US Senate To Consider Hemp Farming Legislation For First Time

For the first time in modern history, members of the United States Senate have introduced legislation in Congress to allow for the commercial production of industrial hemp. Last week, Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced Senate Bill 359 to amend the US Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The measure grants state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.

Senator McConnell is the Senate minority leader. He is a former opponent of hemp law reform.

“I am convinced that allowing [hemp] production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy,” Sen. McConnell said in a statement. “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”

Senate Bill 359 is the companion bill to House Bill 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013. That measure has 28 co-sponsors.

Eight states — Colorado, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia — have enacted statutory changes defining industrial hemp as distinct agricultural product and allowing for its regulated commercial production. Passage of HR 525/S 359 would remove existing federal barriers and allow these states and others the authority to do so without running afoul of federal anti-drug laws.

According to a Congressional Research Service report, “The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop.”

Additional information regarding HR 525/S 359 is available from NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

21 thoughts

  1. Hopefully this bill will get on the floor for vote. Too often promising legislation falls away and dies in commitee or some other horrible death…..

  2. Hello
    Check this Hemp car and car fueled by hemp car.

    Remember to send in your monthly pledge of $20 that is only .66 cents a day. Anybody can aford that.Help NORML help us be able to have our freedom to smoke.

  3. “…Sen. McConnell said in a statement. “The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”

    It took decades to convince this guy of this simple, obvious truth. Apparently, in ‘difficult economic times’ outdated ideology takes a back seat to science.

  4. So if this passes, will I be permitted by law to grow one or two hemp plants in my home? I wouldn’t smoke them…I don’t like headaches and stomach cramps. But I would like one as a house plant.

  5. That highly influential republicans are getting on the bandwagon is a major step. I’ve noticed comments on conservative sites are leaning more and more towards Federalism.

    I suspect more reform will happen, and soon. The silence on this is deafening. Normally, a bill would be intorduced and immediately influential politicians would dismiss it and get on with their agendas. That hasn’t happened this time.

    These maneuvers on The Hill betray a more significant set of negotiations going on. While the nature of that horse trading remains secret, the behaviors are evident, and my guess is the CSA will be amended to remove cannabis from Schedule I. It will likely be moved to Schedule II or III for medicinal use (a subjective debate given cannabis’ relatively low addiction potential, but I digress).

    Legislation allowing states to regulate and tax recreational use will be MUCH more difficult with certain cons hating cannabis and users to their very core. These same legislators are beholden to law enforcement to a degree of bias that is an appalling digrace to logic and the will of voters. One need only look at Cavenagh in Arizona (state legislature), or Richard Shelby (US senator from Alabama) to see that certain factions will fight viciously. The battle is FAR from over, but the momentum is with activists.

    Lastly, I encourage each and every activist to watch the news reports for anything involving Smart Approach to Marijuana, Kevin Sabet, David Frum, or their own favorite addict, Mr. Kennedy. When an article gets posted with their subtle and very deceptive statements, get in the comments section and get the facts out. Refute very statement with facts and studies that show the truth about cannabis harms. It’s truth and honesty that will win this, not subtle arguments that try to secretly keep the stays quo.

    That is all…

  6. Discovery is airing a new marijuana miniseries. It’s be nice to see the reportage. After this one, Wednesdays from 10-11 pm EST they’re supposed to air another new one then called Pot Cops, same time slot.

    WASHINGTON, February 20, 2013 —With the success of a show like Moonshiners on Discovery Channel, it was just a matter of time before the network found pot farmers willing to share their similar lawless exploits with TV viewers. The result of their search airs tonight at 10 p.m. With cameras in tow, Weed Country goes deep within the Emerald Triangle, a region in Northern California well known for the quality and quantity of its marijuana.

    In part, Weed Country focuses on Siskiyou County, and a town within the county appropriately named “Weed.” Originally named after a timber tycoon, Weed, Ca. is one of the many small towns in the Emerald Triangle that have taken the cultivation of marijuana to a whole new level.

    The growers consider themselves producers of a product with medicinal values that have the potential to help millions of people. Regardless of their noble rhetoric, the driving force in growers’ efforts is the potential for profits that are limited only by the size of their crops and their ability to avoid capture.

    The flip side of the coin is the law enforcement effort to identify, arrest and prosecute the cultivators and marketers of a substance that is legal according to state law, but still a violation of federal law. This conflicting dynamic is the source of varying opinions voiced by the players and chasers alike.

