US House of Representatives Approves Hemp Research Provisions

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director February 3, 2014

    Congressional lawmakers last week approved language authorizing state universities and agriculture departments to move forward with programs to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.

    The language, included in the final version of the omnibus federal Farm Bill, was approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The Senate is expected to sign off on the measure imminently.

    The provisions allow for the cultivation industrial hemp in agricultural pilot programs in states that already permit the growth and cultivation of the plant. Ten states — California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia — have enacted legislation reclassifying hemp as an agricultural commodity under state law.

    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. Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food. However, US federal law makes no distinction between hemp and marijuana.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) — who advocated on behalf of the language to the 2014 Farm Bill conference, the group federal of lawmakers charged with finalizing the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill – called the bill’s expected passage “an important victory for … farmers.”

    A 2013 white paper published by the Congressional Research Service concludes: “[T]he US market for hemp-based products has a highly dedicated and growing demand base, as indicated by recent US market and import data for hemp products and ingredients, as well as market trends for some natural foods and body care products. Given the existence of these small-scale, but profitable, niche markets for a wide array of industrial and consumer products, commercial hemp industry in the United States could provide opportunities as an economically viable alternative crop for some US growers.”

    The agency notes that the United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop.

    Also last week, the American Farm Bureau Federation at its annual meeting approved a new policy resolution urging for the repeal of the classification of industrial hemp as a controlled substance under federal law stating, “At a time when small farms are innovating and diversifying to remain competitive, we should provide every opportunity to increase farm incomes and allow the next generation the ability to continue living off the land as their families have for generations.”

    Federal legislation to reclassify industrial hemp and to allow for its commercial cultivation remains pending in both the United States House and Senate.

    37 responses to “US House of Representatives Approves Hemp Research Provisions”

    1. keith says:

      That’s a pretty big foot in the door. I emailed Rep. David price (nc) about the reform of marijuana laws and actually got pretty good response! Let’s turn tobacco road into weed way!

    2. dk says:

      There seems to be more than enough support for full legalization. NORML…do you guys think that if we started a petition to force a national vote, that we could succeed ? I think that one reason they didn’t come down on Co.and Wa., was because there’s this thing about ignoring the will of the voters. It’s kind of tough to ignore the voters when you’re supposed to be some shining beacon of democracy.If people could sign a petition, they would have no choice but to allow a vote.From time to time, our democracy needs to be tested. This is as good a time as any ! Change.org ?

    3. Ray says:

      Long overdue. Will it pass the house and Senate?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The language was approved in conference, which means that leadership of both the House and Senate have signed off on it. The house has approved and Senate approval is assumed at this point to be perfunctory.]

    4. Julian says:

      A rare moment of historic, bipartisan victory thanks to grassroots efforts from Norml and votehemp… And people voting and calling their Congressman. This never would have happened if Kentucky Republicans weren’t up for reelection in a state that legalized hemp, and traditionally grows hemp well. The DEA and State Policy Network poured money to stop this amendment. The Koch brothers in part shut the government down to stop this amendment.
      And yet here it is; our Trojan Hemp Horse ready to take down the C.S.Act from the inside out.
      Congratulations activists. Congratulations Rep. Jared Polis, Dem. CO and Kentucky Republican agricultural comissioner James Comer who worked so hard for this.
      With depleting water and Monsantos selling terminator GMO seeds addicted to round up, we need hemp now more than ever. One day we will all grow our own variety of organic hemp food, medicine, paper, building materials and sustainable fuel.Let the Green Age begin.

    5. Does this mean Hemp farmers will be Drug tested too. Legalization/decriminalization is meaningless as long as drug testing is going to create a class division.

    6. Stephen Daniel says:

      How many years have we been asking congress to reclassify hemp? I would like to grow some for CBD. Every day I hear stories of people sick and or dying that could use CBD. It might kill their cancer, might stop the progression of diabetes, might slow the progression of Alzheimers and dementia, it might save children’s lives who have Dravet syndrome and other disease. People think I am crazy because I want to help people. What a strange concept in this greed ridden world we live in. First of all I am crazy for giving people CBD because it is ridiculously expensive. Second of all, most people think cannabis is the devil and it does not matter that it does not have THC. Third, people think help is strange! Fourth, everyone thinks it is OK to take opioids, SSRIs, and other synthetic toxic prescribed medicines before trying diet, counseling, exercise, and herbal safe medicine such as CBD.

