Hemp bill moves to full Senate for debate


By Paige Clarkimages-7TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – Industrial hemp grown in Indiana could provide another option for Hoosiers farmers un

der legislation that a Senate committee passed Friday.

Senate Bill 357 – authored by Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown – would allow farmers to apply for a license to grow and produce industrial hemp.

“Industrial hemp has over 50,000 uses” Young said. “The land that we’ve got here will produce hemp very well.”

Young named several uses for industrial hemp including medicines, textiles, ropes, paper products, plastics, automotive factory material, and building materials.

Two Hoosier mothers testified in support of the production of hemp for medical purposes. Both women have children with Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that begins in infancy.

“Something as simple as a plant might help” my son, Mariah Mershon said.

“The results are powerful, the stories are dramatic,” said Dr. Trent Jones a lobbyist for Parents for Cannabidol. “It is an immediate, dramatic medicine for children that have drug-resisted epilepsy.”

CBD is a compound in cannabis that has medical effects without the psychoactive effects commonly associated with marijuana.

Mershon said her son has suffered from more than 50 seizures in a four-hour time span.

“What’s wine without the alcohol? It’s just grapes. What’s this cannabis without the THC? It’s just a fern,” Mershon said. “We would really like the opportunity to help our son.”

Bob Craft, a spokesman for the North American Industrial Hemp Council, addressed the concern that industrial hemp could be used to produce marijuana or other psychoactive drugs.

“They’re two different plants, two different products,” Craft said. “It would make more sense to prohibit poppy-seed dressing in the grocery store because poppy can be used to produce opium than it does to outlaw industrial hemp.”

Industrial hemp contains less than .03 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol – known as THC – which is below the federal limit and does not cause a “mind-altering” sensation.

The bill “could provide a new source of income for our farmers, allow new industries to develop in our state and go a long way towards protecting and improving Indiana’s beautiful and natural environment,” said Neil Smith, a lobbyist for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Smith said hemp was commonly grown in Indiana until 1937.

“Hemp in Indiana would provide thousands of new, sustainable and well-paying jobs. It will provide a new tax base for state and local governments,” he said. “Hoosier farmers would profit greatly from hemp.”

Smith said Canadian farmers earn $200-$250 net profit per acre form growing hemp, according to Seed and Grain Sales.

Greg Bomba, an executive at Flexform Technologies, said his company uses the natural fibers of hemp in the transportation and office furniture industries.

Young said that automotive factory materials made from industrial hemp are 20 times stronger and lighter than steel. Also, these parts will not “rust, crush or burn.”

Bomba’s company imports 2,200 tons of industrial hemp annually because it’s the “perfect product.”

However, because hemp is not locally grown, Bomba said his company spends $600,000-$1 million to import it from countries like China, Canada and India.

“(Hemp) is being used, it’s being imported into the state,” Craft said, “The market exists in Indiana.”

Ten states have already passed legislation to legalize the production of industrial hemp.

“I see no reason why Indiana shouldn’t be one of the leaders in hemp,” said Jack Cain, another lobbyist for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “I think our soil is a little more fertile than Kentucky. ”

Officials in Kentucky recently said they want their state to be the nation’s leader in the hemp industry.

“This is a great bill.” Cain said, “It will generate jobs and a lot of activity from an economic standpoint.”

The Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee members passed the bill to a standing ovation.

“I love you guys,” shouted an excited bystander when the bill passed 7-0. “You just made a bunch of Hoosiers happy.”

Paige Clark is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.


  1. For those who harp about the founding fathers, I wonder what they’d have to say about marijuana prohibition?

    • I have no idea Ghost, but to import mega-tons of hemp from other countries when it could, and should be grown here is beyond me.

    • They would say, as per the Constitution, “It’s a state government decision, not federal”.

      • The social conservatives are dying out. The young Republicans are libertarians. If you liberals will stop denigrating them as ‘extreme right wing nutjobs’ and search for ways to find common ground with them, we could end this nonsense and legalize marijuana completely. It’s headed that direction.

