Yesterday, Feb 17th, 2014, the Washington State House voted unanimously to approve HB1888, the Hemp Freedom Act. The vote was 97-0. Sponsored by Representative Matt Shea (R), along with Christopher Hurst (D), Cary Condotta (R), Jeff Holy (R), David Taylor (R) and Jason Overstreet (R), the Hemp Freedom Act would “permit the development in Washington of an industrial hemp industry,” effectively nullifying the de facto federal prohibition on the farming and production of hemp crops within the United States. House Bill 1888 received unanimous support in the House and now heads to the Senate. The measure authorizes the director of the Department of Agriculture to issue licenses to grow industrial hemp. The department would be designated as the sole source and supplier of seeds used for industrial-hemp production. Hemp is used to make a variety of different products, including clothing, food, beauty products and biofuels. Introduced in February 2013, HB1888…
The recreational marijuana use now legal in Washington, state legislators are eyeing whether the state should also allow an industrial hemp industry.
Hemp, like marijuana, comes from the cannabis plant but has much less THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that makes people high. The hemp plant has thousands of industrial uses and could provide a new cash crop for farmers.
The state Senate is considering a bill that would authorize Washington State University to study the feasibility and possible value of an industrial hemp industry in Washington.
“We have a long tradition of hemp usage on our country,” said State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, a sponsor of the bill. “The Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.”
The federal government outlawed hemp decades ago as part of its efforts to stop marijuana production and use, Kohl-Welles said.
Several people spoke in support of the bill at a recent hearing by the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development committee.
Aimee Warner, a member of the Washington Hemp Industry Association, said the crop would grow well in the state’s climate.
“Our farmers are ready to, and need to, start putting industrial hemp seeds into the ground immediately,” Warner said. “There is an irrational fear of this historically persecuted crop.”
Chris Mulick, a lobbyist for Washington State University, said the college is “eager to help the state understand the viability and profitability of growing industrial hemp.”
But he warned the university must comply with U.S. laws in order to keep receiving federal research funds and student aid dollars.
Mark Streuli of the state Department of Agriculture said that agency also supports hemp cultivation.
“We think if there’s a prospect of a crop out there that enhances the viability of agriculture in Washington state, we support that,” Streuli said.
There is no organized opposition to the hemp study bill, which passed the committee and was sent to the Ways and Means Committee.
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
The Associated Press
For centuries, industrial hemp (plant species Cannabis Sativa) has been a source of fiber and oilseed used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products. Currently, more than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is sold on the world market. In the United States, however, production is strictly controlled under existing drug enforcement laws. There is no known commercial domestic production and the U.S. market depends on imports. Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. However, hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. Hemp has long been cultivated for non-drug use in the production of industrial and other goods. Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products. It can be grown as a fiber, seed, or other dual-purpose crop. Hemp fibers are…
U.S. Representative Massie Introduces Industrial Hemp Bill Wednesday February 6, 2013 “Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers” WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced federal legislation that requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp. H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) is a co-sponsor of the bill in the U.S. House. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) are supporting a similar bill in the U.S. Senate. “Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers,” said Rep. Massie. “My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no…