“Hemp! Hemp! Hoka he!” – Alex White Plume

 

Oglala Hemp Grower Counts Coup On Feds

David Rooks

3/31/16

“Hemp! Hemp! Hoka he!” – Alex White Plume

This past Monday, at 1:30 p.m., David Franco, longtime member of Alex White Plume’s legal team, reached White Plume at his home north of Manderson, South Dakota with the news: “You won, Alex! We won! It’s a great victory!”

What they won was the overturning of a lifetime injunction against White Plume stemming from raids and destruction by FBI and DEA agents of two hemp crops on his property in 2001 and 2002. In subsequent actions, White Plume and a family member were charged with eight civil counts related to the growing, cultivation and processing of the plant.

About his lawyer’s call, White Plume said: “I was all by myself. Deb [his wife] was in Denver, so I couldn’t celebrate it with anybody.” The former Oglala Sioux Tribal vice-chairman and chairman (2004-06), said the news was still just sinking in a phone interview with ICTMN a few days later.

The 15-year battle has depleted White Plume personally and financially. “We were charged with conspiracy charges and additional charges. The feds crafted a plan to break me. Instead of criminal charges, they sued me civilly. Now I’m broke: my buffalo are gone, my horses are gone, they took it all. But we’re still standing.”

The ruling in United States vs. Alex White Plume, Percy White Plume, et. al., was described by White Plume as a legal slam-dunk. In a statement, Tim Purdon of Robins Kaplan Law Firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: “This order brings some justice to Native America’s first modern-day hemp farmer. For over 10 years, Alex White Plume has been subject to a one-of-a-kind injunction which prevented him from farming hemp.

“The 2014 Farm Bill changed the hemp farming laws for all Americans, but it took this order to put hemp pioneer Alex White Plume on equal footing. It’s a victory for Alex, but also for tribal sovereignty. We continue to urge DOJ to allow America’s sovereign tribes to explore industrial hemp farming under the 2014 Farm Bill in the same way the states have been allowed to.”

All White Plume wanted was a sustainable living for his family on their traditional family lands. After trying a few vegetable crops, he found the semi-arid growing season and soil suitable mainly for prairie grasses fairly daunting.

White Plume hit upon a plan. “The first time I got ahold of some hemp seeds was in 1998. We planted sterilized seeds and it didn’t work out. In ’99 I tried it again with plowed ground. Tom Cook came with some of his seeds and we planted about an acre and a half.” White Plume said it was like magic, the hemp grew really well.

He decided to go slow and keep the crop down to a few acres while he made a lot of contacts to sell his hemp fiber and seeds. Craig Lee, a Kentucky Hemp farmer with Kentucky Hemp and Flax provided useful advice. Alex’s wife Debbie had a pulp maker, and they began to make plans to use the fiber to make hemp paper. White Plume learned all he could, including that it takes hemp seeds a good 10 years to settle into the local soil and environment for optimum crops. Going slow would be wise, he thought.

The 2000 crop was very successful; “Every seed came up healthy,” said White Plume. “In 2001 and 2002 we had a bad drought, but the hemp kept growing strong. Our kids and grandkids planted, we had nothing to be ashamed of – it was hemp, not marijuana. We shared seeds and ideas with other people from other reservations.”

 

http://standingsilentnationfilm.com/PDF/appeal%20to%20case5-05.pdf

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/03/31/oglala-hemp-grower-counts-coup-feds-163975

Rhode Island Bill Would Legalize Hemp; Foundation to Nullify Federal Prohibition in Practice

PROVIDENCE R.I. (March 23, 2016) – A bill introduced in the Rhode Island Senate would legalize the production and processing of industrial hemp for commercial purposes in the state, setting the foundation to nullify federal prohibition in practice.

A coalition of four Democrats and a Republican introduced Senate Bill 2763 (S2763) on March 10. Under the proposed law, industrial hemp would be treated as an agricultural product and could be grown as a crop, produced, possessed, distributed, and commercially traded pursuant to provisions in the bill. The legislation would create a regulatory and licensing structure to facilitate the development of a hemp industry in the state.

