Pubdate: Tue, 13 Aug 2002
Source: Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan (SD)
Copyright: 2000 Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan
Author: Tony Kellar


Tony Kellar, Yankton

Iwrote a letter to the editor (Press & Dakotan, July 19) to which William 
Collen recently rebutted. He was writing to correct my assertion that we 
can safely plant nonintoxicating hemp without fear of it being used for 
illicit purposes.

This gentleman contends that hemp and marijuana are in fact the same, and 
could be surreptitiously hidden next to each other for illegal production 
of drugs. This is apparently based on his thorough research of one word 
(hemp) in Webster's dictionary. This is the caveat: Assumptions, myths and 
poor research lead to wrong answers, which lead to uninformed voting.

Maybe an example would help to disabuse us of incorrect conclusions. 
Looking up "cedar" in the dictionary will tell you that it is a form of 
evergreen tree. But not all trees are cedars, or even evergreens. Cedars 
are a particular and separate kind of tree.

Though hemp and marijuana look similar and are of the same family, genus 
and species, they are not of the same subspecies. That is where the 
critical difference is. You cannot get high from smoking hemp, as it 
contains negligible amounts of THC (tetra-hydro-canna-binol). THC is the 
substance which pot smokers seek for their high. Illicit marijuana contains 
very, very high amounts of THC. You could smoke a bale of hemp and never 
get a buzz on.

For sake of discussion, let's call the illegal, intoxicating plant "pot," 
and let's then call the nonintoxicating plant "hemp." Plants fertilize 
other plants by a component they produce called pollen; this can be done 
any number of ways including bees, birds and wind spread pollen. If the 
pollen from hemp fertilizes a pot plant (the genetic code transmitted by 
the hemp is dominant), it signs for hemp characteristics, not pot 
characteristics (which are recessive). Thus, no THC.

It has taken pot growers decades of controlled indoor genetic refinement 
and cross-breeding of certain plants to come up with high THC pot, but 
Mother Nature is very fickle and will instantly correct the changes if 
given the chance. Even one pinhead of the hemp pollen will negate the THC 
in a pot plant, which will then pollinate and spread the hemp genetics like 
a virus to any other pot plant around.

Thus, it is a pot grower's nightmare to have even one hemp plant show up 
anywhere in the vicinity. One hemp plant could instantly "de-THC" his 
entire crop, from all of its pollen. It becomes obvious that to try to hide 
pot amongst hemp is an exercise in futility. It's like trying to hide a fox 
amongst the hens.

This type of misunderstanding is exactly what will keep us from realizing 
the benefits of this plant. This plant cannot be used for illicit pleasure, 
nor can it serve to hide illegal growing operations.

This plant can relieve only the pains suffered by farmers without a 
lucrative, easy to grow crop, a nation hobbling under the monetary whims of 
the petroleum industry, and a world looking for an environmentally 
friendly, clean fuel to burn.

I urge voters to research this important topic farther than a dictionary. 
Look for articles and read books. Realize what this crop holds for us, tell 
others who misunderstand the topic, and most importantly, go to the polls 
well informed.

A wonderful Website for more information can be found at www.erraticimpact. com.
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MAP posted-by: Beth