        I’m sick of looking at the ‘recent bookings’ articles and seeing another life ruined and and another jail cell occupied because of someone possessing or selling pot.

        But the DEA have jobs. The cops have their new tanks and toys they bought with money confiscated from pot busts. The CIA deals pot grown in the fields of Afghanistan and Mexico to fund secret wars and arms deals. The private contractors who run some prisons are cleaning up. Authoritarianism pays…for those lucky enough to be the authorities. The rest of us get to live the legacy of FDR-era prohibition.

        • Don’t forget big pharma, tobacco, alcohol, and attorneys. I know why it’s illegal, and it’s tyranny.

          • Damn Tom, we agree on something. I have a lot of experience in the substance abuse arena and it’s a major industry and a drain on tax dollars that could be better spent elsewhere. Legalizing drugs would empty out the prisons and jail. Most of the people in jail for drugs are not in there for the actual drugs but for criminal activities required to get the drugs. We could cut our police force in half.

          • Don’t forget all the children of jailed drug offenders that are being supported by the state. Release them and give them a legitimate profession as a cannabis farmer, shopkeep, worker in a processing plant, etc. Vote out all politicians who are taking bribes from lobbyists who work to keep cannibis illegal.

        • I’m obviously not a republican, but are they not embarrassed to have you as chairman? I’m embarrassed for them.

    • Legalize it all. People that use drugs are getting all they can afford. There is no reason to keep drugs illegal, all drugs should be treated the same as alcohol. It’s not that difficult for a person to justify their drug of choice because the bottomline is that a drug is a drug is a drug. The most dangerous thing about the current illegal drugs is the drug seeking activities that endanger all of us. Obama did not go for enough. It would be easier to stop sex than to stop illicit drug use.

  2. That’s a good question!


    Since we NEVER know where the Republicans stand on issues these days, I have to ask, where does the Vanderburgh County Republican party stand on the marijuana decriminalization topic?

    BTW, this is my real name and I am a real person. Ask the mayor.


    Brent Jackson

    • Brent, really don’t see this as a Republican issue. I would hope they it let go with no comments. Most republican that I know have jobs and anyone that values their job would not use drugs. I know you will come up with the name of a republican who uses drugs, go ahead and mention Rush and get it out of the way. It would be difficult to name a democrat, not because there aren’t any but figuring out where to start. This could actually be beneficial for republicans because it is well documented that MJ represses the memory. That said it’s possible that most democrats would forget to vote. Also if MJ was legal it would be cheap and not a good bribe on election day.

      • I don’t smoke marijuana, but that doesn’t stop me from being objective about the issue.

        • I don’t smoke it, but probably should. It would probably make me a less pushy, opinionated old witch.

          • If you smoked it you would still be the same way but wouldn’t care. Very shortly we would be able to recognize you at the grocery store with a cart full of oreo cookies. Years ago when I worked in a correctional facility an inmate advised me to smoke MJ so I wouldn’t be so intense. Didn’t take him up on it, but have always been curious.

          • LOL, You’re high spirited, but despite what you or others might think, I like you as you are not as I would like you to be. Put down the joint. Oops, telling you what to do will make you take a drag.

            But we have to watch regulator. He has had us married, and now has us exchanging $5 kisses. He does not perceive the wrath he is calling down upon his head. 🙂

    • I use to have a Brent Jackson who worked for me. Are you that person?

      I am opposed to legalizing marijuana. While there is some good arguments to legalize it, in my judgment the cons for out weigh the pros.

  3. Industrial hemp production is a good thing for Indiana.
    Legalization of marijuana would be a GREAT thing for all of Indiana, unless you happen to be in the private prison business.

    • I really like this comment even though I’m not on anything illegal other than what my boy calls it; “The sweet nectar of life.” – alcohol

  4. I’m for medical and industrial hemp. In fact, I really don’t care about recreational use.

    My concern is that those supporting industrial and medical use really want it for recreational use. That’;s fine, just be honest about your agenda.