Language in the bill acknowledges federal prohibition on hemp, but correctly asserts the state can legally dictate its own policy notwithstanding federal law.

“States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with this chapter does not put the state of Rhode Island in violation of federal law.”

Under current law, the federal government maintains virtual prohibition of hemp production, only allowing research facilities to grow the crop with a federal waiver. Passage of SB2763 would set the foundation for people of Rhode Island to nullify the federal ban in practice.

FEDERAL FARM BILL

Early in 2014, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The “hemp amendment”

…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oil-seed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.

In short, current federal law authorizes the farming of hemp – by research institutions only, for research only. Farming for commercial purposes by individuals and businesses remains prohibited. SB2763 ignores federal prohibition and authorizes commercial farming and production anyway.

OTHER STATES

By rejecting any need for federal approval, S2763 would set the stage to nullify the federal hemp ban in practice. South Dakota can join with other states – including Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, North Dakota and Vermont – that have simply ignored federal prohibition and legalized industrial hemp production within their state borders.

While prospective hemp growers would still have to take federal law into consideration, by eliminating the state requirement for federal permission, the South Dakota legislature would clear away a major obstacle to widespread commercial hemp farming within the borders of the state.

Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, and farmers in Vermont began harvesting in 2014, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on such agricultural activities. On Feb. 2 of last year, the Oregon hemp industry officially opened for business and one week later, the first license went to a small non-profit group. As more people engage in hemp production and the market grows within these states, more people will become emboldened creating an exponential wave, ultimately nullifying the federal ban in effect.

HUGE MARKET FOR HEMP

According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. is the only developed nation that hasn’t developed an industrial hemp crop for economic purposes.

Experts suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is around $600 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.

During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted in the famous campaign and government-produced film, “Hemp for Victory!”.

S2763 represents an essential first step toward hemp freedom in the state of Rhode Island.

WHAT’S NEXT

S2763 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving on to the full Senate.

If you live in Rhode Island: For action steps to help get this bill passed click HERE.

For other states: Take action to push back against hemp prohibition HERE.

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Commonwealth of Hemp: Kentucky continues to sow seeds of industrial crop’s resurgence –

Posted on March 21, 2016
by Dan Dickson

Illustration by Catherine Nichols

Illustration by Catherine Nichols

Select Kentucky farmers will be growing more hemp in 2016 than at any time since the federal government effectively banned the crop in the 1930s, along with its hallucinogenic cousin, marijuana.

This year, 144 farmers and 10 universities across the state will engage in the third year of pilot research projects in the state that many hope will lead to full restitution of hemp as a commercial fiber, feed and pharmaceutical agent.

“We anticipate over 4,000 acres will be grown in Kentucky this year, which is more than four times the number of acres grown last year,” said Ryan Quarles, the recently elected state agriculture commissioner.

In fact, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture says about 4,500 acres of hemp will be grown for the projects this year, up from 900 acres last year and just 33 acres during the inaugural planting season in 2014.

Permission to grow the crop on an experimental basis is authorized under special language inserted into the federal farm bill by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. Quarles said industrial hemp, once a major Kentucky farm staple, is highly marketable and hopes Congress will one day see it that way and legalize it.

“As long as it is grown and cultivated as part of a pilot program, it can be transported, processed and sold across state lines,” said Jonathan Miller, a spokesman for the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Council. “Each year, the Kentucky projects are getting bigger, more elaborate and more successful.”

Miller said that whether it’s this year, next year or three years from now, he’s confident Congress will “take hemp off the Schedule 1 drug list so it can be turned into an agriculture commodity and we won’t have to deal any more with pilot programs.”

Farmers, producers unite

Josh Hendricks, a Montgomery County farmer, will be growing hemp again this year. He has formed a company, Hendricks Hemp, to be ready for the day he can freely sell his crops anytime, anywhere.

“We are still trying to figure out what varieties grow well here in order to produce whatever you want to produce from a hemp plant, whether it is fiber, grain or CBD,” short for the medically useful compound cannibidiol, said Hendricks.

