Legislative Action and the Hemp Industry
By way of Subtitle F – Sec. 7606 of the 2014 Agriculture Act approved by both the Houses of Congress and the President on February 7th, 2014 Federal Legislation allows for growing hemp in States that have legislation that provides for a State managed “Research Program” through the Department of Agriculture or a University;
- AGRICULTURAL PILOT PROGRAM.—The term ‘‘agricultural pilot program’’ means a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp—
- in States that permit the growth or cultivation of industrial hemp under the laws of the State; and
- in a manner that—
- ensures that only institutions of higher education and State departments of agriculture are used to grow or cultivate industrial hemp;
- requires that sites used for growing or cultivating industrial hemp in a State be certified by, and registered with, the State department of agriculture; and
- authorizes State departments of agriculture to promulgate regulations to carry out the pilot program in the States in accordance with the purposes of this section.
To determine if your state currently has regulations providing for Hemp cultivation please visit the Vote Hemp website for the most up to date information on Legislative action.
While the Farm Bill has been hailed as a great step forward towards the legalization of industrial hemp the lack of clear language in the Sec. 7606 still put federal law enforcement agencies in a place where they have to interpret internal policy and the law with regards to importation of a controlled substance as well as a myriad of other issues not clearly defined. As a result states have met Federal Agencies in Court over such interpretations. In May of 2014 the Kentucky Department of Agriculture sued the DEA for release of the hemp seeds that were being held as a result of that federal Agencies interpretation of that legislation.
Again in 2015 the DEA stalled Import Permits for viable seed that needs to be planted and as a result far less acreage ended up being planted than was originally contracted and allotted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
Federal Senate Bill S-134 has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate from both sides of the aisle but still the industry will not be able to grow like any other industry and compete on a global level with ambiguity over current and future policy still looming. We cannot as an industry rely on the heroics of individual politicians like the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Jamie Comer if we are to reach our potential in the US to creating rural jobs, pay taxes, attracting investment, and solving for a few of Americas deep problems.
States like Kentucky are out ahead of federal legislation that limits acreage under a “research” provision in the 2014 “Farm Bill,” which sun setting in February of 2018.
We need permanent legalization that treats Hemp as any other commodity crop in America.
We need Federal funding for research. Today corporate donations from companies like Cannavest and Sunstrand are funding portions research for a few promising use of hemp which in contrast to the 25,000 different uses of hemp as sited by Popular Science in 1938 gives us a lot of room for investment in research in this Industrial field.
Canadian entrepreneurs, businesses, farmers, and their communities enjoy the results of millions of Federal and State Canadian dollars investing and researching how best to make use of hemp the result has been a great stimulus for their rural and national economy.
This link will take you to pages that will give you the up-to-date status of bills related to hemp as they make their way through state legislation. http://capwiz.com/votehemp/issues/
Calling US senators and representatives is the most effective way to be sure your voice is heard. Use the locator below to find you senators and representatives, PICK UP THE PHONE ask to speak with a staffer or the elected official themselves and ask, “Are you a Co-Sponsor of S-134 (for Senators) or H.R. 525 (for Congressman),” if they answer no, ask, “WHY NOT?” Feel free to ad lib to this script.
If your State isn’t in Blue below looks like you have some work to do at home, because, FYI hemp grows prolifically in all 50 US states if given the opportunity.