    7. Dave Evans says:

      Stephen, I don’t know a single person like that in my personal life and I’ve only ever met a couple of them in public. Which is one reason I can’t understand why marijuana is illegal. Literally, all the people I know who don’t smoke or otherwise partake say the reason it is illegal is just so lawyers and police can make bank on it being illegal. That there is no reason for it to be illegal, This is so well known they even mentioned that to us in Drug Education Class. Don’t do any of these drugs, but marijuana on the other hand isn’t addictive just habitat forming. Pure corruption is all I’ve been heard about the subject for the last 40 years from nearly everyone I know. When I was a kid people would protest when good teachers lost their jobs over marijuana charges, so while there are a couple people somewhere that believe marijuana is the devil, they really are quite rare yet they are so damn vocal/loud in their mad passion they somehow get people to ignore their own wits…

      Just two months ago, this random idiot was trying to convince me marijuana causes depression, ADHD, austic children, that babies and kids who are around people that have smoked suffer from poor social skill because potheads can’t act like normal people. It would have been funny if this fool wasn’t supporting manditory minimum/persay laws as “marijuana is just that bad”. I had to meet several hundred people before running into that kook–so how do they have their way when literally nobody buys their BS???

    8. Rob says:

      Take a look at the Hemp.inc stock (HEMP), in the market for the last two days. From just over a penny per share to currently .26/share. This is only from research legalization in about 10 states, and not widespread industrial cultivation. I’m not giving stock advice, but just sayin…

    9. Angus says:

      “…authorizing state universities and agriculture departments to…cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.”

      What are agriculture departments? The government?

    10. Demonhype says:

      @Jimmy Potseed: AMEN!

      @Stephen Daniel: “People think I am crazy because I want to help people. What a strange concept in this greed ridden world we live in.”

      Tell me about it! You wouldn’t believe the attitudes I get over my opposition to drug testing and the many good jobs I’ve turned down–even though I’m not a user of any illegal substance–because doing what was right was more important than cold hard cash to me! You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been assumed to be mentally deficient somehow (despite being of above-average intelligence, not tooting my own horn, just saying) just because greed is not my priority in life!

      Then again, you probably would believe it, since you sound like you’ve come up against that sort of “if you don’t put greed before morality, you have a mental disability!” BS yourself.


      Fourth, everyone thinks it is OK to take opioids, SSRIs, and other synthetic toxic prescribed medicines before trying diet, counseling, exercise, and herbal safe medicine such as CBD.”

      AMEN to this! I had constant headaches punctuated by debilitating chronic migraines for quite a while, and I refused to go to the doctor, much to the amazement and despair of those who love me. Why? Because, as I told them, the only things the doctor will do is to prescribe me a lot of addictive horse pills, probably tranquilizers of some sort, that will be absolute hell to detox my way out of and will ensure that I will be their loyal addict–I mean, customer–for the rest of my life. And the other thing they will do is schedule some kind of neck operation, which never seems to help anyone I’ve known who got it. In fact, one lady in my line at work had a paralyzed hand because of that very operation–the doctor screwed up and slipped with the knife while working on her spine, and now she can’t move her hand at all.

      I remember wishing like crazy that I could get MJ, because I read that that is very effective in treating migraines, but my state is only decrim, not medical MJ and definitely not legal.

      Now I lucked out, in that the primary problem in my life went away, which dramatically lowered the frequency and severity of the migraines and headaches, and then I went on a challenge diet (my father challenged me) for a couple weeks and found that at the end of that time I’d not only lost eight pounds but I hadn’t had any headaches or migraines, and that I’d passed a few migraine triggers in that time without getting a migraine. Well, it really came together a few days later when I had a big spicy italian sub and got a whopping two-day migraine on a migraine trigger. That’s when I realized that, apparently, fat and sugar and possibly nitrates are responsible for enabling my triggers. And what doctor would have ever stopped to say “you know what, let’s try changing your diet and see what happens, before we put you on prescription sedatives or schedule a surgery or anything like that”, because my changing my diet doesn’t pay off their boat. At this point, doctors are so often nothing more than legalized drug dealers.

      And that’s what infuriates me now. I was LUCKY, but I might not have been, and I could still be in debilitating pain if I hadn’t stumbled onto the real reason for my migraines. And if I’d gone to a doctor, I would be taking harmful and dangerous pills to treat the symptoms. And there are people out there with debilitating migraines who don’t have the option of just changing diet, whose migraines are caused by something else, and who end up having to take whatever the doctor prescribes out of sheer desperation, because that kind of pain is excruciating and it wears you down. And those scum, those legalized drug dealers called “doctors” will oppose this tooth-and-nail because marijuana doesn’t have a Big Pharma backer and the CEO’s of some pharma company can’t get stupid rich on a plant one can grow in one’s own home easily.

      It is so obvious that the only arguments against legalization are entirely based on the greed of some already overly-rich scumbags, and that is the only reason it remains illegal despite the fact that the majority of the people want it legalized and an even greater majority want it at least medically legalized. I don’t know why people get so worked up over a convicted murderer in prison, these bastards kill millions of people every year and destroy countless lives and reap unbelievable rewards and are protected from any consequences of their actions. These bastards are the ones we need to really focus on, because the damage they do is greater. Yes, I said it: Drug War supporters, especially Drug War profiteers, are worse than Ted Bundy. They have a much larger body count, are celebrated and rewarded for it, and are immune to any punishment for their crimes.