Since Kentucky growers must align themselves with a processor or manufacturer before they enter the hemp pilot program, Hendricks has become affiliated with C.V. Sciences, a California producer of dietary and health products. The company  currently imports hemp from Europe but wants a dependable domestic source and hopes Kentucky and Hendricks will be its prime supplier.

Although Hendricks acknowledges that a farmer would need to grow a considerable number of acres of hemp for it to be highly profitable, he hopes the pilot program will explode into something big.

“We want to see hemp become like any other agriculture commodity in Kentucky,” he said. “I hope it will become something that will put money in the pockets of our farmers. You want to be able to say you have domestically grown, U.S.-grown, Kentucky Proud hemp for sale.”

Research remains focus

University of Kentucky hemp researcher David Williams says the state’s pilot programs focus on production science or production and management protocol to optimize crop yields. UK is a participant in the program and will be growing hemp.

A history lesson, courtesy of Williams: The main uses for hemp a century or more ago are quite different than how it could be used today.

“In the old days it was a major component of rope and heavy linen,” said Williams. “Prior to the invention of steam engines, ships were wind-powered, and the sails were made of hemp cloth. The major recipient of Kentucky hemp then was the U.S. Navy for its ships’ riggings and the sails. Neither of those components is viable today.”

However, Williams says the loss of these old industrial markets is being met by modern needs and technology that provide exciting new possibilities. Among the new applications about which Williams is most excited is the potential for hemp fibers to be a component of injected, molded composite products such as the interior door panels of automobiles or the overhead compartments of airplanes.

“The list is almost unlimited, including bathtubs, furniture and much more,” he said. “If those industries move toward replacement of synthetic fibers with natural fibers, hemp could contribute to that significantly.”

Caution amid wild optimism

Would the legalization of industrial hemp bring a windfall to Kentucky farmers and others? The enthusiasm for reigniting the industry has brought with it outsized hopes that Williams suggests are unlikely to be realized. Instead of a massive cash crop, Williams says, hemp is more likely to be more useful in rotation with other crops.

“I don’t want the public to expect a financial boom. I think that’s an unrealistic expectation,” Williams cautioned. “Realistically, we might think of hemp becoming part of the normal rotation. It won’t replace any of our current crops. Even if the market is highly significant, we still have to grow crops [and raise animals] for food.”

In other words, hemp would have to compete with other farm commodities in the state. The top 10 Kentucky farm commodities are: poultry, livestock, corn, soybeans, cattle and calves, tobacco, dairy products, hay, wheat and pigs. Devoting acreage to hemp instead of another proven commodity might be a gamble, at least for now.

“It would be very difficult for me to imagine that that would be economical,” said Williams.

Quarles, the new state agricultural commissioner, said his great-grandfather grew hemp in Kentucky while his son, Quarles’ grandfather, fought in World War II.

“That was a common story in Kentucky then,” said Quarles. “The federal government actually asked farmers to grow it for the war effort.”

– See more at: http://bizlex.com/2016/03/commonwealth-hemp-kentucky/#sthash.N1uIMFUv.dpuf

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Kentucky ramps up hemp test production in 2016

Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press 12:48 p.m. EDT March 20, 2016

Kentucky is accelerating hemp production in the third year of testing its potential as a cash crop.

The state Department of Agriculture said Friday it has authorized planting of nearly 4,500 acres of hemp this year in the next round of statewide pilot projects, up from about 900 acres of hemp production last year. The experimental projects began with a mere 33 acres in 2014.

The momentum is continuing after a change in leadership at the Agriculture Department.

The rebirth of legal hemp production was championed by then-state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. Comer ran for governor last year, losing in the Republican primary to Matt Bevin. But his successor as agriculture commissioner, Ryan Quarles, has assumed the role of advocating for hemp.

“Hemp is a bridge from Kentucky’s past to our future,” said Quarles, a Republican. “The Kentucky Department of Agriculture and our partners are committed to building upon the solid foundation of research for a Kentucky hemp industry that will create jobs and new marketing opportunities.”

Kentucky has been at the forefront nationally in efforts to return hemp to mainstream status.

The tiny experimental crop produced in 2014 was the first legal hemp crop in generations in Kentucky.

