Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

First Commercial Hemp crop harvested in Colo

Just days ago, our good friend state Rep. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) said, in a comment to a post on this blog,
Regarding hemp, I realize that its THC content is minute and it has uses but I do not think it will ever be an agro-giant.
I really do appreciate John engaging in dialogue here but I have to shake my head at how dense he sometimes seems to be. This statement belies the blinders a supposed free-market kind of guy puts on himself.

First, bravo for recognizing that the THC content in hemp is inconsequential. Second, "it has uses" is perhaps just a tiny understatement. It has hundreds, if not thousands of beneficial uses. Third, that you do not think it will ever be an "agro-giant" means you very likely have not bothered to read the available literature on the market potential for hemp crops.

Further, literature on land and water use issues, fertilizer and weed control suggest the potential for providing an incredible boost to the Arizona economy is far higher than your blinders currently allow you to see.

Okay, here's the bottom line for this blog post.
Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin made history last weekend by harvesting the nation's first commercial hemp crop in 56 years.
Hemp advocates said Loflin's harvest is a landmark event that could one day lead to larger-scale domestic farming of hemp for industrial uses such as food additives, cosmetics and building materials. [...]

The sale of hemp products in the U.S. reached an estimated $500 million last year, according to the Hemp Industries Association. Yet all of the hemp used for the products was imported because federal law prohibits its cultivation in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The last known commercial crop was harvested in Wisconsin in 1957.

Colorado's passage of Amendment 64 paved the way for legal cultivation of hemp... 
So, John, shouldn't you really be in favor of a crop with potential economic impact like this? By the way, right now apparently 93 percent of the world's annual crop of industrial hemp comes from China.

Shouldn't Arizona farmers be able to get some of that action?

Here's a pdf of plant biologist Dr. David P. West's paper on Hemp and Marijuana 1998.


  1. Steve,

    You are truly a master, perhaps unwittingly, of the “straw man” argument or in this case, the “hemp man” argument. You end this post by asking me, “So, John, shouldn't you really be in favor of a crop with potential economic impact like this?” But who said I oppose it? Only you!

    I made two points about hemp, as you restated. First, that its THC content is minute and since that is the only reason asserted to make it illegal, that should have made you surmise that I did not have a problem legalizing it. I also conceded that it has uses. Saying that you do not think it will be a big seller does not make me a blind free market guy. It makes me a skeptic who isn’t about to invest in hemp farming.

    So let’s get back to the straw man. You falsely claim that I am against hemp, when I never said I oppose it and I even conceded that the historic reason against its production (THC content) is unfounded. So our disagreement comes down to whether hemp will become a big crop in the future. Time will tell but do not say I am against something I never said I opposed.

    Of course, this was not your only regression to the “straw man” argument. In the original post that started this all, Arizona's Imminent Disruptive Innovation in Solar Electricity, I advanced challenges to your main argument that solar energy would become a big player soon and disrupt the current market and powers that be. I challenged the credibility of the FERC chair you cited in support of your position and I challenged the Deutsche bank assertion that solar “Within eighteen months… will be able to compete in three-quarters of the world’s electricity markets without subsidies.”

    Regarding my criticism of the FERC chair, you denuded it down to simply that he was a lawyer, ignoring my points that he had no expertise in the economics of solar (goes to credibility) and the fact that as an attorney, he practiced in the solar energy field (goes to neutrality.) That was “straw man” number two.

    Then to make matters worse, you totally ignored my argument that the prediction by the Deutsche Bank that solar could stand on its own was contradicted by the economic reality of solar in Germany today, as cited in the New York Times. To wit:

    "German families are being hit by rapidly increasing electricity rates, to the point where growing numbers of them can no longer afford to pay the bill. Businesses are more and more worried that their energy costs will put them at a disadvantage to competitors in nations with lower energy costs, and some energy-intensive industries have begun to shun the country because they fear steeper costs ahead."(

    So let’s brush the straw men aside and discuss this highly questionable claim by Deutsche Bank that in 18 months Arizona can eliminate solar subsidies to manufactures, producers and homeowners and get rid of the utility mandate because it will be able to stand on its own. Could you please link me to that citation because I would like to see it in context? Also, do you really think that that is true? If not, when do you think solar will be able to carry its own load? No pun intended.

  2. Setting aside the verbosity of your reply, it sounds like your actual intent was to 1) instruct me on how I was wrong and 2) clarify your position on hemp.

    To that end, can we expect to see your name, in 2014, on legislation similar to that set forth by Darden Hamilton in 2001?

    I'll look further at your questions regarding the solar issue when I get a chance. Bottom line there seems to be your final question, when I think solar will be capable of thriving without subsidies. Good question that's worthy of additional discussion.

    And by all means, clarify your position or statements and my understanding on them whenever you want -- especially when you want to point out where you and I agree.

  3. I am awaiting a legal opinion from legislative lawyers on the legal status of hemp, at the state level. However, I suspect that federal legislation is needed, which is, to quote our president, "Above my pay grade."

    However, if the feds allow it, I see no problem with allowing it. I would not spend state money to subsidize it and becuse you say its many uses have already been proven, I see no need for state funded research.

  4. I appreciate the response, and I understand the two potential issues. I look forward to seeing what can be worked out. Thanks John.