News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 17, 2014

Bill advances to legalize pot’s less potent cousin: hemp

Senate approves measure with unanimous vote

INDIANAPOLIS — Gregg Baumbaugh has 4,000 pounds of cannabis sitting in his automobile parts manufacturing plant. It wasn’t illegal for him to import it, but it’s against the law for Indiana farmers to grow the variety of cannabis he buys in bulk.

Baumbaugh wants to see that changed. The “weed” he uses to make the insides of interior doors and armrests at his Elkhart County business doesn’t have enough of the psychoactive ingredient THC to give anyone a marijuana mind-altering high.

“If somebody smokes the stuff we import, the only thing they’re going to get is a nasty headache,” said Baumbaugh, CEO of FlexForm.

Last month, Baumbaugh testified in favor of legislation that could open the door in Indiana to the farming and production of pot’s less potent cousin: hemp, a multipurpose crop that can be used in the production of textiles, foods, plastics, building materials and medicines.

To the surprise of the bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, the legislation passed out of the conservative, Republican-controlled Senate with unanimous support and is headed for the House. Similar legislation in past years, entangled with efforts to legalize marijuana, never got out of committee.

“Nobody was expecting it was going to be a unanimous vote,” said Yoder, who admitted he was a reluctant supporter of the bill until Baumbaugh — whose plant is in Yoder’s district  — enlightened him.

Baumbaugh spends almost $1 million a year importing hemp and other natural fibers that provide the lightweight, biodegradable material that his automobile manufacturing customers, including Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, want to have used in their car interiors. The low weight of the material helps increase the car’s fuel efficiency.

“I could save a lot of money if I could buy it locally from farmers who were allowed to grow it,” Baumbaugh said. “It’s easy to grow. That’s why they call it a ‘weed’ — you can grow it anywhere.”

Yoder concurred: “The more research I do, the more ridiculous it seems that we’re not growing hemp.”

Marijuana and hemp are different varieties of the same species of plant — Cannabis Sativa — which is why it’s not a legal cash crop in Indiana. It used to be: The federal government encouraged the state’s farmers to grow industrial hemp rope during World War II.

But the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 lumped industrial hemp with marijuana and outlawed production of both, despite their chemical differences.

According to the Hemp Industries Association, manufacturers like Baumbaugh are allowed to import industrial hemp from countries that certify their product has a low level of THC — less than one-third of 1 percent. That’s a small fraction of the THC content in marijuana, which runs 14 to 30 percent.

Senate Bill 357, which Yoder co-sponsored with Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, is a first step toward separating marijuana and hemp.

It would clear the way for universities to conduct research to identify seeds to be certified by the state to grow hemp — a critical step in culling the similar-looking marijuana and hemp plants.

The bill would put the Indiana state chemist and seed commissioner at Purdue University in charge of overseeing hemp production, in cooperation with the Indiana State Police. It also creates a licensing procedure for Indiana farmers interested in growing hemp.

None of it has meaning, though, unless the federal government clears the way. That could happen soon: The new federal farm bill, signed by President Obama this month, allows state agriculture departments and universities to grow hemp for agricultural research purposes. But it applies only to the 10 states that have legalized industrial hemp farming, as the Indiana legislation is attempting to do.

Lauren Stansbury of the Hemp Industries Association, said the new federal farm bill provides a needed first step toward encouraging states to engage in industrial hemp production.

“So often, hemp gets caught up in the politics of marijuana,” she said. “But we’re seeing more states recognize the agricultural value of hemp.”

Yoder says it helps to have farmers and manufacturers behind the bill. Retired Indiana Farm Bureau lobbyist Bob Kraft testified for the bill when it was in the Senate, lending the legislation more credence.

Baumbaugh was glad to see him there. “I was afraid it was just going to me and a bunch of potheads,” he said. “I thought if that happens, we won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing this thing get passed.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for CNHI, the Tribune-Star’s parent company. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET072914leo screen.jpg Slick’s debut

    Bobby “Slick” Leonard was the main attraction but his hometown, Terre Haute, was constantly in the background as friends, fans and family gathered in Indianapolis Tuesday night to honor the man famous for the words “Boom Baby.”

    July 29, 2014 8 Photos

  • MET 072914 TAJIMI YANASE.jpg Sister-city students get a dose of ‘new culture’

    One of Juri Sawada’s dreams has been to visit America.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Motion delays trial for 2012 homicide

    A man who has been jailed about 20 months in connection with the homicide of his wife will not go on trial next week as scheduled.

    July 29, 2014

  • Sheriff charged in prostitution case

    Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden has spent more than 30 years in law enforcement working to protect the public from criminals, but on Tuesday he was treated as one.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • maple candy closeup.jpg Vigo Parks dishing out the sweetness

    Vigo County Parks and Recreation has made a “sweet” addition to its maple syrup production at Prairie Creek Park.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Danny Rodden indicted on federal charges

    Instead of overseeing the operations of the Clark County jail and police force Tuesday, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden found himself being transported by the FBI to Indianapolis to answer federal charges.

