[quoted56914c008]WASHINGTON, DC — For the second time since the federal government outlawed hemp farming in the United States, a federal bill has been introduced that would remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp. The chief sponsor of H.R. 1009, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007," is Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) and the nine original co-sponsors are Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Jim McDermott (D-WA), George Miller (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). The bill may be viewed online here.
"It is indefensible that the United States government prevents American farmers from growing this crop. The prohibition subsidizes farmers in countries from Canada to Romania by eliminating American competition and encourages jobs in industries such as food, auto parts and clothing that utilize industrial hemp to be located overseas instead of in the United States," said Dr. Paul. "By passing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act the House of Representatives can help American farmers and reduce the trade deficit — all without spending a single taxpayer dollar."
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 2 million cars. 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 grows wild across the U.S., a vestige of centuries of hemp farming, the hemp for these products must be imported. Health Canada statistics show that 48,060 acres of industrial hemp were produced in Canada in 2006. Farmers in Canada have reported that hemp is one of the most profitable crops that they can grow. 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 industrial hemp as well. Fifteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation; seven (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. North Dakota has issued state licenses, the first in fifty years, to two farmers so far. Rep. Paul's bill would remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of industrial 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 Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "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 2007 will bring us back to more rational times when the government regulated marijuana, but told farmers they could go ahead and continue raising hemp just as they always had," says Mr. Steenstra.
Vote Hemp is a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow low-THC industrial hemp. More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.HempIndustries.org. BETA SP or DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at 202-744-2671.[/quoted56914c008]
Some interesting facts
- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and a few of our forefathers were hemp farmers.
- Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.
- Betsy Ross made the first flag of the United States of America out of the finest, strongest fiber available... Hemp.
- Henry Ford experimented with hemp to build car bodies. He wanted to build and fuel cars from farm products.
- Rudolph Diesel designed his engine to run on hemp oil.
- Construction products such as medium density fiber board, oriented strand board, and even beams, studs and posts could be made out of hemp. Because of hemp's long fibers, the products will be stronger and/or lighter than those made from wood.
- Hemp can displace cotton which is usually grown with massive amounts of chemicals harmful to people and the environment. 50% of all the world's pesticides are sprayed on cotton.
- Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent and more mildew-resistant than cotton.
- Hemp can displace wood fiber and save forests for watershed, wildlife habitat, recreation and oxygen production, carbon sequestration (reduces global warming), and other values.
- Hemp can yield 3-8 dry tons of fiber per acre. This is four times what an average forest can yield.
- Hemp grows well in a variety of climates and soil types. It is naturally resistant to most pests, precluding the need for pesticides. It grows tightly spaced, out-competing any weeds, so herbicides are not necessary. It also leaves a weed-free field for a following crop.
- Hemp can be made into fine quality paper. The long fibers in hemp allow such paper to be recycled several times more than wood-based paper.
- During World War II, the United States government (Department of Agriculture) issued a video titled "Hemp for Victory" encouraging farmers to grow hemp.
- Just about anything can be made from hemp... Food, fiber, textiles, paper, construction supplies, fuel... and even plastics.
The "Hemp For Victory" video is available here
[bd56914c008]"Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere." - President George Washington, 1794[/bd56914c008]