Saturday, November 27, 2010

National Grange wants only GMO hemp — with strong-arm enforcement

National Grange wants only GMO hemp — with strong-arm enforcement
By Adam Eidinger - March 18th, 2010

One of the nation’s leading farming organizations passed a bizarre new policy statement in support of industrial hemp farming, but only if it is genetically modified (GMO) and retains cannabis prohibition with very heavy law enforcement.

The National Grange of the Order of Patron of Husbandry, known simply as “The G r a n g e , ” made the statement in November at its annual m e e t i n g , against the urging of advocacy groups such as Vote Hemp that GMO hemp is offensive and unnecessary because varieties of the cannabis with low THC are widely available in Canada and elsewhere.

The Grange policy statement states: “The National Grange supports research, production, processing and marketing of industrial hemp as a viable agricultural activity. We do not in any way support or condone the growth or use of marijuana as a hallucinogen.

“We support strict enforcement of all laws that currently ban the production and sale of marijuana or that classify all species of cannabis as a Class 1 controlled substance in the US. We oppose amending these laws as the primary means of promoting industrial hemp production.

Instead we urge further research and application of existing biotechnology techniques to develop genetically modified industrial hemp that will be biologically incompatible with all other forms of cannabis or marijuana.

We further urge that genetically modified industrial hemp contain distinct chemical markers that will quickly and easily identify industrial hemp varieties using low cost and accurate on-site testing methods for the purpose of contract compliance, law enforcement and as evidence in court.”

Since organic products must not be made with GMO crops, Vote Hemp is concerned that GMO hemp envisioned by The Grange would undermine the already strong demand for certified organic hemp seed while alienating organic consumers who make up the core of demand for hemp food and body care products produced in North America.

Furthermore, no GMO hemp has been developed and with the prospect of the Dept. of Justice finally recognizing state hemp farming laws as they recently did with medical marijuana laws, the GMO hemp envisioned by The Grange would be irrelevant to the current market demand for hemp seed, oil and fiber now valued at $360 million in annual sales according to the Hemp Industries Association.

Vote Hemp representatives speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue, say “If GMO hemp were developed to be ‘biologically incompatible’ with marijuana it would only benefit marijuana growers who have real concerns of cross pollination between high THC marijuana and low THC hemp.” Outdoor marijuana growers fear cross pollination and ultimately seeding of their crop. “Ironically, The Grange states it does not support changing marijuana laws and is arguing for a policy that ostensibly would protect marijuana growers from cross-pollination while alienating their customers in the natural marketplace who want non-GMO hemp,” says the Vote Hemp spokesperson.

Vote Hemp has worked with members of National Farmers Union (NFU), The Grange, and the American Farm Bureau to get pro-hemp resolutions passed. NFU members will be presenting pro-hemp resolutions at their annual meeting this March, which already passed on the state level. New NFU president Roger Johnson is the former Agriculture Commissioner from North Dakota and a strong supporter of hemp farming. Vote Hemp worked closely with Roger Johnson and North Dakota state legislators to pass bills, promulgate farming regulations, and issue the first state hemp farming licenses in 2008.

As a result of those North Dakota state licenses being issued to state Rep. Dave Monson and Wayne Hauge, Vote Hemp was able to assist them in filing for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) licenses and then later filing suit for the right to grow hemp under state license without permission from DEA. The decision on the farmers appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit was not in favor of the farmers who are currently weighing their options and plan to push for DEA approval of their license applications.

March 18th, 2010 | Category: HEMP, NATIONAL, WORLD NEWS


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