U.S. Senate Votes to Legalize Hemp

June 29, 2018 at 6:00 pm




American farmers may soon be allowed to capitalize on the growing market for hemp, an excellent source of nutrition and sustainable fiber for clothing, paper and countless other materials

 




The U.S. government is one step away from legalizing the material its founding document was written on – hemp.

The U.S. Farm Bill, which this year includes “The Hemp Farming Act” just passed the U.S. Senate with overwhelming support.

The legislation, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), will legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp, if passed in the House of Representatives.

“Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp,” McConnell said in a floor speech on Thursday.

But thanks to an almost century-long prohibition, American farmers have not been allowed to meet that demand, leaving consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from other countries, he said.

The bill received wide bi-partisan support.

“This restriction defied common sense,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

“The farmers in China and Canada were happy about it because they could grow it there and send it to the United States. I’m for creating those jobs here in Oregon.”

“For the first time in 80 years, this bill legalizes hemp,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said in a floor speech on Wednesday.

“We forget, but hemp was widely grown in the United States throughout the mid-1800s. Americans used hemp in fabrics, wine, and paper.

“Our government treated industrial hemp like any other farm commodity until the early 20th century, when a 1937 law defined it as a narcotic drug, dramatically limiting its growth. This became even worse in 1970 when hemp became a schedule I controlled substance.

In Colorado, as is true across the country–I have talked to a lot of colleagues about this–we see hemp as a great opportunity to diversify our farms and manufacture high-margin products for the American people.”

The “global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products,” says a Congressional Research Service report released last week.

House Republican leaders blocked a vote to make hemp legalization part of that chamber’s version of the Farm Bill. But now that the language is included in the Senate’s version, it is more likely to be included in the joint piece of legislation that ends up on President Trump’s desk.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner applauded the Hemp Farming Act on Twitter:

Watch the video below and then contact your U.S. representative and tell them to pass the bill!