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Senate Majority Leader Introduces Bi-Partisan Hemp Legalization Bill

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 12, 2018

    United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), along with Oregon Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced legislation today to remove low THC hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act and amend federal regulations to better facilitate industrial hemp production, research, and commerce.

    The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 allows states, not the federal government, to regulate hemp production and allocates grant funding to federally subsidize industrial hemp cultivation. According to the Congressional Research Service, the United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established agricultural crop.

    Senator McConnell said: “Today, with my colleagues, I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which will build upon the success of the hemp pilot programs and spur innovation and growth within the industry. By legalizing hemp and empowering states to conduct their own oversight plans, we can give the hemp industry the tools necessary to create jobs and new opportunities for farmers and manufacturers around the county.”

    Senator McConnell previously shepherded federal reforms (Section 7606 of the Farm Bill) in 2014 permitting states to legally authorize hemp cultivation as part of academic research pilot programs. Over two-dozen states have established regulations permitting limited hemp cultivation under this provision. In 2017, state-licensed producers grew over 39,000 acres of hemp, up from roughly 16,000 acres in 2016.

    Separate legislation, HR 3530, is currently pending in the US House of Representatives to exclude low-THC strains of cannabis grown for industrial purposes from the federal definition of marijuana. That measure has 43 co-sponsors.

    To contact your members of Congress in support of this legislation, please click here!

    25 responses to “Senate Majority Leader Introduces Bi-Partisan Hemp Legalization Bill”

    1. TheOracle says:

      Just merge everything into one piece of legislation to legalize to legalize any kind of cannabis sativa.

      It’s freakin easy.

      Here’s the freakin legislation:

      “Any kind of cannabis sativa is hereby removed from any and all international and domestic federal prohibitive schedules and is thusly legal.”

      Improve it. Vote “Yes” on it.

      • Jim says:

        Should indica remain schedule one?

        • TheOracle says:

          Yes! Let’s add that.

          “Any kind of cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, hybrid, newly discovered or genetically modified types of cannabis are hereby removed from any and all international and domestic federal prohibitive schedules and is thusly legal.”

          Improve on that. Vote “Yes” recommended.

    2. Dain Bramage says:

      Great for hemp. Sativa and Indica need not apply.

      Remind me again how this is good for marijuana legalization?

      • Dain Bramage says:

        I’ve been pondering my own question, and here’s all I’ve got…

        Hemp prohibition was (is) the result of reefer madness, which was (is) part and parcel of marijuana prohibition.

        We oppose reefer madness, thus we support hemp production, or at least, the freedom to grow it. Commerce itself is out of scope, as with soybean, corn, etc (indirectly related, yes, but not directly.)

        So, yes, I support this, and I have clicked on the link and sent the letter.

        But to the question: does this help the cause of marijuana legalization? Not much, that I can see.

        First, the “desensitization” effect of hemp on society has largely been eclipsed by state-level legalization and the proliferation of dispensaries.

        The educational value of hemp is lost on Republicans, who simply do not value education or facts at all, in any form. Exhibit A: Trump.

        And, the urban legend notion that “they” would “have to” legalize it because it is the same plant is no longer viable in this age of DNA sequencing. The science can now detect our thought crimes, on a genetic level.

        Have I missed something?

        • Julian says:

          The short answer: look at the current economic plight and political identity of the rural American farmer;

          https://www.alternet.org/what-we-really-have-worry-about-isnt-trump?src=newsletter1091039

          As the article quotes Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat itself exactly but sometimes it rhymes.”

          The long answer is more insidious; the purpose behind the Republican nationalist movement mimics the rise of Nazi Germany in startling ways. The way big industry owning billionaires exploit the price of grain and agriculture for not only their own profit, but to further weaken and isolate rural people to keep them voting in line and misidentify with racial fearmongering. But this time with Trump’s tarrifs they went too far and hit their own base.
          As Germany was going through this nationalization during the 30’s, American petrochemical, oil and timber industry tycoons were using refer madness to make rural American farmers attack “marijuana” brought by “the darkies trying to rape our white women” to unwittingly outlaw the hemp that sustained their small farms.
          Today, Koch Industries to Bayer-Monsantos have used the rural political isolation of American farmers to hold their prohibitionist agenda of cannabis from becoming a legal, fairly taxed and open source hemp industry… that would strengthen small American farmers and weaken the value of the some of the very same petrochemical and timber patents that outlawed hemp in the first place. Now, because these industries have essentially destroyed and genetically altered and patented the value of our crops to the point where China is willing to reject and tax our soy, beef and pork, hemp just became an essential crop for the survival of our world economy… so the same Big Agribusiness invested in prohibiting hemp seeks to quasi-legalize or monopolize the growing hemp industry, or risk breaking the rural Americans who consistently vote Republican.

