Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where are the Farmers and Environmentalists ?

I can’t understand why Michigan farmers are not jumping up and down mad over the fact we import $ 360 million worth of a crop they can easily grow and keep that money in OUR economy. I know in the big scheme of things, $ 360 million is not a lot but to me it is and I want my part of the pie.

Besides, the hemp industry is growing bigger each year and is not showing any signs of letting up. In Canada, Manitoba Harvest (, who exports hemp foods beyond North America, sales have skyrocketed more than 500% over the past year.

I am always being asked by politicians how the Michigan Farm Bureau feels about hemp. The last contact I had with them a week ago was that they “have no position on the Industrial Hemp issue.”

Damn, where have I heard that before, could it have been a Township, County Government, or State legislator? As I think back, yes; from all of the above.

So, to you farmers out there, I have one thing to say. Wake the hell up! You are getting screwed and don’t even give a crap! There was a time when all it took was one angry farmer about something like this and pretty soon you had a mob. Are you guys turning soft, or what?

Farmers aren’t the only ones who are keeping this as a back-burner issue, though. Environmentalists and Green Energy folks should be angry as well. Industrial Hemp is an environmentally friendly crop that uses little or no pesticides and can be used in everything from biofuels to concrete, and if it is made with petroleum it can be made with hemp.

The Michigan Sierra Club as well as many other green and clean groups have pretty much all responded to me the same. “At this time we have no position on the Industrial Hemp issue.” Wow, where have I heard that before?

Just because I failed on my efforts in Montmorency County doesn’t mean I am finished. I am by no means going to give up; in fact I am just getting started. If you want to know what is going to happen now all I will say is look UP. It won’t be long.

The question is will MIHEMP be doing it alone again while the farmers, and clean/green folks sit back and watch? Or are you going to get off your ass and stand beside us and speak out? Oh I forgot, you don’t have a position on the Industrial Hemp issue.


Everett Swift
MIHEMP Executive Director

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What was not covered in last nights news story

Tuesday at a meeting which included Commissioner LaFleche, Commissioner Young, the County Attorney, Briley Township Supervisor John Zollars, and myself an agreement was made that they were not to vote on the resolution in exchange for a letter form the County Attorney that says Montmorency County has no laws that prohibit the growing of Industrial Hemp. Mr. Zollars and I worked very hard and decided that was that best outcome we were going to get.

I emailed Christina Vecchioni of 9 & 10 news to let her know that the Resolution would not be on the agenda for Wednesdays board meeting so she called Commissioner Young to do a follow up for her story. Mr. Young told her that the resolution is still on the agenda and will be voted on. She immediately emailed me and informed me of what he said.

So yesterday morning Mr. Zollars and I expected the resolution to be taken off the agenda during the additions and deletions part of the meeting.

When it did not get deleted I talked to Mr. Zollars in the break and confirmed that he and I both had the same understanding of what was supposed to take place and asked the County Administrator and the County Attorney if the resolution was going to be voted on and both said yes it was just a formality.

So I made a request to make a statement before the vote and was granted permission. Two times the subject of my request to make a statement was brought up and each time I made it clear that I wanted to say something "Before the Vote" and the board never gave any indication that they would not be voting on it.

Based on this information I choose to say what I did; I was pissed off that they were not going to honor the agreement and decided I have had enough of their crap.

As soon as I stood up both TV cameras immediately turned to me. At first I read a short statement as a resident of Montmorency County. At that point I said “now I am speaking as the Executive Director of M I Hemp.”

Here is part of what I said; I held up a MIHEMP brochure and said, “If any of you have even taken the time to open the folders I provided you would know what MIHEMP is and see my name listed. When I send out an email it goes to 1081 people as of last night.”

Then I held up a copy of the Hemp is Hot booklet and said,
  • If you contact any of the businesses or organizations in this or anyone dealing with Industrial Hemp in Canada or the United States and ask where you should do business in Michigan you may have to be referred to someone else but eventually it will lead right back to me. I work on a three strike rule and this is your third strike, the people who support this issue will go out of their way to spend money in a community or business that we see as friendly to Industrial Hemp, likewise we will go out of our way to avoid a community that we view as unfriendly to our cause.
  • I am finished with Montmorency County and have wasted enough time here, we will find another county in Michigan that will pass a resolution and the first county to do it is where we will take our business. I was under the impression that we had a deal, this was not to be voted on and I find out last night from a TV news station that you are going to vote any way. I think what you are doing is rather underhanded so go ahead, vote to kill the resolution so we can move on.
Then I sat down.

Mr. LaFleche snapped back, "Mr. Swift, I thought we had settled this yesterday.” Before I could say so did I, the County Attorney went on a rant about how in 2003 “ the DEA decided that hemp and Marijuana are the same under the law, and even though I know that it only has trace amounts of THC and you can not get high from it. I went to law school, I have to advise the Board on the law and the fact is Hemp is illegal." I wanted to ask her a question but she said “I didn’t interrupt you when you were speaking so let me finish” I said “fair enough” and let her finish her rant.

When she finished I asked her if I could ask a question and Mr. LaFleche said “No, this is finished with.

Mr. Young said, “Mr. Swift when you go to the other counties please tell them we did not vote on the resolution.” I replied “only the facts” and that was the end of it, no vote was taken. I am not quite sure why he said that.

After the meeting was over I shook everyone’s hand, smiled and told them it was noting personal, I am just doing my job. When I shook the County Attorneys hand I said, the question I was going to ask you in the meeting was would you not agree that the law allows the permits to be applied for as the DEA Rules require under the statute.

She said “I don’t know I have never looked at that law”

All I could do was walk away and shake my head.

She may have went to law school but she apparently doesn't know that when a statute or code is recited in a document or in arguments that she is supposed to look at and report the facts of that statute.

I didn't go to law school but I know that much.

I had quite a few people ask me not to give up on Montmorency County and please don't go to another county but I told them I have wasted enough time here it is time to move on.

I got a great satisfaction in the fact that Christina interviewed the County Attorney, Mr. LaFleche, and me on camera after the meeting. And when it aired I was the only one that made it on the news cast. She interviewed me for 10 minutes and I think aired less then 10 seconds of it.

But that’s still more then she gave them!

Everett Swift

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Announcing New MIHEMP Blog

Welcome to the Michigan Hemp Blog, the best source for the most up-to-date information on:

  • News of MIHEMP activities, events, and happenings in the state and nation regarding the reintroduction of Industrial Hemp in Michigan as an agricultural and industrial resource
  • Posts of YouTube videos on hemp as a resource, hemp education, and videolog updates
  • Information on contacting the Board, and their efforts at opening hemp to Michigan industry
  • Reasons hemp needs to be allowed as an agricultural and industrial resource
  • What you can do
  • Dates and locations of fairs, shows, showings and other events sponsored or tabled by MIHEMP, its board members or affiliate membership
This will also be a place where we can discuss:

  • Strategy
  • New information on the environmental benefits of biofuels, biocomposites, and other uses of hemp
  • How hemp and MIHEMP can be part of the solution for Michigan's stumbling economy and degrading environment
Inside, you will meet board members, community activists, our members, and be invited to be members of Michigan's largest hemp activist community!

I truly welcome you to enjoy and be part of MIHEMP, the Michigan Industrial Hemp Education and Marketing Project. We are headed by Everett Swift, our fearless Executive Director, and this blog will be monitored and edited by him and I.



Paul Pearson, Communications Director, MIHEMP/
1st Post, Wednesday, January 27, 2010 | 9:37pm