Ron Paul and Barney Frank Introduce Hemp Farming Legislation – HR 1866

A federal bill was introduced yesterday that, if passed into law, would remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp. The chief sponsors of HR 1866, “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009,” Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX), were joined by nine other U.S. House members split between Republicans and Democrats.

“It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market,” said Representative Ron Paul during his introduction of the bill yesterday before the U.S. House. “Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act,” concluded Paul.

“With so much discussion lately in the media about drug policy, it is surprising that the tragedy of American hemp farming hasn’t come up as a ‘no-brainer’ for reform,” says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. “Hemp is a versatile, environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown here for over fifty years because of a politicized interpretation of the nation’s drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). President Obama should direct the DEA to stop confusing industrial hemp with its genetically distinct cousin, marijuana. While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful that President Obama’s administration will prioritize hemp’s benefits to farmers. Jobs would be created overnight, as there are numerous U.S. companies that now have no choice but to import hemp raw materials worth many millions of dollars per year,” adds Steenstra.

U.S. companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a California company who manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap, and FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana company whose natural fiber materials are used in over two million cars on the road today. Hemp food manufacturers, such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature’s Path and Nutiva, now make their products from Canadian hemp. Although hemp now grows wild across the U.S., a vestige of centuries of hemp farming here, the hemp for these products must be imported. Hemp clothing is made around the world by well-known brands such as Patagonia, Bono’s Edun and Giorgio Armani.

There is strong support among key national organizations for a change in the federal government’s position on hemp. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) “supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp.” The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has also passed a pro-hemp resolution.

Numerous individual states have expressed interest in and support for industrial hemp as well. Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation, and eight states (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. North Dakota has been issuing state licenses to farmers for two years now. The new bill will remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of hemp to take effect.

“Under the current national drug control policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it can’t be grown by American farmers,” says Steenstra. “The DEA has taken the Controlled Substances Act’s antiquated definition of marijuana out of context and used it as an excuse to ban industrial hemp farming. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 will return us to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but allowed farmers to continue raising industrial hemp just as they always had.”

More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com.

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
United States House of Representatives
Statement Introducing HR 1866, Industrial Hemp Farming Act
April 2, 2009

Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp.

Eight States–Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia–allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with state laws. However, federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these states growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the United States must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers.

Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act’s inclusion of industrial hemp in the schedule one definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp. Federal law concedes the safety of industrial hemp by allowing it to be legally imported for use as food.

The United States is the only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation. The Congressional Research Service has noted that hemp is grown as an established agricultural commodity in over 30 nations in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act will relieve this unique restriction on American farmers and allow them to grow industrial hemp in accord with state law.

Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the United States for most of our nation’s history. In fact, during World War II, the federal government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. The Department of Agriculture even produced a film “Hemp for Victory” encouraging the plant’s cultivation.

In recent years, the hemp plant has been put to many popular uses in foods and in industry. Grocery stores sell hemp seeds and oil as well as food products containing oil and seeds from the hemp plant. Industrial hemp is also included in consumer products such as paper, cloths, cosmetics, and carpet. One of the more innovative recent uses of industrial hemp is in the door frames of about 1.5 million cars. Hemp has even been used in alternative automobile fuel.

It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and cosponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

  • Charles

    Let’s support Ron Paul and Barney Frank on this and the reduction of military spending. The political environment today is irrational and toxic. If people don’t rally behind these two, they will be shot down by the corporate government and media that are threatening to destroy the ideals this country was founded on.

    »crosslinked«

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  • Spaklemahn

    We in the USA are forced to purchase hemp products made with imported hemp! This is unacceptable, and an affront to U.S. hemp farmers and the founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson will not rest in peace until American farmers are able to legally grow hemp!

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  • http://www.supportyourlocalhempfarmer.com Bill Butler

    Dear All,

    Over the past three months some associates and myself have developed a website called http://www.SupportYourLocalHempFarmer.com.

    We are selling products that promote the legalization of industrial hemp in the United States. I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to visit our website, and consider the benefits of growing industrial hemp in the United States.

    Not only are we promoting the industrial hemp movement but all of our products are 100% made in the USA. Our stickers are made by a local printer in the Phoenix Arizona area and our “T” shirts are 100% organic using all-American organic cotton.

    At first I thought that making an all-American organic shirt would be simple. Well it’s not. The United States only supplies 1.2% of the organic cotton world wide, thus making it difficult to purchase 100% USA grown and made organic apparel. Now (if you are still reading this), I would like you to take a quick peek at the tag in the shirt you are wearing. I can almost guarantee that it does not say “Made in the USA.” And if it does say “Made in the USA,” I can almost guarantee that the material in your shirt is in fact made from fabric that is grown in some other region of the world.

    Support Your Local Hemp Farmer is dedicated to thinking globally but buying locally, thus helping to do your part in supporting American farmers and American-owned companies. The state of our country’s textile industry alone helps reinforce the fact that our farmers need to have the freedom to grow industrial hemp, a versatile crop that will increase their production and that can be used for everything from clothing to plastics.