Growing hemp without a federal permit was banned in 1970 due to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, Cannabis sativa, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

Hemp got a limited reprieve with the federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development in states such as Kentucky that allow hemp growing.

Hemp is prized for its oils, seeds and fiber.

The crop, which once thrived in Kentucky, was historically used for rope but has many other uses, including clothing and mulch from the fiber; hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds; and soap and lotions. Other uses include building materials, animal bedding and biofuels.

In Kentucky, the number of university-led hemp research projects had more than doubled since 2015, the state Agriculture Department said. The focus is expanding beyond production research to look into how the crop can be turned into consumer products.

KDA said it is offering multi-year partnerships with processors to develop information on processing and marketing potential.

Quarles also said his department is working to ensure that hemp producers can obtain seeds.

Kentucky farmer Michael Lewis said he’s preparing for another year of hemp production to test its potential in textiles, health and nutrition products.

“That shows the potential, that shows the interest, that shows the investment,” he said of the plans for increased production in 2016. “I think we’re getting there. We still have a lot of processing hurdles to overcome. But that’s the same with any new industry. I’m feeling good about it.”

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Pennsylvania Senate unanimously approves industrial hemp bill

Bill would establish industrial hemp agricultural pilot programs across the state

By Michael Tanenbaum
PhillyVoice Staff

The Pennsylvania Senate took another step closer to the legalization of industrial hemp on Wednesday after unanimously passing a bill that would establish a statewide cultivation pilot program through the creation of an Industrial Hemp Licensing Board in the Department of Agriculture.

Senate Bill 50, which was passed by a 49-0 vote, would permit universities in the state to legally conduct industrial hemp agricultural pilots for research purposes defined by federal guidelines, according to Hemp Inc., an environmental research and hemp advocacy firm.

RELATED ARTICLE: Pa. House approves medical marijuana bill in landslide vote

Hemp is currently legal in 27 states and has a variety of uses as a durable natural fiber and renewable source for raw materials used in products including clothing, cars, paper, fuels and construction materials. Though it derives from the same cannabis plant used to cultivate marijuana, it is not considered a substance that can be smoked or otherwise used as a drug.

“The fact that the vote was 49-0 shows overwhelming support from farmers, the public and politicians for industrial hemp,” said Craig Perlowin, Secretary of Hemp, Inc. “With this kind of bipartisan and overall support, we expect to see all 50 states legalize hemp in the coming months and years ahead. And as that happens, Hemp, Inc. will be there to support the American farmers in any way we can.”

Part of the motivation for legalizing the crop is that the United States has become one of the world’s biggest importers of it, spending as much as $580 million in 2013 before 14 additional states passed industrial hemp legislation. Another factor is that it is considered an environmentally friendly, climate resilient plant that requires few chemicals and minimal water use to thrive.

“Pennsylvania is soon to be yet another state to become part of a new clean, green agricultural and industrial American revolution that, based on the economics and products derived from hemp, is set to be the next billion-dollar industry,” says Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc.

The bill will next head to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, which on Wednesday approved a medical marijuana bill that is slated to be reviewed by the Senate.

Michael Tanenbaum Headshot

Michael Tanenbaum

Tanenbaum@phillyvoice.com

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Washington Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Legalization

By Julia Granowicz – Mar 16, 2016

washington-govenor-vetoes-industrial-hemp

Industrial Hemp has been illegal in the United States as long as its THC producing twin – and the plant has over 100 known uses as cloth material, as a cooking oil, and it was once a fundamental part of our country. While we see a lot surrounding the reform of laws for THC producing marijuana, the industrial plant doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.

Lawmakers in Washington recently passed a bill (unanimously in the House of Representatives and 48-1 in the Senate) which would have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp plants for research purposes. It would also be setting up a program to keep track of the plants and allow Washington University to study the plant.

Unfortunately, after making it through both sides, the bill never stood a chance because the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, decided to issue a large batch of vetoes in what appears to be a form of punishment since lawmakers have yet to settle on a budget.

“Given legislators’ inability to complete their number one job, I measured these bills against the importance of the budget and set a very high bar,” Inslee said in a written statement.