        • Julian says:

          Natural, open source Hemp uses less water than genetically engineered soy, corn or cotton. That’s conservative.

          But more importantly, despite every effort by Big Agribusiness to patent and profit from hemp prohibition and a genetically engineered rural American identity, allowing small farmers to grow hemp will exponentially help marijuana legalization as it reconnects us to our mixed-race agricultural heritage.

          The collateral benefits of hemp legalization extend far beyond helping legalize marijuana by reconnecting family farms to our agricultural heritage; There is a profound benefit from hemp in its reduced dependence on herbicides, pesticides, petrol fertilizers and even a reduced dependence from the monocultural logistics of industrial, processed and patented agriculture that threatens our sustainability as a species within the network of our living planet.

          Make no mistake, cannabis patenting is already happening, and be wary of Koch-related amendments to the Hemp Bill that will protect their petrol and timber patents. The Republican party will fractionalize over this hemp issue, which is probably a good thing if the Hemp Bill gets passed Pete Sessions in the House. Going against hemp will be going against American farmers and almost everything we consider conservative.

          But after 80 years of prohibition, and a well funded hemp eradication program, the DEA couldnt even destroy our wild strains. How are they ever supposed to prohibit marijuana if they can’t prohibit feral hemp? The DEA’s funds are about to get cut faster than the hemp they seek. And that is a rhyme in history that every American from fields in Pine Ridge Reservation to receding swamps in Florida can appreciate.

          • Dain Bramage says:

            I see, Julian. Insightful point.

            I have heard Black community leaders say that the War on Poverty, was surreptitiously replaced with the War on Drugs. And it’s a fact!

            But, we tend to think of this in an urban, rather than rural, context.

            From Wikipedia: The War on Poverty is the unofficial name for legislation first introduced by United States President Lyndon B. Johnson during his State of the Union address on Wednesday, January 8, 1964. This legislation was proposed by Johnson in response to a national poverty rate of around nineteen percent.

            From http://www.history.com: Nixon and the War on Drugs. In June 1971, Nixon officially declared a “War on Drugs,” stating that drug abuse was “public enemy number one.” A rise in recreational drug use in the 1960s likely led to President Nixon’s focus on targeting substance abuse.

            So Rural white farmers who supported draconian drug law didn’t realize — they got fucked, too!

            We’re all in this together.

            Legalize hemp to fight poverty, and fascism!

            • Dain Bramage says:

              In summary, poverty can induce desperation, which can breed fascism. Hemp can help break this cycle. Let’s switch back from the war on drugs to the war on poverty!

            • Dain Bramage says:

              But McConnell still has to go.

    3. Thats all great that they recognize hemp again as haveing industrial uses but what about the medical side of the plants uses. Our goverment is supposed to be for the people not against,its time for this god given plant to be legalized .

    4. materia medica says:

      I’ve lost my grandmother, mother, uncles, friends, and now my sister is sick. All from Cancers.
      Delta 8 thx and Delta 9 thc along with the entourage effect might have given extended these peoples lives. With the right formularies of material medica, maybe completely cured them who will ever know.
      Our current ideology of medicine is severely skewed, its more for the money than the patients.
      I left the idea of med school behind. Because it’s about the dispensing of pharmaceuticals (artificial derivatives) than learning the art of medicine.( an all inclusive methodology of mind body and sprite healing, and ultimately curing the diseases of the body)
      CBD is only one constituent the plant has to offer.
      While this is a small win, ultimately, we still have a long way to go.

    5. Negative Nancy says:

      Maybe if we give Mitch McConnell enough rope…

    6. Dain Bramage says:

      I know hemp was going to be the “Trojan Horse” that normalized cannabis, but somehow I’m starting to feel like Monty Python here — like we gave away the horse, but forgot to climb inside it first. I don’t think Mitch McConnell has seen the light.. just the dollar signs.