    July 29, 2014 1 Story

  • Woman’s condition ‘fair’ after grocery store wreck

    A Terre Haute woman was listed in fair condition Tuesday at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • Semi driver cited for alcohol use

    A commercial vehicle driver has been placed out of service after he tested positive for alcohol consumption during a Tuesday morning traffic stop in Sullivan County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Church to give out school backpacks

    United Methodist Temple will stage its first-ever Back-2-School Bash from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9.
    The church is located at 5301 S. U.S. 41.

    July 29, 2014

  • Elderly woman in fair condition after accident in Baesler’s lot

    An 80-year-old Terre Haute woman is listed in fair condition today at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis as the result of injuries sustained in Monday’s accident on the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 29, 2014

  • 2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A video camera captured the terrifying plight of two women who became trapped on an 80-foot-high railroad bridge by a freight train that surprised them as they walked along the tracks.

    July 29, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 29, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois to ask voters about taxing millionaires

    BERWYN, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation allowing voters to weigh in on whether Illinois millionaires should pay more income tax.

    July 29, 2014

  • Illinois woman dies retrieving phone from fire

    BARTONVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say a central Illinois woman is dead after running back into her burning home to get her cell phone. A police officer who tried to save her was hospitalized.

    July 29, 2014

  • Ivy Tech names Jeff Fanter senior VP, Anne Valentine VP

    Ivy Tech Community College President Thomas J. Snyder announced the promotion of Jeff Fanter to the role of senior vice president for student experience, communications and marketing and Anne Valentine to the role of vice president for student experience and customer service.

    July 29, 2014

  • Change in traffic patterns at U.S. 41 intersection improvement project

    VIGO COUNTY, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation reminds motorists the intersection improvement project on U.S. 41 from just south of Interstate 70 to just south of Johnson Drive has switched traffic phases. Traffic is prohibited from turning left off of U.S. 41 at both Johnson and Davis Drives.

    July 29, 2014

  • IU commemorating WWI centennial in 2014-15

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana University plans to spend the upcoming academic year exploring the lingering impact of World War I.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana higher ed chief rolls out class load campaign

    Indiana's higher education commissioner wants college students to get the message that they should take at least 15 credit hours each semester if they expect to graduate on time.

    July 29, 2014

  • MET 072814 BUS MEYERROSE.jpg Bus safety features

    New safety features on South Vermillion School Corp. buses have led to fewer disciplinary problems and fewer incidents of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses, officials say.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pendergast.jpg Humvee driver says foot caused fatal accident

    Kyle Pendergast, 22, the Terre Haute driver of a black Humvee charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing the death of a teenager, has told police he could not turn the wheel before the vehicle flipped in a field in an early Saturday morning accident.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 072814 CONTAMINATED Cleaner may have contaminated water

    Groundwater and soil testing is set to begin within a week to learn whether toxic chemicals might have seeped into the wells of a small southside neighborhood and even beyond.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • Housing Authority’s Warren Village nearing completion

    Construction on the newest Terre Haute Housing Authority property – Warren Village – should wrap up next month, a housing authority official said Monday.

    July 29, 2014

  • rush-hr.jpg Observers predict ‘wide open’ process of picking next chief

    State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Dickson surprised observers in June when he decided to step down after a brief tenure as the state’s top judge.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Multi-vehicle accident in parking lot

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after a multiple-vehicle accident late Monday morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot on Poplar Street

    July 29, 2014

  • Old National acquires Michigan bank

    Evansville-based Old National Bancorp and Grand Rapids-based Founders Financial Corp. said Monday they have finalized an agreement under which Old National will acquire Founders through a stock and cash merger.

    July 28, 2014

  • Ohio man falls to death at Cataract Falls rec area

    Indiana conservation officers are investigating the death of an Ohio man that occurred at about 4:10 p.m. Sunday at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area in Owen County.

    July 28, 2014

  • 65,000 chickens die in rural Indiana fire

    WARSAW, Ind. (AP) — Thousands of chickens have been killed in a fire on a northern Indiana farm.

    July 28, 2014

  • One person hospitalized after parking lot pile-up

    A woman was hospitalized with injuries after an accident late this morning in the Baesler’s Market parking lot.

    July 28, 2014

  • Indiana teachers worry about revamped ISTEP test

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana teachers are heading back to classrooms starting this week and face the daunting task of preparing students for a standardized test that’s been retooled three times since 2009.

    July 28, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Raw: Earthquake Rocks Mexico's Gulf Coast Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Today in History for July 29th Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity