called the committee action "a start down the road to bringing this crop back to reality in Wisconsin. It has enormous potential in bioproducts and good potential in biofuels."

Rep. Gene Hahn (R-Cambria), author of AB146, recalled a hearing about four years ago when he was surprised to learn "how many came to tell us how they imported hemp oil. A chef from New York had written a recipe book containing recipes that used hemp ingredients - one of his restaurants was destroyed on Sept. 11," he added.

Hahn said he felt "encouraged by the many entities that have shown an interest in hemp. It has lots of potential in diesel fuels and other bio products. I'm very hopeful something can happen - it's going smoother than it did the last two times around and nobody from law enforcement appeared in opposition to the bill," the author noted.

(While channel surfing over the weekend, I paused to watch a segment from a "green products" convention held in Chicago. There were people drinking "hemp milk" and there was also an exhibit of carpeting made by the Interface Corporation. This company uses hemp fiber in its biodegradable carpets.)

[snip]

Posted by Gary at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2007

Tommy Thompson says he will stop raids on MMJ patients if president

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, May 24, 2007

The group Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana is reporting that former HHS Secretary and WI governor Tommy Thompson promised that if elected president, he would end raids on state medical marijuana programs.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana

Date: May 24, 2007 11:13 AM

Subject: Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana Weekly Newsletter

From: Stuart Cooper, GSMM campaign manager

[snip]

1. Gov. Thompson says he will stop the raids on patients

This week, I talked with former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) at Brown's Seabrook Lobster Pound, where he was courting voters. I shook his hand and said, "Legislators and voters in 12 states have passed laws protecting seriously ill residents who use medical marijuana with their doctor's approval; our current federal policy is to raid and arrest these patients. When you're elected president, will you respect the will of the voters in these states and end the raids on state medical marijuana programs?"

Gov. Thompson responded, "I will stop the raids, yes."


[snip]

Thompson’s prior record on the issue is not good. In his 1998 campaign, he demonized Democratic candidate Ed Garvey for supporting medical cannabis legislation.

[snip]

Two Candidates Disagree On Marijuana - (STATEWIDE) -- Wisconsin's two top candidates for governor have very different views on marijuana. Governor Tommy Thompson does NOT support the use of marijuana for any reason... and opposes decriminalization for medical use. He says that would send the wrong message to kids. Democratic challenger Ed Garvey disagree... saying it should be all right for sick people to get prescriptions to use Medicinal Marijuana!

[snip]

As secretary of Health and Human Services for the Bush Administration, he made sure HHS bureaucrats stifled any progress getting medicine to patients legally. Hopefully, this time Thompson understood the question. Of course, since his candidacy is already on the ropes, it is unlikely he will ever be in a position to give the orders to stop the raids anyways.

Posted by Gary at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2007

Dr. Tod Mikuriya's Wisconsin connections

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The cannabis community is still reeling from the passing of Dr. Tod Mikuriya, a Renaissance man to say the least, as well as a walking library on the medical uses of cannabis and much more.

I believe my first meeting with Dr. Tod was at the First National Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics at the University of Iowa, April 6-8, 2000, presented by Patients Out of Time. I ran into him again at the NORML Conference in Washington DC in April 2001, where he was educating attendees about cannabis vaporization.

Imag0048.jpg
Dr. Tod with Keith Stroup, Mikki Norris and Ben Masel at HF 35.

Back in California, in the course of his practice, Dr. Tod wrote a recommendation for a woman named Cheryl Lam, who was suffering complications from being bitten by a brown recluse spider. Later, after moving to Wisconsin, Lam was arrested at Devil’s Lake State Park near Baraboo for possession of a small amount of cannabis. Citing her note from Dr. Tod, Lam’s attorney contended that under WI state law, one could possess a controlled substance with an order of a practitioner and that her recommendation constituted such an order. The Sauk County DA and judge agreed, and the case was dismissed:

Baraboo Republic
Sat, 18 Dec 2004
Marijuana Case Dismissed
Read article: click here

In February of 2005, I cited Dr. Tod’s documentation of the use of cannabis as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in this letter published in the Isthmus:

Thu, 17 Feb 2005
Isthmus
Vet Blues
Read article: click here

In 2005, we decided to bring in some special guests to speak at the 35th Great Midwest Marijuana Harvest Festival on October 1 & 2 of 2005, including Dr. Tod, Keith Stroup, Mikki Norris and Chris Conrad. The weekend kicked off with the now annual IMMLY/Madison NORML medical cannabis benefit at the Cardinal Bar in downtown Madison on September 30, and all four were present. Mark Shanahan, ex of the Avalons “Legal Medicine Blues,” was playing some solo blues guitar when Dr. Tod approached him and asked him if he could sit in.