    As the national debate on marijuana’s place in American society heats up, the cast of Weed Country will provide faces and places to associate with the battle. This six-part series will be followed by Pot Cops in April. Pot Cops will focus on law enforcement efforts to eradicate marijuana in Humboldt County, Ca.

    Regardless of your opinion of the future of marijuana, Weed Country is an inside look into one of the many issues that pits states rights against Federal law. These days, that’s always a battle worth watching.

    Meanwhile, check out the explosive and provocative trailer below. It will give you some idea of the scope and the stake of what’s involved in this controversial issue.

  7. @HmmmSaysDavidHume

    “That highly influential republicans are getting on the bandwagon is a major step.”

    Yes Indeed! MAJOR! A pillar stone of anti-reform is gone.

  8. This is the best news that I’ve heard in years, however there are those who are attempting to use our momentum to legalize everything. We must make a distinction between cannabis and industrial drugs in the movement otherwise we would end up ruining the effort of planetary aid.

  9. It looks like it has enough bipartisan support and that’s usually the key.They all know it’s time. They also know that weed will be legal soon because that’s what the people want. Some will try to hold out but we’re just about there. We need to make this a high priority for the 2014 election and again in 2016. Yeah, it would be nice to be able to get high legally but what I really want to see is an end to incarcerating people over weed.

  10. you realize someone told them about the new profit potentials with a new introduction of a plant and after passed they will use all their money (and friends money) in the market and monopolize on hemp production and product creation as much as possible….in it for themselves since the world is dwindling

  11. Just a few years ago, we couldn’t even think about marihuana. Now the Feds are trying to make money out of it. My how things can change.

    Plant your seed make more weed.
    Thanks NORML

  12. This is NOT the first time .. haven’t any of you ever seen the movie “Hemp for America” .. my Grandfather in Kentucky grew it during World War 2 .. my mom worked in the fields as a child for a dollar a day … So America HAS grown it before … Now we need to make all Cannabis Legal. Even Medical Grade Marijuana. It is the right time this country needs the revenue and the people need the help. Medical Grade could cost 30.00/oz., 10.00/oz. for the farmer to grow the Medial Quality, 10.00/oz. to the tax man for the revenue, America needs the money and then 10.00/oz. for the people to make sure that the quality is up to the standards and clean it and get it on the shelves, ALL across America. Now this is just one ounce of Medical Grade. The farmer could sell the rest to the paper companies to make reusable computer paper to toilet paper, the 2-ply, soft type. Plus the other could be sold to the clothing companies, it is stronger then cotton. You will save farmers land’s, help the sick and make enough to get America out of debit in a VERY short time. Every body wins!

  13. Legal hemp would benefit our country and lives. To put belief into McConnell’s supposed support is not realistic. This is nothing more than pandering for support and votes. He knows it will be shot down by his clan of vipers, the legislative branch of bribe hungry psychopaths. The state of Kentucky eradicates tons of hemp yearly. Big Oil, Big Pharma etc. won’t allow this to go forward.

  14. i’m sure people are done reading and commenting here but oh well. i emailed my rep on all the bills and he’s pretty much being a turd about everything but industrial hemp and to that he says he doesn’t know if local law enforcement would be able to distinguish between hemp and cannabis. like….what? would’t the state or fed issue a cultivation license to whoever decides to farm hemp? therefore if they have plants and can’t produce a license take action, and if they have a licence then provide your law enforcement with training to recognize hemp vs. cannabis? is there something i’m missing that would be so difficult about this situation? i don’t know how to respond to him on this issue and not be an ass lol.

  15. When I heard about this i was so stoked I started looking for land. Looking at 47 acres at 2k and acre. LoL… I am ready to sign the deed. Lets get this one pushed through kids. As a farmer I AM READY TO TAKE ON THIS CHALLENGE!!! As a politician so should you.

  16. And the reason the tobacco companies suddenly decided to pay the piper was what? Years ago I said this would be the path tobacco companies would follow. First pay the states billions of PSA dollars a year because they suddenly had compassion for the people they were harming. Second, grow hemp, or pot, or whatever else could turn a profit.

    No complaints. It is long overdue and the synthetic fiber producers and oil companies should be shut out of the decision process, or at least their lobbyists should be.

    Now, with the impending sequester, how about NORML and all of the intelligent people in the US start pushing for prompt national legalization? Prompt, like by decree, today! How much could be saved if the police, the courts, the prisons were freed of the nonsense of prosecuting people for pot? LOTS!!!

    How many lives would be saved if people did not have a stupid pot arrest on their record? LOTS!! Get it done already.

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