A bi-partisan bill has been introduced in Congress to exempt industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act and allow the further commercialization of hemp crops. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced by Republican Congressmen from Kentucky James Comer and Thomas Massie, Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte, and Colorado Democrat Jared Polis.
“I am honored to sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act because I know firsthand the economic viability of industrial hemp,” Rep. Comer, the former Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture said in a press release. “Hemp has created new opportunities for family farmers and good paying jobs for American workers, especially in Kentucky.”
Rep. Goodlatte said that “outdated, well-intentioned” federal restrictions on hemp are responsible for the lack of commercialization and cultivation of hemp in the U.S. and removing those restrictions “will finally allow for responsible commercial production without fear of violating federal law.”
Rep. Massie said he was “optimistic” that the bill would get to the president’s desk.
“In 2014, for the first time in over half a century, hemp was grown and harvested in Kentucky under the pilot programs allowed by the Polis-Massie-Blumenauer amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill,” he said. “I look forward to working with Congressman Comer to build on that momentum to give our nation’s farmers and manufacturers more opportunities to compete and succeed in the global economy.”
Rep. Polis called hemp a “sustainable alternative to plastics and other environmentally harmful products,” noting that it “can be used in everything from construction materials to paper to lotions and even ice cream.”
“It’s past time that we eliminate absurd barriers and allow hemp farmers to get to work, create jobs, and grow this promising and historically important crop,” he said.
The measure would treat hemp like other traditional agricultural crops like corn and soybeans.