(Updated May 2013)
The Ag bill continues to be discussed between the Senate and House. Please call or contact your legislators and convey your support to keep the hemp re-legalization rider on the bill! Educate Representatives Pompeo, Huslekamp, Jenkins and Yoder on the very easily distinguished visual difference between industrial hemp and cannabis grown for medicine or recreation: hemp looks like reedy like bamboo, cannabis looks wide and bushy. If you can tell the difference between crab grass and Kentucky blue grass growing in your lawn, you can tell the difference between hemp and cannabis. This seems to be among the last obstacles in front of us as we remedy this failed governmental prohibition policy of recent decades, “we can’t tell the difference by looking at it.” Of course you can, Representatives!
One of the most indefensible aspects of modern Cannabis Prohibition is the federal government’s continued opposition to allowing American farmers and consumers benefit from a domestic industrial hemp industry, when, ridiculously, other free market and democratic countries who also maintain user prohibitions on cannabis—countries like the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and notably Canada—allow their farmers to legally cultivate industrial cannabis. This inherently places American farmers and agriculture at a competitive disadvantage and American consumers paying higher costs for imported raw and finished hemp products.
Rep. Ron Paul introduced HR 1831, a new bill in support of hemp farming, on May 12, 2011, in the 112thCongress. The bill defines industrial hemp, excludes it from the definition of “marihuana,” and leaves the regulation of the growing and processing of it up to the states. It has 33 co-sponsors: 7 Republicans and 26 Democrats. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.
Support S 3501, the Senate companion bill to HR 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011.
We would like the government to recognize that Industrial Hemp is an agricultural crop and therefore this is not a drug policy issue. We would like to see American farmers begin growing hemp so hemp may be purchased domestically, which will benefit American farmers, businesses, and the American economy.
Specifically, we would like the President, Attorney General, and Congress to direct the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to differentiate between Industrial Hemp and marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act and adopt policy to allow American farmers to once again grow industrial hemp, this time under state law, without requiring a DEA license or permit.
About 6% of contiguous United States land area put into cultivation for biomass could supply all current demands for oil and gas. FARMERS MUST BE ALLOWED TO GROW an energy crop capable of producing 10 tons per acre in 90-120 days. This crop must be woody in nature and high in lignocellulose. It must be able to grow in all climactic zones in America. And it should not compete with food crops for the most productive land, but be grown in rotation with food crops or on marginal land where food crop production isn’t profitable. Hemp is all these things.
Due to the US ban on Industrial Hemp farming, American companies are forced to import hemp from Canada and overseas. Removing the ban on hemp farming will allow them to source our supply of hemp from American farmers.
Hemp’s water requirements are negligible, so it doesn’t require much irrigation and will grow in arid regions. Hemp adds nutrients to the soil, removes toxins, aerates the soil and prevents soil erosion with its long roots. Hemp actually leaves the soil in better condition than before it was planted. It is more sustainable on all accounts than any other fiber or plastic.
“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.” — George Washington 1794
“Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” — Thomas Jefferson
“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” — Henry Ford