Assembly Bill 684 seeks to legalize the growing of hemp for industrial uses -- rope, cloth, oil, all that good stuff. It's not for smoking, okay? Okay?! In fact, the bill, which passed the assembly and heads for the state senate shortly, defines "industrial hemp" as "an agricultural field crop limited to the non-psychoactive varieties of the of the plant Cannabis sativa L."

Our own Assemblyman Mark Leno is one of the authors of the bill; he, of course, is looking forward to the day when San Francisco's hydroponic community unleashes non-psychoactive hemp as a major cash crop for export.

Will it pass the senate? Well, a similar bill from last year did, and the Guvernator vetoed it. Will he do so again if it crosses his desk? We'll see. It's not an election year anymore, after all, so chances are better. His excuse last time had to do with federal laws superceding state or local ones -- and in a way, we see his point; after all, look at the whole Ed Rosenthal situation. The last thing we'd want is for some drug czar to get overzealous. But if Arnold takes a stand, and the many advocacy interest supporting groups the back him up, there could be a rich future for hemp growth throughout the state.