Governor George Ryan (R) vetoed legislation Friday that would have allowed the University of Illinois to grow non-psychoactive hemp for research purposes. It was the second time this year Ryan has rejected legislation to study the economic feasibility of hemp cultivation.
"Ryan's recalcitrance on this issue shows he is playing politics at the expense of Illinois farmers and deliberately misrepresenting the facts regarding hemp's economic viability as an agricultural crop," NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup said.
Ryan said he vetoed the measure, which would have allowed privately funded research into the cultivation of hemp "varieties with a zero level of THC," because other studies had convinced him that it's not a financially lucrative crop. In fact, several state-sponsored hemp studies have drawn just the opposite conclusion.
A 1998 study performed by The North Dakota Institute for Natural Resources and Economic Development found that hemp could yield profits as high as $141 per acre. A University of Kentucky study released that same year projected even higher returns. It concluded that hemp farming could yield a profit of approximately $320 per acre for fiber production and $600 per acre for raising certified seed.
State Sen. Evelyn Bowles (D-Edwardsville), who sponsored the hemp-research bill, hopes to override Gov. Ryan's veto.
For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-8751.