Written by Roger Lothamer
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden was in Eugene on Saturday February 23, 2013, to attend the Oregon vs Stanford men’s basketball game, meet with WWII and Korean War veterans at the Oregon Air Space Museum, and present the museum with an American flag flown over The Nation's Capitol.
At the end of the Air Space Museum presentation and before he went to the game, I took the opportunity to ask the Senator about Industrial Hemp. He quickly answered me:
“I'll just tell you, I think that this ban on Industrial hemp is an example of a really dumb regulation. And I have introduced a bill to get rid of it.”
“And what really drove it home for me is when my wife and I were over at Costco in Tigard. Over by the cereal section there was a big bag and we took a picture of it, put it up on our website, and it said 'Hemp Hearts'.”
“And I said to her, “This is really crazy! In other words, you can sell it in Oregon here in our Costco's store but our farmers can't make some money growing it here. The farmers in all these other countries are laughing all the way to the bank because they get to make the money growing it, and somebody ships it to Oregon and puts it in a bag here.”
“So, I introduced a bi-partisan Bill this year with Vince McConnell, the Republican leader of the United States Senate, who co-sponsored the Bill. Were gonna push it hard.” And as he left, the Senator repeated it emphatically, “Were gonna push it hard!”
The bill is called the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 (US Senate Bill 359, US House Bill 525). The bill is the first time in modern history members of the United States Senate have introduced legislation in Congress to allow for the commercial production of industrial hemp.
If passed, the bill not only will amend the US Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana; but the measure will also grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.
Senator McConnell, who recently supported a hemp farming bill in his home state of Kentucky and is a co-sponsor of the US Senate Industrial Hemp Bill, says:
“I am convinced that allowing hemp production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farms, families, and economy. The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real, and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”
<--- Here's Henry Ford's bio-plastic car --->
< Watch him swinging an ax at his 1941 car to demonstrate the toughness of the plastic trunk door made of hemp.
Today, 30+ nations permit the growing of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is also recognized as a legal and legitimate crop in both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not permit the production of industrial hemp. Moreover, the United States is the leading importer of hemp products. Currently, the North American hemp market exceeds an estimated $750 million in annual retail sales.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, since 1990 hemp containing less than 0.3 percent THC, has been legalized in Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. In other countries, such as China, Russia, and Hungary, hemp production was never outlawed.
In an economy like we have now, it is impractical to ignore the economic benefits that industrial hemp could provide. Plus, there are the environmental impacts of continuing the use of petroleum, coal, forest-products, animal-proteins, and poisonous pharmacopoeias.
Proven Facts about Industrial Hemp:
When our economy begs for help, we cannot ignore the #1 natural annually renewable resource on Earth: Hemp.
Hemp is poised to help the economy of our nation and the healing of our world. Decriminalization of Hemp would be a boon to American farmers and to our economy.
Hemp produces super-strong fibers, oils, seeds, fuels, medicines and much more. With it, American industry can create textiles, building materials, dietary supplements, food, eco-friendly lubricants and even car parts!
If we subsidized the Industrial Hemp market instead of Petroleum, we would not need oil-wars.
Oregon was the home of Jack Herer, who lived and died here in Eugene. Many of us in Oregon knew him and learned from him just how prolific this plant is and how many diverse products can be manufactured from it.
Jack wrote the best-seller--The Emperor Wears No Clothes--the classic reference-book for Hemp resources, history, and uses. This re-legalization of Hemp movement was all started by Jack’s book & initiatives.
What I personally learned from Jack Herer is that Hemp is really the #1 natural resource on the planet; and the only thing criminal about it is the law prohibiting it.
It certainly would be appropriate for Oregon to be up to bat on this right now, hitting a home-run for our local economy and putting money into our farmers' banks. Thanks to our US senator and our US Reps, we have a good chance now. Supporting this legislation could be the biggest boost to our economy since we struck gold.
Does Oregon want to be laughing all the way to the bank?
According to Senator Wyden, Oregon and at least 32 other states definitely want their share of this new Trillion Dollar Crop!
Learn more here:
Source 1: Duppong, Thomas A., "Industrial Hemp: How the Classification of Industrial Hemp Marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act Has Caused the Dream of Growing Industrial Hemp in North Dakota to Go up in Smoke," North Dakota Law Review (Grand Forks, ND: University of North Dakota School of Law, 2009) Vol. 85, No. 2, pp. 409-410.
Source 2: United States Department of Agriculture, "Industrial Hemp in the United States: Status and Market Potential" (Washington, DC: January 2000), p. iii.