Opinion » Mail

Mail and Commentary Feb. 17

Too Bad on Hemp

Last week Idaho's farmers were denied the right to grow industrial hemp by a tie vote in a House committee. Rep. Dennis Lake objected to the proposal, saying the legalization could add an unneeded burden on law enforcement officers. Lake expressed concern that officers could struggle in differentiating between legal hemp fields and illegal marijuana operations.

Does Rep. Lake think our cops are stupid? Canadian cops had to learn the difference between hemp and marijuana 13 years ago when that more sensible nation allowed its farmers to prosper in this new industry. There has not been one case of any problems of hemp farmers using their licenses to grow drugs. Instead, Canadian farmers just over the Idaho border and industries across Canada are prospering while Idaho farmers are made to sit on their hands. If Canadian cops can learn a little botany, I suggest our American cops can be trained to do the same.

My thanks go out to hemp's supporters on the House Agriculture Affairs Committee, Rep. Tom Trail, Rep. Brian Cronin, Rep. Eric Anderson and Rep. Donna Pence for lending their support to this sensible resolution. I wish them better luck next year.

--Don E. Wirtshafter,

Guysville, Ohio

Fight Areva

What is wrong with this picture when a giant French company is receiving tax breaks from the State of Idaho and a possible $2-billion loan guarantee from the federal government to build a centrifuge plant near Idaho Falls in the near future? All Idahoans should be alarmed because:

• We shouldn't encourage and finance a foreign company to compromise our own nuclear security and potentially contaminate the Snake River aquifer.

• There is no known disposal pathway for radioactive material with a 500,000-year half-life that would endanger our aquifer, our air and our land.

• It would result in radioactive material traveling both into Idaho for manufacturing and out of Idaho in enriched uranium product. This poses a very real and unacceptable threat to public health and safety.

• At a time when the United States is leading the international charge that says Iran is a rogue nation for enriching its uranium stockpile, it is ironic that Americans and Idahoans would do the same.

Many would argue, saying it will create jobs and income for us, but at what cost to us, our children and our grandchildren? We should all be tired of huge tax breaks for the worst industries in the world while we dismantle human services and public education here in this state. I challenge all Idahoans to make their voices heard and stop Areva's project.

--Brad Siegel,

Twin Falls