Breeding genealogies

To: Etienne de Meijer and the IHA
    Let me compliment you on your thorough discussion of breeding genealogies in the December issue of the Journal of the International Hemp Association.   You drew your discussion of Lyster Dewey's breeding from the 1927 piece, which means you did not mention the last cultivar which was his crowning accomplishment, ‘Chinamington’.  Writing retrospectively after his retirement in 1935 (his program was terminated in '33), Dewey wrote of Chinamington: "The hemp breeding work, carried on by the Bureau for more than 20 years, was discontinued in 1933, but practical results are still evident in commercial fields.  A hemp grower in Kentucky reported a yield of 1,750 pounds per acre of clean, dew-retted fiber from 100 acres of the pedigreed variety ‘Chinamington’ grown in 1934.  This is more than twice the average yield obtained from ordinary unselected hemp seed."
    I was told by Dr. Bocsa of the GATE Research Institute at Kompolt in Hungary, that Dewey sent Chinamington to Fleischmann (the founder and director of the GATE Institute from 1918 to 1951) and that it was used as one side of the first hemp hybrid, the other side was Kompolti.  Dr. Bocsa said that Chinamington was later than Kompolti and photoperiod manipulation was required to make the cross, so it was not amenable to large scale production, but the hybrid grew quite tall.  Of course, ‘Chinamington’, as the entire Kentucky Hemp lineage, is lost.
    Dr. Bocsa also informed me that the monoecious character, used by von Sengbusch in Germany in developing Fibrimon, was isolated by Greisko in Russia.  He also brought to my attention that McPhee in the US had performed basic experiments on sexual variants earlier, in the twenties.  [McPhee, H. 1925.  The genetics of sex in hemp.  J. Agric. Res. 31: 935-943.]
    One last point: In his article (JIHA 2: 79-82), V. P. Sitnik says, "In the 1990's, to solve the problem of drug use, the Institute...obtained the highly productive and non-drug varieties..."  This implies that previous fiber varieties had been used for drug purposes.  The misinformation that hemp varieties have ever, anywhere, been divertible for drug use is something we have to deal with constantly.  While in Russia last year, I was told by Russian hemp producers that they were told (by their superiors) that the crop's THC level increased with each reproduction and that was why they had to return regularly for new breeders’ seed.   This is certainly untrue.  Hemp does not become smokeable, no matter what you do to it.  We must be careful not to give credence to the rampant worldwide belief that hemp is divertible, or ever was.

Sincerely, David P. West, Ph.D.