    I am also concerned that we will give legal store fronts to criminals. Yes, if you are selling MJ you have shown a disregard for the law that everyone else must live by in favor of profit.

  5. Cool leaf, “food, fuel, paper, housing, oil, and textiles, but “inspiration?” I could perhaps go with “recreation,” but I don’t think I want my co-worker, pilot, or the person driving in the next lane to be inspired on MJ any more than I want them inspired on booze.

    • You must realize I like you enoch.

      But you MUST get out of being STUCK in the slow lane or you’re going to end up getting hit in the ass by a dinosaur.

      Just remember this: No one has ever OD’d on MJ.

      But untold thousands do every year on the Federally Prescribed Prescription stuff.

      Come on man! You can do it.

      Now kiss elkaybee and make up.

      Naturally, just kidding

      • Should I give give LKB $5 for the kiss?

        Better in the slow lane than dealing wiht those “inspired” drivers.

        I think MJ is like booze, some can handle it, and it ruins the lives of some. We need to change lanes with caution.

        • I would think LKB would request more than that for you to just go away.

          I’ve never put a controlled substance to my lips in my lifetime, but unless someone is braindead,aka (tommiromo,) we must realize it’s costing us more in lost tax revenue, enforcement cost, and just basically screwing up people’s lives than what legalization would be.

          Don’t forget enoch, the cartels stated it was going to cost them $10 billion when Colorado & Washington State legalized it.

          You on their side, or this one?

          “Every man’s life is a gamble, it depends on the turn that he takes.”

          • Unlike LKB, I can be bribed. I’m always seeing my time for $5.

            I’m on my side on this one. we have to be careful to not give the cartel a legal store front.

      • Maybe no one has OD’d but my personal experience around MJ is very, very bad. I’ve seen many people turned into to apathetic dunderheads who only cared about getting high, just like the alcoholic only cares about getting drunk.

        Two of my high school classmates got started on MJ and then went to stronger drugs. One died of an OD and the other spent about 20 years as a quasi-vegetable and he ended up killing himself with a shotgun.

        They tried to get me to try it and I thought it was the stupidest thing ever. I don’t like losing control of my faculties. (I’m a teetotaler and the strongest thing I take is a cafe mocha)

        Yes I know personal experiences are not scientific evidence and I know MJ isn’t supposed to be a gateway drug but I just wonder about that.

        That being said I think the drug war is a complete and total failure and locking people up for decades for possession is the height of stupidity.
        Heck drinking and driving isn’t even a felony! Anybody who would crawl behind the wheel stoned OR Drunk deserves to be punished severely!!

        Anywho in a referendum on the legalization of MJ I would probably vote FOR/Yes IF there were strict regulations.

        My two cents worth.

        • Nothing like a heart felt response.

          Thanks Benton & remember, I’ve never put it to my mouth by I know the destruction it’s causing financially more than the physical harm.

          Thanks bro!

          • I’ve smoked MJ. I’ve drank alcohol. Give me the MJ. If it were legal, I’d use it on a regular basis and it would not affect my career or personal life in a negative way. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were bald faced liars.

        • I drank alot. In the 70’s I had an unreal fast car. It ran on gasoline, and I ran on alcohol. I estimate that I have ran through 8 7/8 of my nine life luck.

          Never toked a joint or a cigarette. Tobacco made no sense, and I knew I would not stop at MJ.

          I’ve seen good minds burned out by it, and I know good minds that have used it.

          All I ask is that those supporting it be honest about what they want, recreational use, and quit holding up picture of cancer patients in hemp sweaters and telling me that is the main reason they want it.

          And no, MJ is not “inspirational.” If one thinks it is, then to many blunts have dulled one’s mind.

  6. So this bill is about hemp and not marijuana?
    You can’t get high off of hemp, it’s a different plant altogether. jus sayin’…..

Comments are closed.