House Bill 1831, which was introduced last year by Texas Republican Ron Paul and a coalition of 25 co-sponsors, and SB 3501, introduced this August in the Senate by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and three co-sponsors, would exclude low potency varieties of marijuana from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity. Several states -- including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont -- have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1831 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.
Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra stated, "It is due time for the Senate as well as President Obama and the Attorney General to prioritize the crop's benefits to farmers and to take action like Rep. Paul and the cosponsors of H.R. 1831 have done. With the U.S. hemp industry valued at over $400 million in annual retail sales and growing, a change in federal policy to allow hemp farming would mean instant job creation, among many other economic and environmental benefits."
According to a 2010 Congressional Resource Service report, "approximately 30 countries in Europe, Asia, and North and South America currently permit farmers to grow hemp." But the United States does not. As a result, U.S. companies that specialize in hempen goods have no choice but to import hemp material. These added production costs are then passed on to the consumer who must pay artificially high retail prices for hemp products.
Previous versions of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act have been introduced in the House, but failed to receive a public hearing or a committee vote. This is the first year the issue has ever been introduced in the Senate. Please write your members of Congress today and tell them to end the federal prohibition of industrial hemp production. For your convenience, a prewritten letter will be e-mailed to your member of Congress when you enter your contact information below. For more information about industrial hemp, please visit: http://www.votehemp.org.Thank you for assisting NORML's federal law reform efforts.