Federal lawmakers believe the time has come to put an end to the Reefer Madness that led to the criminalization of American hemp production nearly 80 years ago. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, along with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky recently filed a piece of legislation on Capitol Hill that would, once again, give farmers across the nation the freedom to cultivate and profit from industrial hemp.
The bill entitled “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015” would strip away the federal statures that make the domestic production of industrial hemp a criminal offense, which would provide some economic relief for farmers struggling to make ends meet with less profitable commodities. The goal of this measure is to remove hemp from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Schedule I controlled substance classification, and label it a “non-drug” as long as it meets the THC requirements of less than 0.3%.
The bill’s sponsors, which represent two of the 20 states that have already determined that industrial hemp is separate from marijuana, and since lifted production restrictions, believe it is un-American to prevent the farming community from capitalizing on a harmless, non-intoxicating product in which thousands of products can be made.
“The U.S. ban on hemp farming is an outrageous restriction on free enterprise and does nothing but hurt economic growth and job creation,” said Senator Wyden in a statement. “Our bipartisan, common-sense bill is pro-environment, pro-business, and pro-farmer. Congress must act to empower farmers and boost economic activity across the country. As I’ve always said, if you can buy it in Oregon, you should be able to grow it in Oregon.”
There is high hypocrisy in the regard to this ban, because while cultivating it is a felonious offense, it is legal to buy and sell products made from its fibers. However, this outdated law provides no benefit or protection for the American people, it only serves as disability to the national economy. “Allowing farmers throughout our nation to cultivate industrial hemp and benefit from its many uses will boost our economy and bring much-needed jobs to the agriculture industry,” said Senator Paul.
Industry experts are excited about the introduction of this bill and believe it could bring the United States closer to ending prohibition. “This is another step closer to full legalization,” said Hemp Inc. CEO Bruce Perlowin. “Industrial Hemp is really been taking off in the news lately, all over the country. This industry won’t subside.”
A similar measure entitled “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013” was largely unsuccessful, but supporters believe the latest inception of the bill will move forward since public opinion surrounding the cannabis issue continues to loosen.
Although Congress recently approved a farm bill that allows hemp cultivation for research purposes, this has done nothing to benefit the average American farmer. Meanwhile, the United States sits in the dark ages in regards to the production of industrial hemp, while it remains a substantial cash crop for more than 30 other countries.