“I recognize this is perhaps the largest single batch of vetoes in history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of passing a budget. I continue to hope legislators will focus on negotiations and reach agreement as quickly as possible.”

This did not go unnoticed by those in the Farm Bureau who have been waiting and hoping for this bill to pass. As well as calling out the Governor on an “overstepped power play” and claiming that he failed to “be the grown-up in the room”, they also prodded at the Governor’s own opinions about saving the environment by saying he wasted all the fuel and electricity invested in the passing of these bills when he vetoed them.

“Our current governor continues to show an uncanny ability to drive a wedge between his office and legislators,” according to the Farm Bureau.

While it was clearly disappointing to many people throughout the state of Washington, the bill will likely have a second chance in the current 30 day session. Seeing as it passed through with ease the first time, the second should be a breeze as well. However, if they do not also pass a budget during this next 30 days, who is to say Inslee will not simply make the same move again?

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Colorado wants to be first in nation to certify hemp seed

If hemp farmers inadvertently plant seeds that create THC levels in plants higher than 0.3 percent, those crops have to be destroyed

By Jerd Smith and Shay Castle, Daily Camera

Colorado, already a national leader in hemp cultivation, is pushing forward with a plan to certify seed, in part to ensure THC levels, the active ingredient in marijuana, do not exceed legal levels.

“We’ve always felt that if hemp is going to be an agricultural crop, it has to be treated like a mainstream agricultural crop. The grower needs to know what he is getting,” said Duane Sinning, assistant director of the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s Division of Plant Industry.

To be classified as industrial, hemp may contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. If hemp farmers inadvertently plant seeds that create higher THC levels in plants, those crops have to be destroyed, Sinning said.

More than 2,000 acres of land is being used to grow hemp statewide, with about 170 registered growers. Sinning said the program, being done with Colorado State University, will test hemp plants grown all across Colorado to determine how the different plants perform.

“Colorado’s unique climate really does separate plants. Higher altitude areas, dryer areas all of those things cause differences in THC content,” Sinning said.

“I think it’s an excellent development for the state and will provide a lot of options for local hemp businesses to acquire reliably tested seeds,” said Tim Gordon, chief operating officer for CBDRx, a grower and wholesaler of hemp and extracted oils. The company operates facilities in Boulder and Longmont.

“The testing itself is rather encompassing. On the growing side, for us it’s an arduous process to develop a strain that’s going to be continually certified as hemp and have it be stable enough to be grown in a variety of environments and be consistent throughout,” Gordon said.

The program is being launched initially with $100,000 in state funding, but eventually it will be supported by fees paid by seed growers and farmers, Sinning said.

The certification will be issued by the Colorado Seed Growers Association, which will verify genetics, THC content and cultivation techniques.

“It’s going to have huge impacts on businesses locally and act as a template for departments of agriculture across the nation,” said Zev Pace, executive director of the National Hemp Association.

“It’s going to allow all of us to identify hemp cultivars that work especially well and are especially stable here in a Colorado environment,” Pace said.

Sinning said the state hopes growers will have “CDA Approved Certified Seed” in time for the 2017 planting season.

Those interested in participating can contact terry.moran@state.co.us.

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The Man Who Brought Hemp to Kentucky (Gatewood Galbraith)

By Sarah Baird on January 12, 2015

 

After decades of being demonized and damned, hemp is now officially sprouting its way back into Kentucky’s good graces.

Since the successful cultivation of the state’s first small-but-mighty legal “research” hemp crop early last year, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been eating hemp bars, talking about hemp-powered cars and exploring how hemp oil can help ease the pain of debilitating seizure disorders. There’s a new fervor around everything that could possibly be crafted with hemp — from rope to clothes — as the crop positions itself to potentially be the tobacco-replacing cash crop dreamed about by struggling farmers.

For those who have been watching the battle unfold, it seems to be a cruel twist of fate that hemp has gained thoroughbred-like momentum in the state two short years since the death of its colorful, decades-long champion: Gatewood Galbraith.