Imag0040.jpg
Dr. Tod speaking at HF35 on October 1, 2005.

Dr. Tod ended up singing two songs accompanied by Mark’s guitar, which were captured with a camcorder. The resulting audio is not perfect, but the audio for the first of two songs, “Midnight Special,” is of decent enough quality to offer here as an mp3 for readers to download and listen to: right click here.

Dr. Tod’s schedule did not allow him to attend both days, but he did speak at the Library Mall on Saturday, and I had the honor of introducing him and taping his speech for him. Video will hopefully be online soon. He was also mentioned in an article about Harvest Fest by Wisconsin State Journal reporter Sandy Cullen:

Dr. Tod Mikuriya, a leading figure in the medical marijuana movement in California, said that nearly 150,000 patients have benefited from medical marijuana since it was legalized in that state nearly 10 years ago.

Mikuriya said the federal government is protecting big pharmaceutical companies by opposing medical use of marijuana in favor of drugs that are less effective and can have severe side effects.

Sun, 02 Oct 2005
Wisconsin State Journal
Medical Marijuana Advocates Rally
Read Entire article: click here

I last saw Tod at the 2006 NORML Conference in San Francisco and he looked pretty good despite his battle with cancer. I recall him joking with other cannabis physicians about having to deal with doctors as a patient. I was collecting signatures on a Madison NORML t-shirt and his signature is bold and with a flourish, like one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or some other historical document. His contribution to the very historical document Prop 215, passed by California voters in 1997 was to add the phrase in the first sentence that allows doctors to approve marijuana use in treating "any...condition for which marijuana provides relief," as Fred Gardner notes in his “The Doctor of Last Resort,” looking bad at a life spent fighting for freedom. Dr. Mikuriya was a true American. He fought for what was right for his patients. He left a big hole that cannot be filled. RIP Dr. Tod! May the Midnight Special shine its ever lovin' light on you!

Read article: click here
The Doctor of Last Resort
Wed, 23 May 2007
Anderson Valley Advertiser click here

Posted by Gary at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2007

Winona Daily News: Letter: Pharmacist needed more facts

Posted by Gary Storck
Sunday, May 20, 2007

After reading several letters in the Winona MN Daily News opposing the state's medical cannabis bill like this one from a pharmacist click here, I decided to a response was indicated. After all, Winona is just across the river from Wisconsin, and I had taken Amtrak there a couple years back.

Sadly, the Minnesota bill appears doomed, with the Minneapolis Star Tribune noting that lawmakers from both houses and both parties were unable to budge him from his threat to veto the legislation. This comes despite the fact that he, remember this name, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, is fully aware the bill has oerwhelming public support, so he is also threateng to veto the will of the people he caims to be governor of. Must be planning a run for higher ofice some day!

Source: Winona Daily News
Published: Sunday, May 20, 2007

PHARMACIST NEEDED MORE FACTS

By Gary Storck, Madison, Wis.

Pharmacist Stan Gierhan's letter indicates a need for some continuing education to update his knowledge of cannabis and cannabinoids.

Marinol is not identical to medical marijuana. It's a synthetic form of THC, the most psychoactive of 60 or so cannabinoids found in whole cannabis. For example, the cannabinoid CBD, or cannabidiol, is known for its beneficial effects in treating multiple sclerosis, and it is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Currently, the only way for United States MS patients to access CBD is by medicating with whole cannabis. CBD is not present in Marinol, but it is present along with THC in Sativex, a cannabis spray developed in Britain and available in Canada and the European Union to treat multiple sclerosis.

Health care professionals who want to learn about the latest developments in the science of medical cannabis and earn continuing education units should mark their calendars for April 4-5, 2008, and plan to attend the fifth National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, Calif.

The conference is presented by the group Patients Out of Time, whose Web site proclaims, "This cutting-edge conference will bring replicated science-based research to clinicians, patients, legislators, the press and the public."

Geoffrey Guy, founder of GW Pharmaceuticals, which developed Sativex, is a past attendee and presenter, along with many of the leading experts in this field. Video of presentations from prior conferences is available online via the group's Web site at www.medicalcannabis.com.

