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US Senate To Consider Hemp Farming Legislation For First Time

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 19, 2013

    For the first time in modern history, members of the United States Senate have introduced legislation in Congress to allow for the commercial production of industrial hemp. Last week, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced Senate Bill 359 to amend the US Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The measure grants state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.

    Senator McConnell is the Senate minority leader. He is a former opponent of hemp law reform.

    “I am convinced that allowing [hemp] production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy,” Sen. McConnell said in a statement. “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”

    Senate Bill 359 is the companion bill to House Bill 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013. That measure has 28 co-sponsors.

    Eight states — Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia — have enacted statutory changes defining industrial hemp as distinct agricultural product and allowing for its regulated commercial production. Passage of HR 525/S 359 would remove existing federal barriers and allow these states and others the authority to do so without running afoul of federal anti-drug laws.

    According to a Congressional Research Service report, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.”

    Additional information regarding HR 525/S 359 is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    21 Responses to “US Senate To Consider Hemp Farming Legislation For First Time”

    1. Chris in WI says:

      How long have we been saying hemp was legit and not a drug?

    2. Closet Smoker says:

      Hopefully this bill will get on the floor for vote. Too often promising legislation falls away and dies in commitee or some other horrible death…..

    3. Ryan says:

      Lets all grow some hemp. I like rope that smells like weed

    4. grandma3d says:

      Hello
      Check this Hemp car and car fueled by hemp car.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54vD_cPCQM8

      Remember to send in your monthly pledge of $20 that is only .66 cents a day. Anybody can aford that.Help NORML help us be able to have our freedom to smoke.

    5. Sailor says:

      Nice, im glad to hear this

    6. Johnyy says:

      Proud of this country! TAKE A STEP USA!!!!

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      “…Sen. McConnell said in a statement. “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”

      It took decades to convince this guy of this simple, obvious truth. Apparently, in ‘difficult economic times’ outdated ideology takes a back seat to science.

    8. Anon. says:

      So if this passes, will I be permitted by law to grow one or two hemp plants in my home? I wouldn’t smoke them…I don’t like headaches and stomach cramps. But I would like one as a house plant.

    9. HmmmSaysDavidHume says:

      That highly influential republicans are getting on the bandwagon is a major step. I’ve noticed comments on conservative sites are leaning more and more towards Federalism.

      I suspect more reform will happen, and soon. The silence on this is deafening. Normally, a bill would be intorduced and immediately influential politicians would dismiss it and get on with their agendas. That hasn’t happened this time.

      These maneuvers on The Hill betray a more significant set of negotiations going on. While the nature of that horse trading remains secret, the behaviors are evident, and my guess is the CSA will be amended to remove cannabis from Schedule I. It will likely be moved to Schedule II or III for medicinal use (a subjective debate given cannabis’ relatively low addiction potential, but I digress).

      Legislation allowing states to regulate and tax recreational use will be MUCH more difficult with certain cons hating cannabis and users to their very core. These same legislators are beholden to law enforcement to a degree of bias that is an appalling digrace to logic and the will of voters. One need only look at Cavenagh in Arizona (state legislature), or Richard Shelby (US senator from Alabama) to see that certain factions will fight viciously. The battle is FAR from over, but the momentum is with activists.

      Lastly, I encourage each and every activist to watch the news reports for anything involving Smart Approach to Marijuana, Kevin Sabet, David Frum, or their own favorite addict, Mr. Kennedy. When an article gets posted with their subtle and very deceptive statements, get in the comments section and get the facts out. Refute very statement with facts and studies that show the truth about cannabis harms. It’s truth and honesty that will win this, not subtle arguments that try to secretly keep the stays quo.

      That is all…

    10. johnw says:

      This is a great move if we are thinking about bringing farming and self sufficiency back to the u.s..

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