Hemp legalization initiative on hold | AspenTimes.com

Hemp legalization initiative on hold

The campaign to put a hemp legalization question on the November 2000 Colorado state ballot has been put “on hold,” according to a local organizer.

Roy Hecker of Carbondale, one of the organizers seeking to gather enough signatures to put the question on the ballot, issued a release this week stating that “it is better not to have medical marijuana and industrial hemp on the same ballot as a matter of strategy.”

A medical marijuana question will be on the November ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s office. However, that office had not received notice as of Tuesday afternoon that the industrial hemp question had been withdrawn.

Such formal notice is not necessary, however, since Hecker and his organization had not begun to gather signatures to put the question on the ballot.

According to Hecker’s announcement, his organization, Colorado Hemp, will work in support of the medical marijuana initiative.

Hecker also stated that “there has been some interest expressed in Industrial Hemp raised by members of the Colorado Legislature … perhaps a hemp bill is possible sometime in the not too distant future.”

The movement to legalize industrial hemp – a non-psychotropic form of the same plant that produces the drug known as “pot” or “marijuana” – has been growing in this country.

Proponents believe the hemp plant can be used in a variety of industrial applications, is better for the environment and will reduce the need for lumber that is stripping the world of its forests. And because hemp has almost none of the active ingredient in pot – tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – advocates say it should be legal and could revitalize areas where the agricultural industry has fallen on hard times.

Hecker stated in his release that “the U.S. is the only industrialized country that has classified Industrial Hemp as a drug.” He said court challenges to the hemp prohibition, based on “strong legal arguments that it is actually legal to grow hemp now,” are likely to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court before very long.

Law enforcement authorities and others have opposed the idea of legalizing hemp, in the belief that having fields of hemp growing across the state would make it easier to also grow the mind-altering version of the plant.

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