The pop music scene and art world have their fair share of celebrities famous enough to go by a single name, from Beyoncé to Bono. In Kentucky, Gatewood was the only man in the state (and perhaps, all of politics) to find mononymous notoriety. All Kentuckians knew Gatewood, but many did not know his last name.

In Kentucky, Gatewood was the only man in the state (and perhaps, all of politics) to find mononymous notoriety.

Gatewood was nothing short of a cult figure. Known far and wide as the hemp-promoting, pro-gun, big-grinning, marijuana-loving lawyer — who ran unsuccessfully for governor five times — Gatewood was a perennial character in Kentucky politics who refused to be boxed into party lines. Above all else, Gatewood believed the two-party system had failed the working class people and farmers of the state. With his lilting drawl, gentle demeanor and signature (completely non-hipster) fedora, the gangly, Ichabod Crane-like man was a 6’4″ fixture at intersections and street fairs for more than 40 years, shaking hands and talking — mostly — about the virtues of hemp as a cash crop.

“When I first met Gatewood, it was at his election night party in 2002 when he ran for Congress,” says former Kentucky Democratic Party Executive Director Jeremy Horton. “It was two rooms connected at the old-school Continental Inn [in Lexington]. About an hour in, I found my way into his room. There were about ten people inside and Gatewood was sitting on the bed, shirtless, wearing a sombrero, smoking a cigar and talking about farm subsidies.”

Born in the bucolic town of Carlisle and educated at the University of Kentucky for both his undergraduate degree and law school, Gatewood was consistently a man before his time. His positions on key environmental, farming and rural issues often positioned him as a zany outlier in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, many of his views seem downright mainstream: from hemp as a cash crop to medicinal marijuana to supporting and promoting small farmers. In retrospect, it’s easy to see Gatewood as a kind of pied piper on these issues, attracting Kentucky politicians slowly and steadily over the years with his song until, eventually, some of them joined the march.

Between campaigns for statewide office, Gatewood made a name for himself as a defense attorney, including serving as pro bono counsel in the country’s first felony medical marijuana case. He fought against the spraying of paraquat in the Daniel Boone National Forest in the 1980s, gaining national attention for his prescient opposition to the toxic herbicide. (The New York Times referred to him in 1983 as, “…an unsuccessful candidate for state agricultural commissioner … who favors legalizing marijuana.”) He opposed the mountaintop removal method of mining in Eastern Kentucky, noting that it had caused “unsurpassed environmental damage” across the region. His real calling card, however, was hemp.

“Cannabis is to hemp as Dennis Rodman is to Danny DeVito. They’re both adult males, but if you can’t distinguish between the two you don’t belong in law enforcement,” Gatewood famously told a Lexington, Kentucky. alt-weekly in 2000, his gently ribbing nature softening a hard-hitting truth.

Photo courtesy Kentucky Educational Television.

Photo courtesy Kentucky Educational Television.

Everywhere he traveled, Gatewood touted the economic benefits of industrial hemp as a cash crop, citing Kentucky’s long and successful history as a hemp-producing state prior to its prohibition in 1937. He found allies in nooks and crannies not often touched by politics, from elderly farmers whose families had successfully grown hemp in the early part of the 20th century to enterprising entrepreneurs who could see how the legalization of hemp could jumpstart stagnant rural economies.

“One hundred years ago, the farmer produced all of the fiber, all of the medicine, all of the fuel and all of the food that society consumes,” Gatewood told a team of documentarians in the 1990s. “Does the government have the right [today] to tell man or woman that they cannot plant a seed in God’s green earth and consume the green natural plant that comes up out of it? That seems such an inalienable right.”

Of course, the virtues of marijuana were also never far from his rhetoric. Old ladies would frequently clutch their pearls when Gatewood openly discussed smoking weed — which he claimed cured his asthma as a young man — and called to end the prohibition of marijuana in the state for medicinal purposes.

State Senator Perry Clark of Louisville honored his late friend posthumously in 2013 by introducing the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, which aimed to loosen regulations around the prescription of marijuana. While the bill didn’t pass, it served as a call to action and a tribute to Gatewood’s trailblazing ways.