While time may have run out for this session's medical marijuana bill, it will be back next session. For some Minnesota patients, that will be too late. In the meantime, those attempting to influence public opinion, like Gierhan, a pharmacist, ought to make every effort to get all the facts before making it easier for cowardly legislators to stand in the way of their fellow citizens' quality of life while facing serious illness.

Storck is the co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal YET? He is also a member of Patients Out of Time.


Posted by Gary at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2007

Verona Press Police Report reveals motorist exercising 4th Amendment rights

Posted by Gary Storck
Saturday, May 19, 2007

Small town newspapers' police reports often make interesting reading, with the diverse and sometimes bizarre situations police officers encounter as they go about their duties. For example, this item, transcribed from the actual hard copy of the May 3, 2007 Verona Press, was preceded by an item about a cat stuck in a wall, and its promised rescue by a local carpenter police contacted.

In a brief 70-word description, a police encounter where a driver exercised his 4th Amedment rights against illegal search and seizure is described:


Verona Press
Published May 3, 2007

Police Report

Information taken from Verona Police Department reports. All persons are Verona residents, unless otherwise reported.

March 30

[snip]

9:30 a.m. Police stopped an out-of-town man for speeding at Main and Richards streets and had him perform field-sobriety tests, which he passed. When the officer asked him if he had anything illegal in the car, he said that he had paraphernalia lying all over. A county drug dog was not available, and when police asked for consent to search, he said no, called the officer a jerk and left.

[snip]


Posted by Gary at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2007

Phillips Wisconsin Common Council adopts municipal ordinance for cannabis possession

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, May 18, 2007

Yet another Wisconsin community, this time Phillips in Price County in far northern Wisconsin, has adopted a municipal ordinance covering possession of cannabis. Phillips, with a population of around 1500, becomes at least the third community in Wisconsin to make possession of small amounts of cannabis an ordinance violation in a matter of weeks.

Source: Phillips Bee click here

New ordinances

With no public comment on ordinance revisions and additions, the Phillips Common Council adopted all seven proposed changes to the city's ordinance book and looks forward to adopting or revising more.

As of May 8, a municipal ordinance violation can be issued for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, counterfeit drugs, unauthorized possession or use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, disorderly conduct with a vehicle and lewd and lascivious behavior.

The council also approved setting the maximum fine for these and all other municipal offenses at $10,000, up from the previous $5,000 max.

Posted by Gary at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2007

Washburn Wisconsin decriminalizes possession of small amounts of cannabis

Posted by Gary Storck
May 11, 2007

Yet another lakeshore Wisconsin community, this time tiny Washburn on Lake Superior in far northern Wisconsin, has joined other municipalities in decriminalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis. This has to be good news for a town with long winters that has seen harsh enforcement in the past.

From 91.3 KUWS click here

Washburn decriminalizes small marijuana possession

5/5/2007

Washburn has passed a city ordinance that might have people facing tickets instead of handcuffs if they're caught with marijuana. Danielle Kaeding reports.

The new ordinance keeps people with a joint out of the joint. Washburn Assistant Police Chief Jeremy Clapero says it just gives them a different option on how to deal with pot users as opposed to the previous approach. "They were arrested on the spot and brought to jail-they were booked into the jail and then they would be at some point released and appear in court on that charge. Now there's a situation where they can get a ticket with the fine amount and released. It's not on their criminal record at that point." Clapero says the new ordinance could save officers time and resources. "A situation where a person has a small or a very small amount of marijuana in their possession or in their car, this may be used instead of bringing that person to criminal court and having a criminal offense on their record for something would he be issued a city ordinance citation which is a forfeiture offense-similar to like a speeding ticket." Clapero hopes that people won't view the ordinance as leniency for stoners. "It's not intended to say that we're not tough on drugs. We're still tough on drugs it's just gives us another avenue. We're behind just what every other agency has done, so we just kind of stepped up and did what they did." Clapero says Washburn police might not use the ordinance and that arrests will probably still be made. He says the ordinance is not an indication of increased marijuana use in the area.

Posted by Gary at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2007

Two Rivers City Council decriminalizes less than 8 grams of cannabis

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday, May 10, 2007

Back in February I noted that Manitowoc was considering this move click here, and now the Manitowoc City Concil has passed it.

