Tennessee: Lawmakers Approve Measures Reclassifying Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 10, 2014

    State lawmakers have signed off on legislation, Senate Bill 2495/House Bill 2445, to reclassify and regulate industrial hemp.

    The legislation now goes to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature.

    The measures reclassify cannabis possessing less than 0.3 percent THC as an industrial crop rather than a controlled substance. The legislation calls on the state Department of Agriculture to develop rules and regulations governing the licensed production of industrial hemp by Tennessee farmers. Regulators have up to 120 days following the bill’s passage to enact these licensing guidelines.

    Lawmakers in Indiana and Utah previously enacted legislation earlier this year authorizing state regulators to oversee the cultivation of industrial hemp for commercial and/or research purposes.

    According to the Congressional Resource Service, the US is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop. However, in February, members of Congress for the first time approved language in the omnibus federal Farm Bill allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp in agricultural pilot programs in states that already permit the growth and cultivation of the plant. Ten additional states — California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia — have enacted legislation allowing for industrial hemp research and/or reclassifying the plant as an agricultural commodity under state law.

    13 responses to “Tennessee: Lawmakers Approve Measures Reclassifying Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity”

    1. Julian says:

      God Bless America.

    2. Ray says:

      The Southern states oppose hemp the most because they have been brainwashed by their parents to associate hemp with people of color. The reality is that the laws enacted during prohibition were created to help William Randolf Hearst and his “paper from trees empire”.

      Making paper from trees is like killing an elephant for its tusks. It is the most wasteful thing you can do with a tree. Paper can and has traditionally been made with hemp.

      Fact: Kentucky used to be America’s largest grower of hemp after World War 2.

      Allowing the US Postal Service exclusivity to legally mail/ship cannabis products for a fee could and will save our government postal service.

      Reschedule, regulate and tax cannabis like alcohol. Charge a fee to ship cannabis and save the decent paying postal jobs held by our American workforce.

      Jobs,jobs, jobs, medicine, food.

    3. mexweed says:


      One thing, incidentally, that your brilliant line made me think of was– what “forbidden” or “unlawful” but potentially cheap undestructively obtained good material is ELEPHANT TUSK itself a tragic erroneous substitute for (just like the woodpulp paper is for hemp paper)?

      Another example: energy. What humanely obtainable sources of power are being kept in the shadows, off the market– by slander, terror and ignorance– while Koch Bros. et al. make money off harmfully extracting oil?

      I’m next going to read up on how to make paper!

    4. Anne says:

      Ray wrote:
      Making paper from trees is like killing an elephant for its tusks. It is the most wasteful thing you can do with a tree. Paper can and has traditionally been made with hemp.

      ann comment: I think this is an excellent comparison; I would have never thought of that

      Hemp should have never have been prohibited; Hemp Seeds are medicine for many life species;
      Hemp seeds are good feed for hundreds species.

    5. Anne says:

      Hemp Seed Milk is used as medicine in Nations.

    6. Julian says:

      Good idea with the postal service Ray. The reality is Jeff Bezos from Amazon is one of non-for-profit legalization’s greatest doners. But even contracting exclusive cannabis products could save the post office, and contracts overflowing from FedEx and UPS could be enough. But Amazon and google are huge. Theyll make sure there are warehouses stocked with tons of hemp products just by hovering your mouse icon over a product, when youre only THINKING about buying.
      There are already hemp oil pen vaporizers for sale that presumably are legal with refillable cartridges, but read your state penal code first on paraphanalia.
      And to add to your “food and medicine” list, dont forget textiles, clothes, building materials, vehicles and celulosic plastics and ethanol.
      The world is about to change for the better.

    7. Ray says:

      Thanks for all the kind words,

      I am just baffled that our country is still holding back such a great public commodity like hemp. I bought some hemp powder and hemp oil (made in Canada) and I didn’t run around killing anyone so I think it’s safe to eat. (Good old Harry A. got this one wrong.)

      @New York State Senator Greg Ball(R) In 1938 Popular Mechanics called hemp the “New Billion-Dollar Crop”. Get New York in the history books as the largest hemp producer and developer of new hemp products now. I did all the research for you Greg now make it happen. It’s obvious Gov. Cuomo won’t get this done, he’s had plenty of time.

      @President Obama: I voted for “Change” this could be the single greatest thing you could do to bring the greatest change to America. Just get this done, fire Michelle Leonhart and put someone in the position who will give you good scientific advice.

      Jobs, jobs, jobs, medicine, food, textiles, clothing, building materials, plastics, ethanol, old.growth forest preservation, paper, and so much more.

    8. Chris Newman says:

      Has anyone done any research, or know where to find it, on the various strains of hemp (yes, there are many), comparing THC content and productivity? All the state governments seem to be jumping on the .3% bandwagon, when some strains go as high as 1% which, because of how much you’d have to smoke, still won’t get you high.

      I seem to recall reading there are some French hemp strains that are very low in THC, but they are also very low in the production of fiber and seeds etc. In other words, these are inferior to top-producing hemp varieties.

      So, even when hemp is finally legalized, if farmers can’t plant the most productive strains, it may not be worth growing.

      Anyone have any info on this potential issue?

    9. Thanks for the article and let’s let know Gov. Bill Haslam that we want this in Tennessee.

    10. Julian says:

      A good read on all cannabis varieties, THC to CBD ratios and their origins is “Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany” by Robert C. Clarke. Anything from Cannabisculture is good too.
      The slogan we need to focus on for hemp is about the same allegorically as “marijuana is safer than alcohol,” and that is:


      The hemp research amendment passed the Farm Bill thanks to inter-activist and bipartisan support. Unfortunately, this vital research can only take place in Universities and State Departments of Agriculture where hemp has already been legalized at the state level. That’s great news for Tenessee, California and Colorado. However in states like Texas that are suffering from a lack of political support from the status quo, research on hemp’s agricultural benefits needs to reach candidates for agricultural commissioner at the local level… That is, WE need to educate THEM. Really.
      Texas is suffering a three-tiered water crisis from drought, water depletion from fracking and herbicidal Round-Up addiction of genetically modified crops requiring even more water.

      Texas needs hemp now more than ever.

      There is hope after the drought: After campaigning and donating to my candidate, Hugh Fitzimmons, he lost the primaries to some other Democrat I never heard of and Independent candudate Kinky Friedman. Sounds hopeless, but Hugh sent me a letter thanking me for my donation and letting me know he passed on the hemp-interests I had on to Kinky and the other guy. A week or two later, Kinky was stirring up an article in the Texas Tribune about how “hemp uses less water than corn.” That meant a lot to me, because Ive been using that as a slogan since the drought in 2011 when I spoke on a water conservation forum on a local NPR show in San Antonio called The Source. A former state Agricultural Commissioner was on the panel and we had an engaging conversation about deversifying Texas crops with hemp before the next big drought makes corn and cotton no longer viable. That’s a reality, by the way, not an exaggeration. There simply isnt enough water. Lake Medina is still EMPTY since 2010!
      Speak to your local candidates for agricultural commissioner. If it wasnt for Ag. Commissioner Comer of Kentucky, we wouldnt have the hemp research amendment. Get on the phone. Pay the office a visit. We may all be surprised at the results.