Since the beginning of the year, more than 70 bills related to hemp have been introduced in more than half of the states in the U.S. That’s more than triple the number of hemp bills introduced during the same legislation period last year, and nearly double the total amount of hemp bills introduced in all of 2013.
Added to that is the recent passage of the Farm Bill, which legalizes industrial hemp production for research purposes in states that permit it. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), one of the congressmen who introduced the industrial hemp amendment to the Farm Bill, told The Huffington Post that all the progress on hemp legislation is a key indicator of just how fast policy is changing in the U.S.
“It’s not just turning a corner, it’s turning a corner and running downhill,” Blumenauer said. “The case against industrial hemp production has always been flawed, but now three things are happening. One, we’ve been able to make some significant inroads in a variety of states that have already passed legislation easing [production]. Second, the actual amendment to the Far. . . . . READ MORE
Oregon farmers could put in a crop of industrial hemp next spring if a panel of experts can satisfy federal officials with a set of tightly drawn rules. The committee of agricultural experts and state policy officials has been selected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and will come together in December, the Oregonian reported .
The committee hopes to set up a program that will meet what the federal government calls a “robust” standard, said Jim Cramer, a market and certification official in the department. He said the goal is to do so in time for planting.
Oregon is one of seven states with laws permitting industrial hemp — a strain of marijuana with only a trace of the plant’s psychoactive chemical.
Hemp’s historic use has been for rope. These days it is put to hundreds of uses: clothing and mulch from the fiber, for instance, and foods such as hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds, as well as creams, soap and lotions.
Oregon officials have held off implementing the state’s 2009 law, saying they would wait until the federal government reclassified marijuana from a substance pr. . . . . READ MORE
Loflin is among about two dozen Colorado farmers who raised industrial hemp, marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin that can’t be grown under federal drug law, and bringing in the nation’s first acknowledged crop in more than five decades.
Emboldened by voters in Colorado and Washington last year giving the green light to both marijuana and industrial hemp production, Loflin planted 55 acres of several varieties of hemp alongside his typical alfalfa and wheat crops. The hemp came in sparse and scraggly this month, but Loflin said but he’s still turning away buyers.
“Phone’s been ringing off the hook,” said Loflin, who plans to press the seeds into oil and sell the fibrous remainder to buyers who’ll use it in building materials, fabric and rope. “People want to buy more than I can grow.”
But hemp’s economic prospects are far from certain. Finished hemp is legal in the U.S., but growing it remains off-limits under federal law. The C. . . . . READ MORE