Industrial hemp could, once again, become a great American cash crop. It would bring an end to the downtrodden inflicted upon farmers across the nation, pulling them out of the dark red and into the green. This is the message that resonated through the halls of the U.S. Senate last week, when a federal lawmaker took the floor to lecture his colleagues on the ridiculousness behind the continued prohibition of hemp production in the United States.
Prior to his speech, which was delivered in acknowledgement of Hemp History Week, Senator Ron Wyden requested he be allowed to bring a number of hemp products onto the floor – no objections were made.
“In the basket I brought food, soap, clothes, and even deck sealant, all made in Oregon, bought and sold in American stores and used by Americans,” said Wyden. “Industrial hemp supports a $620 million industry in America, and our companies have found innovative ways of incorporating it into everyday products.”
Unfortunately, while the U.S. is the primary sustaining force to the lifeblood of the retail hemp industry, American farmers are prohibited from its cultivation. In fact, as Wyden points out, the United States is “the only major industrialized nation to ban hemp farming.”
“This means 100 percent of the hemp used in these products is imported from other nations,” he continued. “The Federal ban on hemp amounts, in my view, to a restriction on free enterprise, and it doesn’t accomplish anything but stifles job creation and economic growth.”
Last week’s presentation was not the first time Senator Wyden has professed his disdain for the hypocritical practice of allowing foreign countries to supply the U.S. with hemp, while leaving the American farmer in a cesspool of struggle and debt.
Earlier this year, as part of the introduction of “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015,” the lawmaker said the U.S. ban on hemp production is an “outrageous restriction” that Congress must eliminate in order “to empower farmers and boost economic activity across the country.”
Last Thursday, Senator Wyden made every effort to convince his colleagues that outlawing hemp production is un-American, providing them with a brief history lesson to drive home the fact that our nation’s forefathers would be rolling over in their graves if they knew that this key agricultural product was now illegal.
“American farmers were growing this product as early as the 1600’s before our Nation was even founded,” he said. “The Declaration of Independence, colleagues, was written on paper made from hemp. In the 1800s and early 1900s, it was used to make rope, heating oil, and textiles. During World War II we used it as part of the Hemp for Victory Program to support our soldiers.
“But everything got changed when hemp got wrapped up with marijuana in Federal regulations, and it has been banned ever since,” he added.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which is sponsored by Wyden along with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, is an effort to remove hemp from its Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act and label it a non-drug – releasing it from the senile grips of old Uncle Sam.
“Our bill is all about stopping the unfair punishment of entrepreneurs and farmers who want to be part of a growing Ag industry here in America,” said Wyden. “Companies in our Nation that are importing hemp to use in food, cosmetics, soap, clothing, and auto parts, they ought to be buying that hemp from American farmers and contributing to our agricultural sector.” Wyden concluded: “If you can buy it at the local supermarket, American farmers ought to be able to grow it.”
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