High Expectations

Paranoia causes the Legislature to do an about-face on industrial hemp production.

FOR A MOMENT, spirits were higher than usual at 703 W. Lake St. in Minneapolis, home of the hemp and head shop, the Third Stone. On May 9, a bill sponsored by Majority Leader Roger Moe (DFL-Erskine) was unanimously passed through the Minnesota Senate, allowing the agricultural station at the University of Minnesota to study the feasibility of industrial hemp production here. According to staffers in Moe's office, who inexplicably requested to remain nameless, the language of the bill was actually toned down before it left the agriculture committee, where the majority wanted farmers interested in growing hemp to begin a federal registration process. But, sensing reticence in the House, Senate sponsors decided to start slowly with a study. Even that was too much. During the last week of the session, the House refused to take action on similar language drafted by Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis).

Third Stone co-owner Tari Sullivan admits Moe's involvement with the legislation surprised the "hell" out of everyone in her shop, but notes that the hemp movement's been working on lawmakers for years. Eleven other states this year considered legislation encouraging hemp study and/or growth. In Vermont and Hawaii (where dope is called pakaloo), studies are already underway. "People are starting to realize that this has nothing to do with the dumb drug war," she says. "Hemp is just stock. The THC yield is less than 1 percent."

BUTT STEAK STAKES

JUST BEFORE NOON on Memorial Day, a few lone vegetarians were squeezing produce at the Wedge Community Co-op on Lyndale, a couple picnickers sampled salads coloring the deli case, and a sun-washed biker filled his knapsack with rice. Everyone else, it seemed, was crowded around the new meat and seafood department, salivating over grillables--freshly ground Rocky Mountain Natural Beef, iced salmon, organic butt steak, even Cajun-flavored brats. Chris Koch, the Wedge's seafood manager, says business at the meat counter has blossomed since opening day, April 28. "We can hardly keep up," she says, efficiently packing a pound of chops for a mother of three.

Two years ago, when the co-op began to plan a $3.1 million remodeling and expansion, its 4,500 members were polled for suggested changes. Jeanne Lakso, the Wedge's marketing manager, said survey participants asked for meat more frequently than any other item. Still, when the renovation was completed this past March, Lakso estimates that at least two dozen members were upset enough with the increased visibility of fresh animal flesh to cancel their memberships. On April 23, rocks were thrown through windows on the south side of the store, where the meat would be stored just five days later. Employees, including Koch, assume the damage was meant to send a message.

Management, however, views the vandalism as an anonymous, pointless act. "Whether we have Campbell's soup or free-range chickens is not why people want to shop at a co-op. The real difference is that people who shop here also have a say in the business. It's a true democracy," Lakso says. "I mean, where else are you going to shop for meat? Cub?!"

KISS U ASS

Whoever said logrolling isn't a sport should've read the Star Tribune over the Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, May 24, a brief on the front page of the sports section said Sid Hartman, the Strib's columnist-turned-worn athletic supporter, has been named to the 1997 "M" Club Hall of Fame at the University of Minnesota, along with 11 alumni athletes and coaches. The next day, Hartman used his Sunday column to defend Gophers Men's Athletic Director Mark Dienhart, who's come under fire in light of recent allegations of sexual harassment against the men's basketball program.

"I've watched first (Vice President of Student Affairs McKinley) Boston and then Dienhart operate. If anything, there were times when I thought they were too strict," Hartman wrote. "These are different times. You don't have the control you had years ago." Carl Pohlad take note: If you want Hartman to carry more water for a new Twins Stadium, you might think about hanging his portrait next to Kirby's at the Dome. CP


PUBLIC DOMAIN

Recent lower-court rulings affirmed by the Minnesota Court of Appeals:

Larrish Humphrey vs. State of Minnesota

Facts:Humphrey argues that there was insufficient evidence to support his conviction for second-degree assault, claiming that while involved in a scuffle with the victim, he accidentally, not intentionally, stabbed the victim three times... On Dec. 20, appellant and the victim were involved in a "scuffle" in the hall of the rooming house. During the scuffle, appellant gave the victim a "bear hug" and the victim was stabbed in the back three times.

The Court Says:"We conclude that the... evidence was sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that the stabbing was intentional."

Erin Anders vs. Ronald J. Trester, Janell Jones,
and David Anders

Facts:On Saturday, Feb. 27, 1993, around 7:30 p.m., Erin Anders, his brother David, and friend Sean Forester went out for a few drinks. By midnight, they had gone to two bars and had each consumed approximately three to four glasses of beer. After leaving the second bar, the three decided to go to Taco John's to eat.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, the three got their food and sat down. A short time later, Janell Jones, her sister Julia, and her boyfriend, Ronald Trester, came into the restaurant. They had also visited a bar near the Taco John's. Julia Jones and Trester got in line at the counter to order. When Janell joined them, she was annoyed to hear a stranger call her "blondie." While standing in the line, a piece of potato called an "ole" struck Janell on the buttocks. She was offended by this and, after a patron pointed to David Anders, she went to the booth where he, Erin, and Sean were seated and demanded an apology. David Anders refused to apologize and denied throwing the "ole."

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