“For the better part of 40 years, [Gatewood] has been talking about the benefits of medical marijuana,” Clark told The Daily Chronic in 2012. “And right now there are hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who are suffering and they need and deserve access to this plant that our grandfathers and our great grandfathers grew by the thousands of acres.”

Gatewood’s left field stances and larger-than-life persona also attracted a number of celebrity friends and admirers. In 1991, Gatewood appeared — a toothy grin spread wide across his face — on the cover of High Times with friend and fellow pot-smoking icon Willie Nelson, who campaigned on his behalf from Louisville to Lexington. When Woody Harrelson was arrested in 1996 for planting four hemp seeds in Lee County, Kentucky as a deliberate challenge to state cannabis laws, Gatewood was right by his side in support. Four years later (after Harrelson was acquitted) the two starred in the 2003 film, Hempsters: Plant the Seed.

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Sometimes, the cold, hard facts rattled off by Gatewood were overshadowed by his flamboyant stump-speaking mannerisms and propensity for offbeat humor. Gatewood was often known to refer to politicians (particularly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) as “aliens” and believed firmly in “the petro-chemical-pharmaceutical-military-industrial-transational-corporate-fascist-elite-bastards” complex, which he frequently referenced at speaking engagements and in his now infamous book, The Last Free Man in America: Meet the Synthetic Subversion.

“The problem is that the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries control this country,” Gatewood said in a 1991 interview. “Hemp is the greatest product. Hemp is petroleum. It’s no coincidence that in 1937 when hemp was outlawed, nylon was patented. The true battle on this planet today is between the naturals and the synthetics.”

A consummate advocate for family farms and policies to help reconnect individuals to the land, it’s almost impossible to imagine that Kentucky’s current bipartisan bear hug of hemp would’ve happened without Gatewood’s maverick campaigning.

“He arrived [at a Tea Party function] and everyone said, ‘Oh, Gatewood, you know, thank you so much for coming. It’s wonderful to have you here,’” Galbraith’s 2011 gubernatorial running mate, Dea Riley, told NPR in 2012 after his death. “And Gatewood responded, ‘What are you talking about? I’ve been here for 30 years. Where have you people been?’”

The tide may be turning for Gatewood to get his due as the bullhorn that paved the way for the state’s recent hemp victories. A dedicated group of hemp advocates and Gatewood devotees are planning the first ever “Kentucky HempFest” for September 2015 in honor of their late, great patron saint.

The event’s alternative name? Gatewoodstock.

CONTINUE READING…

Locust Grove offers hemp education for a second year

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Insight

Events

Locust Grove offers hemp education for a second year

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Historic Locust Grove, located in Louisville, will be participating in the hemp pilot program for a second year. Last season, the historic site planted the first hemp crop in Jefferson County since World War II. While there are no immediate records showing hemp was ever a significant part of Locust Grove’s history, the area is known for hemp farming and manufacturing.

Last year, Locust Grove hosted a Hemp Festival for the community to celebrate hemp’s heritage in the bluegrass. Vendors from across the country joined to offer a hemp educational experience everyone enjoyed. We enjoyed our day educating others about the past, present and future of the Kentucky hemp industry at our booth! 

We’re looking forward to partnering with Locust Grove to host the Hemp Festival for a second year, and offer additional educational opportunities and workshop’s throughout the season! Stay tuned for event details and ways you can get involved.

—CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky hemp was king before steamships, free trade and reefer madness

Widely used fiber plant was key to Lexington’s early wealth and prosperity

Ropewalks and bag factories once stood amid city’s historic neighborhoods

FBI later went to UK historians seeking evidence slaves, field hands got high

 

 

By Tom Eblen

teblen@herald-leader.com

 

Hemp has been branded an outlaw for decades because it looks like its mind-altering botanical cousin, marijuana. But before steamships, free trade, synthetic fibers and reefer madness, this useful plant was Kentucky’s biggest cash crop.

Kentucky grew most of America’s hemp throughout the 1800s, but it was often a tortured relationship.

An undated postcard shows a Kentucky hemp field.