It may seem like a more gentle approach, but the move seems more intended to enhance the City's coffers (fines now go to them) and make things more "efficient." But, although 8 grams and under and paraphernalia is now a ticketable offense, because the city is using the ordinance instead of charging as disorderly conduct as before, citations will result in a cannabis offense on their rcord. In addition, they lose their driving privileges for anywhere from 6 months to 5 years!

Not really the "velvet fist" it sounds like at first. If the City of Manitowoc wants to enhance cannabis related revenues, they ought to direct their elected representativs to change the law so it can be taxed and regulated. It would be a better draw than smoked chubs!

Source: Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter
Read original article in full: click here Published May 8, 2007
Author: Cindy Hodgson

TWO RIVERS ADOPTS DRUG ORDINANCES

TWO RIVERS - First-time offenders arrested in Two Rivers for possessing small amounts of marijuana or drug paraphernalia now will be issued a municipal citation rather than a county disorderly conduct citation.

The Two Rivers City Council approved two ordinances to that effect at Monday evening's regular council meeting.

The change means the offender's record now will indicate a drug-related offense, which it didn't with a county disorderly conduct citation, according to City Manager Greg Buckley.

In addition, fines paid for such citations will return to the city of Two Rivers, Buckley said.

The ordinance pertaining to possession of marijuana applies to less than 8 grams, and that ordinance and the one regarding drug paraphernalia apply only to first-time offenders.

[snip]

Two Rivers Police Chief Joseph Collins said some jurisdictions within Manitowoc County have had such ordinances and others have not. He said the police chiefs, sheriff and district attorney are attempting to ensure consistent enforcement in the county.

Posted by Gary at 12:03 AM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2007

New Jersey Libertarians announce Jim Miller's candidacy for State Senate with march to honor Cheryl

Posted by Gary Storck
Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Exciting news out of New Jersey's Libertarian Party with the announcement that my good friend and fellow Commando Squad member Jim Miller is taking activism to the next level by running for the 10th District State Senate seat of a man who repeatedly ignored him and his now late wife Cheryl's requests for assistance with obtaining medical cannabis as she lost her battle with multiple sclerosis.

Many may recall Jim's speeches at Harvest Fests 33, 34, 35, and 36, and the coffin he crafted to note the demise of Wisconsin's medical cannabis bill at HF 36 in 2006 click here. A walk across New Jersey honoring Cheryl will shepherd all New Jersey LP candidates' ballot signatures for submission at the State House in Trenton.

Jim's platform will focus on the issues of medical cannabis and health care. With New Jersey's medical cannabis bill stalled, after debuting with much fanfare in June 2006, Jim is hoping his candidacy will breathe new life into efforts to pass a bill this session, so patients like Cheryl won't have to wait until "next time,

Watch this space for updates from Jim's campaign as it develops.

Source: New Jersey Libertarian Party click here

NJLP Set to 'Walk Across New Jersey' in the name of Liberty and to honor the memory of medical marijuana advocate Cheryl Miller 2007-05-20

Dear Fellow Libertarians,

I am pleased to announce that our state meeting and our "Walk across New Jersey" has been set for May 20th. Come and join us as we send a message that the time has come for open and honest government in Trenton and the Libertarian Party plans to lead the way in this fight this coming November.

Our state meeting has been set for 10am, Sunday, May 20th, at Captain Hooks on the Boulevard in Seaside Heights. (In case of extreme weather it will be May 27th.) We will begin to gather there as we plan to make our historic march across the bridge to Trenton to deliver our candidates petitions and insure they are on the ballot this coming November. Once over the bridge we will be stopping for lunch at The Pier, 3430 Rt. 37 east, Toms River. From there we will continue on to Trenton delivering our petitions on Tuesday afternoon to election officials.

Every geographical section of the state will be represented this coming November with Libertarian candidates, and we continue to add to our numbers weekly. Led by our State Senate candidate in the 10th district Jim Miller and the memorial wheel chair, we will be traveling the same path he has taken in the past in his efforts to get medical marijuana passed. Our message will be if "the current legislators neither have the heart nor the courage to pass such legislation we have the candidates that will." See Jim and Cheryl's story at CherylHeart.org.

What better way to spend a Sunday than enjoying a (hopefully sunny morning), on the Seaside beach and boardwalk while supporting your Libertarian candidates. Bring your family and friends and make a day of it! If you are planning on attending please let me know so we can inform the restaurants and proper authorities as to the numbers expected.

