Several of us thought it was funny, or maybe even fitting in a cynical kind of way, that the first question U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack got in his Weaverville town hall meeting last night was about cannabis and hemp production. But Vilsack treated the question quite seriously.
The secretary indicated he believes there's merit to allowing production of industrial hemp, noting that Canada and other competing nations are doing so. He said he's raised the issue with Attorney General Eric Holder and hasn't received much of a response.
As much as it's tried to advance into the mainstream, the whole weed issue still elicits giggles from some of us who can't resist. But hemp industry representatives cringe when their product is lumped in with marijuana. Here's a story I did on hemp in 2010, in which a Chico businesswoman stressed that the two are not the same.