Federal Bill to Legalize Hemp Garners Over 50 Sponsors
The proposal (S.134) was filed in the Senate on January 8th by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY), and a companion bill (H.R. 525) was filed in the House of Representatives earlier this week by Representatives Thomas Massie and Jared Pollis, in collaboration with 45 cosponsors.
If approved into law, the measure would explicitly legalize the production and cultivation of hemp by removing it from the list of controlled substances.
“I’m optimistic that we can get the Industrial Hemp Farming Act to the President’s desk this Congress,” says Representative Massie. “In 2014, for the first time in over half a century, hemp was grown and harvested in Kentucky under the pilot programs allowed by the Polis-Massie-Blumenauer amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill. I look forward to building on last year’s momentum to give our nation’s farmers and manufacturers more opportunities to compete and succeed in the global economy.”
Eric Steenstra, President of the nonprofit Vote Hemp, is similarly optimistic; “With bi-partisan support in the Senate and House, we are eager to see 2015 be the year Congress finally passes comprehensive legislation to legalize industrial hemp farming”.
“Because of outdated federal drug laws, our farmers can’t grow industrial hemp and take advantage of a more than $500 million market. We rely on imports to sustain consumer demand. It makes no sense,” says Representative Blumenauer. “Our fear of industrial hemp is misplaced – it is not a drug. It is time to pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act and allow American farmers to cultivate this crop.”