Volunteers are also needed especially to make some signs, support vehicles, and joining us on the full trek. We can also use someone to get the proper permits to assemble in Trenton. Feel free to contact me at 570-878-7532 or 973-752-9164 if you are available to help.

I look forward to meeting you all on Sunday, and you will be able to follow our progress on this website.

Map and directions can be found on Google Maps.

In Liberty,
Lou Jasikoff
Chair

Posted by Gary at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2007

Agri-View: Industrial Hemp Was Topic at Capitol Hearing Last Week

Posted by Gary Storck
Friday, May 4, 2007

I had some other business at the Capitol while the hearing for AB 146 was happening, and when I returned and grabbed an open seat, a woman nearby handed me a bag of snacks, which seemed incongruent to me until I realized they were hemp snacks. The woman turned out to be Joan Sanstadt, news editor of Agri-View, a Lee Newspapers publication, and below is her report on the April 18 hearing. The snacks were provided by Rich Ray, the owner of Hempen Goods, Madison's great hemp goods store, which is across the street from Escape Coffee, where Madison NORML holds its meetings.

Source: Agri-View click here
Pubdate: Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Author: Joan Sanstadt, News Editor
Mailing Address: Agri-View P.O. Box 8457 Madison, WI 53708-8457
Web Site: www.agriview.com
Section: Capitol News

INDUSTRIAL HEMP WAS TOPIC AT CAPITOL HEARING LAST WEEK

It wasn't anything really new - although to some the idea of growing industrial hemp might seem pretty far-fetched.

But anyone who remembers WWII probably remembers that the U.S. government asked farmers to grow hemp as a replacement for the hemp crop that was lost when the Philippines fell. Rope and binder twine were major uses for hemp.

Yet many remember the '60s - and they equate industrial hemp with the marijuana plant. In fact, that's the view of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that has placed industrial hemp in the same category of drugs as heroin.

Back somewhere in the mid-'90s the NFO's Ron Statz arranged a meeting with some Waupun-area farmers who remembered when the crop was being grown in Wisconsin back in the 1930s and '40s. They spoke of how labor-intensive the harvest was and because of its weight many small hemp mills were scattered across the countryside. In fact we visited one just outside of Waupun that is still standing today. I'm told there are several others.

What led to the demise of industrial hemp was not the DEA, but the development of man-made fibers.

Because the plant is a sturdy one and can grow, using few chemicals, under less than ideal conditions more than a handful of farmers have inquired about growing it.


Today the need for that crop might be greater than most realize - that's because of its fibers. With bioenergy products very much in the forefront, particularly cellulosic ethanol, it isn't hard to imagine industrial hemp may have found its niche once again.

Last week, The Assembly Rural Economic Development Committee, chaired by Rep. Jeffrey Mursau (R-Crivitz), held a hearing on Assembly Bill 146. Again, the author of that bill is Rep. Gene Hahn (R-Cambria). This time the hearing was not before the Assembly Agriculture Committee as it had been in the past - this time around it was assigned to the committee that focuses on Rural Economic Development.

This time the measure simply asks the committee to review literature related to industrial hemp, to evaluate its economics opportunities for the state that could result from its production and use. Those findings, to be determined by a study committee, would report to the legislature.

The committee would be comprised of two members appointed by the governor, two by the president of the senate, two by the speaker of the assembly, the chair of the senate agriculture committee, the chair of the assembly agriculture committee, the secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) or designee, the secretary of commerce or designee, and the president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation or designee.

Co-chairs of the committee would be named by the president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly. The committee would have a year in which to make its findings.

Industrial uses that the committee would be asked to study include its use as: an alternative fuel and motor oil; uses of omega-3 rich industrial hemp seed and industrial hemp oil in snack foods, body care products and food supplements; uses of its fibers as raw materials for construction and paper products and for fabric; and uses of industrial hemp in the manufacture of recyclable car parts.

In his testimony, Hahn noted "over 14 states have passed legislation on industrial hemp and as one of the leading agricultural states it is time Wisconsin takes a look at the viability of growing this crop."

Under federal law the production of industrial hemp is prohibited and this requires the U.S. to import the product from other nations. Federal officials have raised concerns over industrial hemp because it has physical similarities to marijuana.

Hahn said that despite the similarities of the two plants, they do not have the same mind-altering effects on the body. Industrial hemp has between 0.05 percent to 1 percent of the THC, which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana.

