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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Obama Administration Signs Agricultural Farm Bill





Amendment Allows for Progression of Industrial Hemp

by Chelsea Shaker 

(February 7, 2014) President Obama signed a significant Farm Bill to include State Hemp Research pilot programs, cultivation, and reintroduction into the U.S. economy as a vital commodity. The amendments to the federal farm bill allows for State Agricultural Departments, colleges and universities within states with current, approved hemp legislation to grow hemp for industrial and research purposes. 

Alongside the progress of the amendments in the federal farm bill are independent industrial hemp bills, introduced by the 113th Congress: H.R.525, the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013,” (introduced in the U.S. House on February 6, 2013) has currently been referred to the Sub-Committee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations and SB359, the Senate companion to HB525, was read twice and referred to the Committee on Judiciary. 
To date, thirty two state have introduced pro-hemp legislation. Twenty have passed. Ten states: *California, *Colorado, *Kentucky, *Maine, *Montana, *North Dakota, *Oregon, *Vermont, *Washington, *West Virginia have passed industrial hemp laws and have removed barriers to its production. 
Three states, *Hawai’i, *Kentucky, and *Maryland have passed bills to commission and authorize research for industrial hemp. Nine states, *California, *Colorado, *Illinois, *Montana, *New Hampshire, *New Mexico, *North Dakota, *Vermont, and *Virginia have passed resolutions. 
Eight states have passed study bills: *Arkansas, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Vermont. 
“Although I strongly opposed the Republican Farm Bill, I was pleased to see that the bipartisan amendment that I offered with Representatives Blumenauer and Massie was included in the final bill that passed the House of Representatives today,” said Rep. Polis, a sponsor of HB525 and SB359. “This common sense amendment will allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes in states where industrial hemp cultivation is already legal. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that this language becomes law.”

“This is an important victory for farmers, manufacturers, and consumers in Kentucky and across the country. Our amendment paves the way for production of industrial hemp by first allowing America’s academic and research institutions to demonstrate that hemp and the products derived from hemp present a great economic opportunity for our country,” said Representative Thomas Massie, Republican Rep. from Kentucky, who supported HB 525.
Rep. Massie followed up by stating, “The inclusion of our industrial hemp amendment in the farm bill reflects widespread support for cultivating industrial hemp and proves Congress can work together in a bipartisan fashion to help the American economy at a time when creating jobs is a national priority.”
Industrial hemp was once a vital commodity in the United States, especially in the state of Kentucky. Prior to the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act of 1939, the infamous “Reefer Madness” craze, and the impending WWII in the 40s, Kentucky farmers lead the way for cultivation of industrial hemp. With a long history of growing hemp dating back to 1775, Kentucky produced more than 40,000 tons by 1850. Post-Civil War, almost all of the United States hemp was grown in Kentycky. 
“This is an important victory for Kentucky’s farmers, and I was pleased to be able to secure this language on behalf of our state,” KY Senator Mitch McConnell stated. “By giving states the go-ahead to cultivate hemp for pilot programs, we are laying the groundwork for a new commodity market for Kentucky farmers. By exploring innovative ways to use hemp to benefit a variety of Kentucky industries, while avoiding negative impact to Kentucky law enforcement’s efforts at marijuana interdiction, the pilot programs authorized by this legislation could help boost our state’s economy.”

States With Pending Hemp Legislation 2014 

**Arizona State Legislature: HB2558/SB1122-Defines industrial hemp. Introduced on 1/21/2014

**Hawaii State Legislature: SB2175- Authorizes the growing of industrial hemp for certain purposes under specified conditions. Introduced in the Senate and first reading on 1/16/2014. Referred to Intergovernmental and Military Affairs and Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection/Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor on 1/17/2014. 

HB154- Authorizes the Chair of the Board of Agriculture to establish an industrial hemp remediation pilot program. Appropriates funds. Introduced in the House on 1/18/2013. Carried over to the 2014 Regular Session on 12/18/2013. 

**Indiana General Assembly: SB357- Industrial Hemp. Subject to federal approval, authorizes the department of agriculture to license the cultivation and production of industrial hemp. Establishes requirements to obtain a license. Authorizes inspections by the state police and audits by the department. Requires the department to apply the necessary permissions, waivers, or other form of legal status by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency or other appropriate federal agency that is necessary to implement the law. Makes a conforming amendment to the definition of “marijuana” First reading: Referred to Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on 1/14/2014

**Mississippi Legislature: HB1201- Industrial hemp; legalize and regulate for certain purposes. Introduced on 1/20/14 and referred to Agriculture and Judiciary Committees. 

**Nebraska Unicameral Legislature: LB 1001- Production and marketing of industrial hemp, exempt industrial hemp from the Uniform Controlled Substance Act, and provide powers and dutires for the Department of Agriculture. Introduced 1/21/2014 and referred to the Judiciary Committee. First reading 2/20/2014. 

**New Hampshire State General Court: HB153- Carried over from 2014. This bill prohibits the designation of industrial hemp as a controlled substance. Introduced 1/3/2013. Passed the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committtee by a vote of 17 to 2, Ought to Pass (OTP) on 2/19/2013. Committee Report: OTP with Amendment #2014-0050s (An Amendment to establish a committee to study the growth and sale of industrial hemp in New Hampshire) on 1/30/2014. 

**New Jersey Legislature: A2145- Established an industrial hemp license. Made its’ way through Assembly Committee, substituted by S3110, Died in Chamber 1/13/2014

**New York State Assembly: S05978- Establishes procedures for the growing of industrial hemp. Introduced on 11/4/2013. Referred to the Rules Committee on 11/4/2013. Referred to the Agriculture Committee on 1/8/2014 

A08297- to establish policy and procedures for the growing of industrial hemp in the state so that farmers and other  businesses  in  the  agricultural industry can take advantage of this market opportunity when federal regulations permit. 
Introduced on 12/6/2013. Referred to the Agriculture Committee on 1/8/2014. 

**Oklahoma Legislature: SB2116- Marijuana legalization, taxation, and regulation. Also defines industrial hemp. Introduced and first reading on 2/3/2014. Second reading referred to Public Safety Committee then to Finance Committee

**South Carolina Legislature: S839- To amend Title 46 of the 1976 Code, relating to agriculture, by adding Chapter 55 concerning industrial hemp; to provide that it is lawful to grow industrial hemp in this state; to clarify that industrial hemp is excluded from the definition of marijuana; to prohibit growing industrial hemp and marijuana on the same property or otherwise growing marijuana in close proximity to industrial hemp to disguise the marijuana growth; and to define necessary terms. Introduced in the Senate and read for the first time on 1/14/14. Referred to Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources on 1/14/14.

**Resources provided by www.votehemp.com. Please visit for more information on how to get involved with the industrial hemp movement in the U.S.

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