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Industrial Hemp Farming Act

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 31, 2017

    Domestic hemp production increased dramatically from 2016 to 2017, according to data compiled by the advocacy organization Vote Hemp.

    The group calculates that US farmers cultivated over 23,000 acres of hemp in 2017, up from fewer than 10,000 acres in 2016.

    Under a 2014 federal law, states may license hemp cultivation as part of a university sponsored pilot program. Thirty-two universities in nineteen states – including Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee – have participated in hemp cultivation projects this year.

    “The majority of states have implemented hemp farming laws, in clear support of this crop and its role in diversifying and making more sustainable our agricultural economy,” Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra said in a prepared statement. “It’s imperative that we pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in Congress, so that we can grant farmers full federally legal rights to commercially cultivate hemp to supply the growing global market for hemp products.”

    House Bill 3530: The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 excludes cannabis strains under 0.3 percent THC from the federal definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. The bill is assigned before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 14, 2013

    Governor John Hickenlooper has signed legislation, Senate Bill 241, into law creating a new program within the Department of Agriculture to oversee the regulation of commercial hemp production. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

    Senate Bill 241 classifies cannabis possessing no more than three-tenths of one percent THC as an agricultural commodity and establishes a 9-member committee within the state Department of Agriculture to oversee the creation of regulations governing the licensed cultivation of hemp for commercial and research purposes. The Department must adopt regulations for the new program no later than March 1, 2014.

    Unlike similar laws enacted in other states, SB 241 does not mandate farmers seeking state-issued hemp cultivation licenses to also seek federal approval. The federal Controlled Substances Act makes no legal distinction between marijuana and industrial hemp.

    Federal legislation, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana is currently pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives and has been sponsored by prominent politicians such as Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell. You can click here to write your federal officials in support of this legislation. Recent efforts to attach this legislation as an amendment to the US Senate Farm bill were unsuccessful.

    The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.