United States: Industrial Hemp Farming Act 2009 (HR 1866)
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009
By Joe Kennelly, Seattle Drug Policy Examiner
Texas Republican Ron Paul, along with ten co-sponsors, is once again seeking to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp.
House Bill 1866, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009, would exclude low potency varieties of marijuana from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.
Several states -- including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont -- have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1866 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.
Upon introducing the bill in Congress, Rep. Paul said: "It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and cosponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act."
According to a 2005 Congressional Resource Service report, the United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop. As a result, U.S. companies that specialize in hempen goods -- such as Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, Patagonia, Nature's Path, and Nutiva -- have no choice but to import hemp material. These added production costs are then passed on to the consumer who must pay artificially high retail prices for hemp products.
By Mike Lillis, Washington Independent
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009
Sponsored by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the bill would allow U.S. farmers to grow industrial, non-psychoactive hemp, which manufacturers use for everything from soap to shoes to car upholstery. Current law allows hemp to be imported, but not cultivated domestically.
Introducing the bill on the House floor, Paul says that prohibition is a mistake, particularly in a difficult economy.
It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our Nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that Federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained Federal Government.
Aside from Paul and Frank, nine other House lawmakers have signed on their support, seven Democrats and two Republicans.
By Kathryn Glass, FOXBusiness
Hemp could be coming to a farm near you, and some legislators argue that that is a very good thing.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced Friday by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). The bill would make it legal for U.S. farmers to raise "non-psychotative industrial hemp," a product which is used in soap, rope, clothing and even food.
Nine other U.S. House members, both Republicans and Democrats, gave their support to the bill. It is legal to import industrial hemp, but current drug policy prohibits it from being grown by American farmers.
"Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government,” said Rep. Ron Paul during his introduction of the bill.
Proponents of the bill say industrial hemp is significantly different from marijuana -- that there’s no detectable THC and that hemp seed has a multitude of nutritional benefits. Arjan Stephens, vice president of marketing for Nature’s Path, a Canadian-based organic food maker, said his company, which uses hemp seed in its granola, oatmeal and waffle products, would benefit greatly from this legislation, because it would open up a greater supply and change perceptions of hemp.
“Our hope is that it passes, and it starts to change the stigma that hemp has received in the United States,” Stephens said. “Some mainstream retailers are still hesitant to carry products containing hemp because of its association with marijuana.”
Nature’s Path is one of several companies that are either based or have operations in the U.S. that support industrial hemp farming. California-based Bronner's Magic Soaps and Indiana-based FlexForm Technologies, as well as food companies such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels and Living Harvest, all use Canadian-grown hemp for their products.
"It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market," said Rep. Paul.
Tom Murphy, the national outreach coordinator for Vote Hemp, an lobbying organization, agrees that cultivating industrial hemp could provide a new source of revenue for American farmers. Murphy is hopeful the Obama administration will not come out against the legislation.
“We have not seen anything from this White House yet -- we did see from the Clinton and Bush administrations them equate it to the legalization of marijuana,” Murphy said. “We see industrial hemp as an agricultural and economic development issue and think that people, given time, would see it as such.”
A spokesperson from the Office of National Drug Control Policy said Gil Kerlikowske, the Obama administration’s appointee to Direct the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has not yet been confirmed and therefore has not clarified the administration’s position on the legislation.
By Griff, capitolhillblue
Recently I've noticed quite a few columns, blogs and comments concerning the failed "war on drugs" and the idea of decriminalizing at least some currently illegal drugs.
To me, the general consensus seems to be that at the very least, hemp and marijuana should be decriminalized, if not outright legalized. At least among those that bothered to comment on it.
I won't get into the marijuana issue in this blog, but I would welcome the discussion. I want to talk about hemp.
As most of you may know, marijuana and its distant cousin hemp are listed on the DEA drug schedule as schedule I drugs. Right up there with the likes of LSD, PCP and mescaline.
For comparison, cocaine, crack and opium are schedule II drugs.
With the economy in tatters and with our faithful elected representatives preoccupied with devising new and different ways to legally plunder this country and its citizens, little time, if any, is paid to some of the "minor" bills being introduced.
One of these bills is HR 1866: Industrial Hemp Farming Act, introduced by rep. Ron Paul on April 2, 2009. You can read Paul's introductory statement here and the bill here.
A few quotes from the introductory statement...
"Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp.
Eight States--Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia--allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with state laws. However, federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these states growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers."
"Federal law concedes the safety of industrial hemp by allowing it to be legally imported for use as food."
"Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the United States for most of our nation's history. In fact, during World War II, the federal government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. The Department of Agriculture even produced a film "Hemp for Victory'' encouraging the plant's cultivation."
You can also look up the contact information for your state representatives here.
This type of simple legislation can do nothing but help a struggling economy, not to mention struggling farmers, and may just get us to start thinking along the lines of personal liberty again.
Why is it that our government sees fit to criminalize the growth and manufacture of a product that is legal to import and consume?
Why is it that people will complain when our elected leaders never walk the walk, and yet, when given the opportunity, neither do we?