Drug Law

Is This the Year Congress Finally Says the Word “Hemp?"

| by NORML

It’s that time of year again.

Texas Republican Ron Paul, along with ten co-sponsors, is seeking once again to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp.

House Bill 1866, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009, would exclude low potency varieties of cannabis from federal prohibition.? If approved, this measure would grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.

Several states — including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont — have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1866 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.

Upon introducing the bill in Congress, Rep. Paul said: “It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. … I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and cosponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.”

Is Congress listening?

Previous versions of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act were introduced in both the 108th and 109th Congress, but failed to receive a public hearing or a committee vote. In short, members of Congress decided that this issue was not even worth talking about!

But times have changed. The U.S. economy is down and unemployment is up. Further, we have a President who is championing the notion of ‘green’ (environmentally friendly) job growth. (And who has even appointed one of our own to serve as his special advisor.)

Will this be enough to finally convince members of Congress to break their silence and utter the “H” word? Why not ask them yourself?