An undated postcard shows a Kentucky hemp field. University of Kentucky Special Collections

“Except for the history of tobacco, no other Kentucky field crop has undergone so many frustrating turns of fortune or come under such intense scrutiny,” the late state historian Thomas D. Clark wrote in 1998, describing hemp’s “aura of romance and … cloud of evil.”

Kentucky’s earliest settlers brought hemp seeds over the mountains with them. Archibald McNeill planted the first recorded crop in 1775 near Danville. Farmers soon realized that Central Kentucky’s rich soil and plentiful rainfall made it an ideal place to grow the most widely used fiber for rope, sailcloth and industrial bags.

Kentucky hemp farmers were never trying to get high — just rich.

John Wesley Hunt, Kentucky’s first millionaire and builder of the Hunt-Morgan house, made his fortune in the hemp industry, as did his next-door neighbors, Thomas Hart and Benjamin Gratz. Hart’s son-in-law, the politician Henry Clay, was a big hemp grower and advocate for the crop in Congress.

Several Bluegrass plantation owners named their mansions Waveland because they were surrounded by fields of lacy-topped hemp waving in the breeze.

Slavery was as important to Kentucky’s hemp industry as rich soil and plentiful water. Harvesting and preparing hemp before modern processing machines was difficult, back-breaking work that few people did by choice.

After growing tall in summer, hemp stalks were cut at first frost, shocked and then spread out on the ground to begin to rot. After this curing, a device called a hemp brake was used to separate fiber from the stalk. The fibers were then twisted into rope or spun into fabric.

During the half-century before the Civil War, hemp was Lexington’s biggest industry. The city had 18 rope and bag factories in 1838 that employed 1,000 workers — an impressive number for a city of 6,800 people.

Long sheds or open-air “ropewalks” were built around town for hemp fibers to be twisted into rope. An 1855 Lexington map shows several ropewalks and bag factories in the blocks north of Short Street.

Future Confederate general John Hunt Morgan and his wife’s brother, Sanders Bruce, who would become a Union colonel, had one of the city’s largest hemp factories on East Third Street behind the mansion now called Carrick House.

One of Lexington’s last remnants of the antebellum hemp industry is a small brick cottage on East Third Street, across from the log cabin on Transylvania University’s campus. It was the office of Thomas January’s ropewalk, which spread out behind it.

The biggest markets for hemp were sailcloth and rigging for ships and the growing Southern cotton trade, which used hemp rope and bags to package cotton bales. The Navy was a large but fickle client, despite the political clout Kentuckians wielded in Washington.

The peak years of hemp production, in the 1850s, saw Kentucky produce 40,000 of the 71,500 tons of hemp fiber grown in America. The Civil War began a great unraveling of Kentucky’s hemp industry and its biggest client, the Southern cotton industry, both of which depended on slave labor. Then things got worse.

Sailing ships were soon replaced by steamships, causing the sailcloth market to plummet. But the biggest blow was free trade agreements that removed tariffs on Asian jute, which was much cheaper to grow and process than hemp.

The hemp industry shrunk considerably, but Kentucky still dominated it. Ten Central Kentucky counties produced 90 percent of America’s hemp in 1889. Hemp remained the state’s biggest cash crop until 1915, when tobacco became king.

But more trouble was ahead. After Prohibition’s repeal in 1933, reformers focused on outlawing narcotics. Hysteria surrounding this first war on drugs included the famous 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film, Reefer Madness. Hemp was swept up in a 1937 marijuana law, although it got a reprieve in the early 1940s when Kentucky farmers were encouraged to grow hemp because World War II prevented the import of Asian jute.

Hemp contains little of the psychoactive chemical THC found in marijuana. Still, soon after World War II, the FBI asked the University of Kentucky’s History Department for evidence that slaves and field hands had tried to get high by smoking hemp leaves and blooms, wrote Clark, a history professor at the time.

“A case of a slave smoking hemp in the neighborhood of Owensboro could be documented,” he wrote, “but there was a vagueness about other instances.”

Tom Eblen: 859-231-1415, teblen@herald-leader.com, @tomeblen

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The rebirth of U.S. Hemp Farming should start in Kentucky!

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