|The Raw Story
Senator Wyden and Senator Paul Introduce Bi-partisan Senate Companion Bill to H.R. 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act
Historic Senate Bill Promises Economic Opportunity by Removing Restrictions to Industrial Hemp Farming in the United States
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Thursday introduced S. 3501 the Senate companion bill to H.R. 1831, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011. If passed the bill will remove Federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non‐drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis.
The language of the bill mirrors that of H.R. 1831, a bill introduced in the House this session. The full text of the bill, status and list of co-sponsors can be found at: http://votehemp.com/legislation
“Introducing this bill is the first step toward a common sense policy on hemp that helps create American jobs,” says Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). “It is vital that all advocates for industrial hemp redouble their efforts to win support in Congress if we are going to reestablish this economically important crop.”
To date, 17 states have passed pro‐hemp legislation, and 10 states (Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. However, despite state authorization to grow hemp, farmers in these states risk raids by federal agents, prison time, and property forfeiture if they plant the crop, due to the failure of federal policy to distinguish non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of cannabis (i.e., industrial hemp) from psychoactive drug varieties.
|Hemp Industry Insider|
|Eric Steenstra, Vote Hemp: “American farmers have been denied the right to grow a crop that our founding fathers considered essential”|
“We are very pleased to see action being taken in the Senate on the 75th anniversary of the Marihuana Tax Act which put unreasonable restrictions on hemp farming,” said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra. “American farmers have been denied the right to grow a crop that our founding fathers considered essential.
“It is imperative now that other Senators cosponsor this bill and that President Obama and the Attorney General also take action to allow American farmers to grow hemp under state law,” Steenstra said. “With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits.”
U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a California company that manufactures the number‐one‐selling natural soap in the U.S., as well as best‐ selling hemp food manufacturers, such as Living Harvest, Manitoba Harvest, Nature’s Path, Nutiva, and Sequel Naturals make their products from hemp grown in Canada. Sustainable hemp seed, fiber, and oil are also used by major companies such as Ford Motors, Patagonia, and The Body Shop.
Ironically the Obama campaign is raising funds by selling hemp products made from imported Chinese hemp blend fabric in their online store. The beautiful Monique Péan scarf could be made from American grown hemp if not for the outdated policy forcing American companies to import hemp from China, Europe and Canada.
Last year, for the fourth time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States 75 years ago, a bill was introduced by Rep. Ron Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives. If passed the bill H.R. 1831, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, would remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of cannabis, by defining industrial hemp as distinct from “marihuana,” and allowing the farming and processing of industrial hemp in accordance with state law.
H.R. 1831 was introduced by chief sponsor Rep. Ron Paul (R‐TX) with 22 original cosponsors, including Rep. Baldwin (D‐WI), Rep. Blumenauer (D‐OR), Rep. Clay (D‐MO), Rep. Cohen (D‐TN), Rep. DeFazio (D‐ OR), Rep. Ellison (D‐MN), Rep. Farr (D‐CA), Rep. Frank (D‐ MA), Rep. Grijalva (D‐AZ), Rep. Hinchey (D‐ NY), Rep. Kucinich (D‐OH), Rep. McClintock (R‐CA), Rep. McDermott (D‐WA), Rep. Miller (D‐CA), Rep. Moran (D‐VA), Rep. Nadler (D‐NY), Rep. Pingree (D‐ME), Rep. Polis (D‐CO), Rep. Rohrabacher (R‐CA), Rep. Schakowsky (D‐IL), Rep. Stark (D‐CA) and Rep. Woolsey (D‐CA).
H.R. 1831 currently has 33 bipartisan cosponsors including the ranking member of the Agriculture Committee and 7 Republican’s.
Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow this agricultural crop. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Ryan Fletcher at 202-641-0277 or [email protected].