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Valley Farmer Ready to Grow Hemp If Approved

A bill awaiting approval by the governor would make growing hemp
plants legal in the state. The plant is used to make a variety of
everyday products, including soap, clothes and even car interiors.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has less than 30 days to sign
legislation that would allow industrial hemp to be grown in
California.

Charles Meyer says he's ready to grow the plant commonly associated
with Marijuana on over 1200 acres of his farm.

Meyer grows cotton and wheat on 2500 acres of land, but he says the
wheat isn't turning much of a profit. So he's looking to replace it
with hemp. A plant that could produce tens of thousands of products.

But law enforcement officials say industrial hemp plants can be
difficult to differentiate from marijuana, Meyer says that's not so.

"That's not true at all, one of their claims is we could hide
marijuana in a hemp field, but marijuana and hemp would cross
pollinate. If and when they cross pollinate, then the marijuana would
lose its THC. The street value would go to nothing," Meyer said.

The bill reads, the variety of seed grown to make these hemp plants
will contain less than 3/10 of 1% of THC. Meyer says he is against
growing medicinal marijuana.

He says comparing hemp to pot is like comparing the poppy seeds on
bagels to the drug heroine, which is made from poppies.

Also, hemp is grown more like wheat or cotton compared to the way pot
is grown. Meyer says growing hemp could change the ag industry.

"Eventually I think industrial hemp could become a multi-billion
dollar industry. Right now, the early plans are to process the seed
for food," said Meyer.

He says he already has the harvesters to grow the crop, and has
someone in Bakersfield ready to build a processing plant to make food
out of hemp.

"It supposed to be very helpful it has omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
which are supposed to be very helpful," Meyer said.

If the legislation is approved, Meyer says he could begin growing the
hemp as early as January. No pesticides would be used, because the
plant grows so fast and does not attract any bugs.