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Pot Matters: American Farmers Support Hemp

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Pot Matters: American Farmers Support Hemp

The American Farm Bureau Federation has formally endorsed H.R. 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a bill before the House of Representatives to remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and expedite the spread of hemp farming in the United States.

Zippy Duvall, president of the Farm Bureau, announced this new policy position of the organization and explained that “decades of scientific research and previous experience growing hemp, from pre-industrialization to the advent of World War II, support our position.”

The Farm Bureau “is committed to working through our grassroots organizations to enhance and strengthen the lives of rural Americans and to build strong, prosperous agricultural communities.”

The bureau represents six million members in the United States.

According to Vote Hemp their “formal supports for the Industrial Hemp Farming Act… adds significant momentum for passage.”

The Farm Bureau addresses a wide variety of issues of importance to America’s farmers, including regulatory, immigration and tax reform, as well as trade, farm resources, energy and technology issues that impact agriculture.

Other issues of concern to the Bureau include the use of antibiotics, food safety and labeling, the National Monuments and Antiquities Act, Wild Horse and Burro Management, new legislation affecting stockyards and honey bee pollination threats.

The elevation of hemp farming to the agenda of the Farm Bureau is a major development in the normalization of hemp as part of America’s agricultural economy.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced by Rep. James Comer, along with 15 co-sponsors, on July 30.

According to Vote Hemp, there are several provisions in the bill that need to be removed or changed.

These provisions address such topics such as administrative inspections by the DEA, restrictions on hemp extracts and the emerging CBD industry, and clarification of the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with respect to unapproved, adulterated or misbranded drugs and food.

Vote Hemp expects hemp farming legislation to be introduced soon in the U.S. Senate and has meet with the staffs of Senators McConnell, Paul and Wyden over the need for changes in the House bill.  So far, the responses from Senate staff have been encouraging.

One of the challenges in passing this legislation is to gain the support of Senator Grassley, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. To this end, Vote Hemp is working closely with the Iowa Hemp Association to pass state legislation and organize grassroots support in the state. Hopefully, these efforts will help persuade Grassley to support the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

The legislation states: “The Congress finds that industrial hemp is a non-narcotic agricultural commodity that is used in tens of thousands of legal and legitimate products.”

The key language of the HB 3530 states that “the term ‘marihuana’ does not include industrial hemp or research hemp.’’ Hemp is defined as Cannabis Sativa L., “no part of which has a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

Research hemp is defined as having cannabis that “has a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis but less than 0.6 percent on a dry weight basis.”

Congress has previously authorized research on hemp at state agricultural research centers in state’s that have given their legislative approval. The prospects for passage of HB 3530 are bright; however, proponents of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act must face more determined opposition from the DEA and its allies than they have faced in the past. While the DEA has always opposed the development of industrial hemp in the United States, prior legislation authorizing research did not challenge the DEA’s statutory authority in this area. HB 3530 would end the DEA’s authority over hemp by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.

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