      How many times do we have to get played by these Republican, Corporate America types before we learn? Businessmen make shitty public servants. Rich people make shitty leaders! Rich people got their money from us, by playing us! Whatever in the world made us believe that they ever gave a shit about us regular working folks?

      I am happy for Kentucky farmers. But that fucking hypocrite McConnell has got to go!

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Mitch McConnell cannot claim to be for Kentuckians, so long as he is arresting them for cannabis sativa, while at the same time, profiting from cannabis sativa!

        That makes McConnell the farmer, and Kentucky citizens the cash crop.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          Kentucky was a “brother against brother” state in the Civil War. That was about slavery. Don’t do it again.

          Let’s not see cannabis convicts on work release picking cannabis from the fields.

          Fuck that hypocrite McConnell!

          Vote Democrat!

    7. As a physician who recommends hemp products to my patients I would like to commend Sen./Majority Leader McConnell for his leadership

      It is one step in the right direction for both patients who suffer needlessly because of erroneous FDA regulation and for our nation’s farmers who need support in every arena

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Dr Nevis,
        Mitch McConnell is a racist, fascist, prohibitionist son of a bitch. He voted to confirm Jeff Sessions. He enables and facilitates and participates in the UN-American treachery of Traitor Trump. Points for hemp? No fucking way. Fuck Mitch McConnell.

    8. Julian says:

      As much as legalizing hemp while maintaining marijuana prohibition causes most of us in the mj community to roll our eyes and roll another joint, this Hemp legislation marks a major milestone in marijuana reform. Markets, patents, tarrifs and subsidies have shifted and made one of the original reasons for prohibition, the competitive and affordable utility of hemp, more profitable to legalize.

      Look at it this way: It’s as if Senator McConelll announced German Shepherds will now be legal after 80 years of prohibition while the Chihuahua remains outlawed. Either way, the prospects of Chihuahua freedom just got better, because this is getting ridiculou$.

      • Dain Bramage says:

        One thing is certain, the marijuana legalization community is better off WITHOUT Mitch McConnell than with him. He’s an enemy, not an ally. Hemp or no hemp.

        • Dain Bramage says:

          That goes for Cory Gardner too, who still opposes legalization, but still wants political points for it anyway. What a sleazebag, just like Trump.

          FBI might want to look at Gardner, too — they might find his nose up Trump’s ass in a big way.

    9. Julian says:

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2018/04/12/heres-mitch-mcconnells-new-hemp-legalization-bill/#6fa1e83d5b5b

      Tom Angell reports on Senator McConnell’s anouncement that he will “soon be talking to Attorney General Jeff Sessions” about legalizing hemp. Hate to be cynical but I wonder how that conversation goes? (Sessions): “Alright Mitchy, you just let me keep arresting Mexican farmers and we’ll award all the licenses to the white farmers and Bayer-Monsantos will patent their seeds and leave everybody back in the dirt and we can both retire… is that a video camera?”

      I get that this administration is ruining our agricultural economy threatening tarrifs, and I get that hemp doesn’t have all it’s utility, fertility and nutrition genetically engineered and patented out of it so there really isn’t much of a choice but to legalize hemp but:
      How long can a hemp/marijuana legal hypocrisy stand up in Federal Court? Legalizing hemp while the CSAct is still written the way it is destined for federal court if Congress doesn’t wake up and legalize matijuana.

      My question is now that Big Agribusiness wants in on hemp but private prisons and Big Pharma still control the DOJ’s agenda how can the DEA’s hemp eradication program continue to exist? We need to talk to Senator Wyden. If we don’t write the language into the bill you know McConnell won’t. And the irony is we all know it wont take long before the DEA mistakenly raids a legal hemp field and the lawsuits roll out. Tick tock, prohibition.

    10. Jay says:

      Wow. Obama had two years of his own congress and senate but didn’t even decriminalize hemp. So yea lets rip on republicans for doing the rite thing

      • Dain Bramage says:

        Jay, jay, jay…
        Sad. Just can’t get over the fact that a black man is a better president than a white man, can you? Just wait until we elect another woman for President! You’ll pee your panties.

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