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A great jobs stimulus: Hemp production

Whenever I’m in our local “health food” market I have a sense of frustration as I walk by the shelves of numerous hemp food products.

hemp food fibre oilHemp growing is effectively banned by federal executive fiat, even as we import quantities of hemp from, mostly, Canada; in effect, this exports thousands of jobs, both agricultural and industrial. The hemp-products market is underdeveloped due to government interference — an action based on ignorance supported by vested interests.

What are these “vested interests” afraid of? Could it be the paper products that hemp fibers can make, such as shopping bags that now consume about 14 million trees annually? Could it be the timber products that could replace our consumption of trees grown here and overseas? Could it be that hemp growing requires a fraction of the pesticides and herbicides that cotton and other fiber crops require? The readers’ guesses are as good as mine.

My point is that none of these proven uses are permitted. Our good governor has ducked the issue by saying it’s a federal responsibility.

Libertarian Congressman Ron Paul has introduced a House bill that would reverse our government’s shortsighted banning of hemp farming. It is the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009, HR 1866.

It’s my hope that our congressman, Kevin McCarthy, will support this bill; I’ve written asking for his support. Therein, I couldn’t help pointing out to him that this bill is a job stimulus item that doesn’t require government funding.

GERALD M. SUTLIFF

Bakersfield

http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/letters/x339729276/A-great-jobs-stimulus-Hemp-production

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