    We welcome your feedback, both positive and negative. Please forward this message to all like minded people that you know.

    Thanks for your support

    Bill Butler
    Stan Nelson
    Rosylani Marcellino

    Founding Members
    http://www.SupportYourLocalHempFarmer.com
    http://www.onevoice-onenation.com
    http://www.myspace.com/supporturlocalhempfarmer
    http://www.facebook.com/supportyourlocalhempfarmer
    http://twitter.com/SYLHF

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  • http://selfsufficientgoddess.blogspot.com stealth

    All I want to see is for this bill to get passed. I hope you will all consider joining twitter and tweeting with the #TCOT hash tag about hemp. HR1866 passage could change the whole face of the American economy but for some reasons most conservatives are paying no attention. Today I found myself on a site where a bunch of Canadians were gloating about how glad they were that America still has laws against growing hemp and how we send them all the business.

    Hemp is making millionaires in Canada while in America families are losing their farms. Promoting the benefits of hemp is easy to do- there is so much information about it on the web. I propose that instead of complaining about Obama or this and that, we all just run our own local PR campaign to get support for HR 1866 off the ground.
    (I also submit that the support for industrial hemp should not be blended with that of the psychoactive strain of cannabis. That association is what criminalized crop hemp in the first place.)

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  • Kristen

    Question: What can I do to improve the success of this bill even being voted on??? I’ve asked everyone I know to write their Reps but what else?
    And Attn CA: Sen Feinstein, whom I hope is voted out, replied that it was a Schedule I drug and IF a bill is ever proposed she would keep my views in mind. I know it’s a House bill, but I specifically asked her to support this bill and I get a very obvious form letter. She explained to me that it was a Schedule I drug like I was a kid who didn’t know better.
    I was already mad at her for opposing Prop 5.

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  • Kristen

    Spread it around… Jack Herer is having a contest and giving $100,000 to anyone who can prove he’s wrong about Hemp.
    Love to think about all those ignorant people running around trying to prove him wrong with no hope of success. This plant is so easily grown and maintained and produces so many products and one acre could save around 4 acres of trees and on and on.
    Even the seeds are really healthy…

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  • http://www.larrynichols.com/ shotgunsusie

    the 13 original colonies had a law that you must grow at least 1 acre of hemp if you owned land. i did my senior thesis paper on the history of hemp in high school in 1977. :)

    at that time, the first known record of hemp was the engravings on the pyramid walls of the plant.

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  • ChrisC

    I always feel warm and cozy in my choice of writing Ron Paul in on the ticket. The common sense approach oozes from him and this site. Thanks Ron. One of the few non kool-aid drinking, sober mind folks speaking out today.

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  • Andrew

    May good blessing be with you Ron Paul and Ron Paul supporters. We will overcome the tyranny of the past with knowledge, patience, and compassion. I pray for a healthy and better educated America.

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  • Cheryl A.

    Ron,

    HEMP equals new industries… Let us keep it competitive with NO monopolies!

    Thanks…

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  • Linda DeGaetano

    It’s very refreshing to hear someone speak from ‘common sense’ which is greatly lacking in world leaders. Many of us have been waiting for the day when one of Life’s plants can be of service in a right way.
    THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU

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  • Jerry Moler

    Thank you Representative Paul. I grew up in Nebraska and during World War II the navy contracted with farmers there to grow hemp for the navy. It was used for many things besides rope. It should be noted that most of the forefathers of this country grew hemp and some believed our economy would be based on hemp production and processing. As a green fuel it makes menthanol. This is what Henry Ford designed his early cars to run on as it was easy to produce and it was renewable and at that time hemp was readily available. Wow what a great idea. Fueling cars on a cheap, clean and renewable fuel. I wonder why that idea didn’t take hold. I wonder today why it isn’t being offered as an alternative energy source. It’s a lot better than using corn to produce ethanol. I could go on and on. This is the most useful plant on the planet and we keep ignoring it for some completely stupid reasons. Lifting prohibition is way over due. Thanks to Ron Paul and like minded people we might see the light at the end of this terrible policy.

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    • TFerello

      It is time we unite and stand up to the political whores of our government. Why do we need a legislative vote to grow commercial hemp?We need to protect the farmers willing to stand up to the ******* money whore politicians and just grow the hemp. Do you think the feds want a nation wide WACO if we all stand behind what we all know is right. We really need to start standing up for our constitutional rights again.

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  • Aaron

    Why did they fail to mention our own US Navy uses Industrial Hemp for the ropes they use to secure ships.

    This law is and always has been ignorant and shows just how blind people in America have become.

    Thank you Rep. Paul for putting this on the table!

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    • Nate D

      Agreed!
      People who want should just grow this, and tell the government to f@ck off. Large corps are the only reason this somehow became illegal.

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