Letter: Hemp farmers need support, not interference

Libby Meier with dried hemp flowers
IT'S NOT POT: Libby Meier, a hemp grower at Green River Botanicals, examines some dried hemp flowers. The strain of this plant is Cherry Mom. Photo by Laura Hackett

After having finished reading “Don’t Inhale Just Yet: Budding Hemp Industry Holds Its Breath Over Potential Flower Ban” [June 26, Xpress], I took a deep breath and read it again. Farmers across the nation, including those in North Carolina, continually struggle to survive financially, and hemp is a crop that can assist N.C. farmers to stay out of more debt and perhaps even earn a few dollars.

I found it hard to believe that the State Bureau of Investigation had the nerve to complain to the N.C. legislature that allowing farmers to grow hemp and harvest the plant, including the flowers, is going to make law enforcement more difficult. Has the SBI not yet heard that their “war on drugs” (especially as it pertains to pot), has failed miserably? They have wasted millions of dollars of taxpayer money arresting and prosecuting people for smoking marijuana.

Somebody needs to redirect the SBI into putting their resources toward fighting real crime with real victims. The SBI needs to stop worrying about wasting more time and money pursuing enforcement of laws that will be repealed at some point, hopefully soon. Certainly, the last thing that our N.C. farmers need is for a state agency like the SBI to be complaining that they are going to have a harder time arresting people for violating marijuana laws if farmers are allowed to harvest an otherwise legal crop.

Many states throughout the country are getting on board and legalizing marijuana. Southern states, including North Carolina, are lagging behind but will catch up someday, hopefully soon. In the meantime, let our farmers grow hemp without legislative interference. Legislative assistance as opposed to interference will be of more value to all of us, but especially to farmers.

I may be a bit biased as I have a son-in-law who has been an organic farmer for over 10 years now. However, having a farmer in the family also gives me some insight into how difficult it is to be a farmer. I’ve seen him work very long hours six to seven days a week, struggling with and against nature in order to grow food for our community. Now that hemp is legal to grow, he’s giving it a try in an effort to get some supplemental income. There’s no guarantee he will make a penny off the crop. Flooding, hail and other acts of nature continually battle farmers and make it difficult to harvest crops.

One thing that he and other farmers don’t need is for the SBI to complain to lawmakers about how much harder it’s going to be for them to enforce laws that should no longer be on the books in this day and age. All of our state agencies should team up to assist our farmers, not interfere as the SBI is doing. Thank you.

— Larry Nestler


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2 thoughts on “Letter: Hemp farmers need support, not interference

  1. Keith Caughran

    Dont any of these hemp farmers want to grow medical cannabis, like licensed growers can in the 34 states that have comprehensive medical marijuana programs?

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