"Wisconsin's farmers and businesses are being put at an economic disadvantage, while over 30 different countries, including Canada, England, France, Spain, Germany, Australia and China, are allowed to grow the crop.

At the hearing, not a single person testified in opposition to the bill. People either registered in favor of AB 146 or spoke in support.

More testimony

Its use in biodiesel was the focus of the testimony presented by Matthew Atwood, project manager for Biodiesel Systems, LLC in Madison.

Atwood said he'd done "extensive research on industrial hemp as a potential source for bio-renewable energy. Biodiesel Systems is prepared to commit considerable resources toward industrial hemp, engaging in research and the development of renewable energy projects that would utilize hemp as a feedstock."

The value of the hemp plant, Atwood said, was "due in part to its rapid growth, density per acre and ease of cultivation.

"Furthermore," Atwood said, "utilization of industrial hemp for fuels is a net carbon-neutral act, showing great potential with the emerging carbon dioxide and Renewable Energy Credit markets for producers of the crop to financially benefit from the sale of carbon credits."

Erwin A. "Bud" Sholts, Oregon, retired from the DATCP after 37 years working on rural development issues. "For 20 years the cry was for new crops. Fifteen years ago the UW saw the corn-soybean rotation as not sustainable and nine years ago the University of Minnesota said the same thing," Sholts said.

Sholts, who continues to serve as chair of the North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC), said industrial hemp would have a positive impact on rural development because its weight makes it too expensive to haul any great distances. Ideally, it would be grown within an 80-mile radius of a processing plant.

A considerable amount of research has already been done on its use as building materials, car parts, fuel, etc.

"In 1994, when I met Dr. Ray Berard of Interface Manufacturing, he indicated his company would be extremely interested in using industrial hemp to make carpet. At that time Interface was the largest carpet manufacturer in the country," Sholts said, adding, "we think the rural development aspect of industrial hemp will be very important."

Rep. Al Ott (R-Forest Junction), chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and member of the committee on Rural Economic Development, called attention to the problems Canada had when it first began growing the crop. There were no limits on acreage and more was grown before it could be utilized.

Sholts said it was important that the crop, once it became legalized, to be grown under contract. He also said other uses, not now known, would be found for the fiber. "The market is going to decide what will work and what it will be used for. But this committee can decide whether or not the crop has an opportunity in the world of industry," Sholts concluded.

A Marshall area farmer, Robert Derr, testified in favor of the bill, as did his son, Jamie Derr, Sun Prairie, with Great Lakes Fuels.

Rich Ray, owner of Hempen Goods, Williamson Street, Madison, invited members of the committee to take "a taste test." He passed out sample bags of snacks made from hemp seeds/oil. Committee members declared the treats "tasteful."

Posted by Gary at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2007

An open letter to Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa from Jacki Rickert

Posted by Gary Storck
Wednesday, May 2, 2007

With 2 weeks having passed since the delivery of Jacki's first letter to Rep. Vukmir click here, her second letter was emailed to Rep. Vukmir's office this morning.

Will Rep. Vukmir continue to ignore Jacki's letters on behalf of Wisconsin patients, or will she have the integrity to respond this time?

An open letter to Rep. Leah Vukmir, R-Wauwatosa

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Rep. Leah Vukmir
Chair, Assembly Health and Healthcare Reform Committee
Room 107 West
State Capitol
P.O. Box 8953
Madison, WI 53708

Dear Rep. Vukmir,

On Wednesday, April 18, 2007, ten friends and supporters visited your office and delivered a letter from me responding to your hurtful and prejudgmental comments about medical cannabis in the April 10, 2007 Wisconsin State Journal. The letter asked you several questions, which to date, you have not yet answered. Once again, here are the questions:

1) Is your public statement that you will continue to be in opposition to medical Cannabis/Marijuana ONLY your feeling, or are you speaking on behalf of the entire Assembly?

2) You also spoke of concerns about its safety. Please share your research with the people of Wisconsin.

3) Are you doing the will of the people, or Rep. Leah Vukmir's will? Do you represent the views of the majority in your district?

4) Please share what drugs "may soon be approved" and when?

5) What is your definition of "soon"?

I and many other Wisconsin patients, supporters and interested parties await your response.

Sincerely,

Jacki Rickert
Founder of Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY)
Mondovi, WI 54755

Posted by Gary at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)