Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Some hope for industrial hemp

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The DEA prohibition against growing industrial hemp (not an intoxicant) makes about as much sense as forbidding growing corn (because some kids smoke corn silk—which gives you a terrific sore throat and nothing more). But the DEA is pigheaded, so the issue must be forced, and it is being brought up again. Phillip Smith reports:

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The bill, if passed, would get around the DEA’s refusal to differentiate hemp from marijuana and could result in American farmers being allowed to grow the industrial crop.

The bill, Senate Bill 3501, was introduced last week by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and cosponsored by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). It would amend the Controlled Substances Act to make clear that hemp is not a drug, even though it is part of the cannabis family. Hemp has much lower levels of THC than marijuana grown for recreational or medicinal purposes.

The bill marks Wyden’s second attempt this year to get hemp de-listed. He tried to offer an amendment to the farm bill the Senate passed in June to do just that, but the Senate leadership ruled the amendment was not germane.

“I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it resembles an illegal one,” Wyden said. “Raising this issue has sparked a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the US’s ban on industrial hemp is. I’m confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and Members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near future.”

The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, another hemp bill, House Resolution 1831, which would also clarify that hemp is not marijuana for the purposes of the Controlled Substances Act, languishes in the Republican-controlled House.

A few years ago, a group of South Dakota farmers petitioned the DEA for a permit to grow industrial hemp, even as a pilot project, and ultimately had to go to court to force a decision, which went against them for no good reason based on any rational evidence or argument. Importing industrial hemp is perfectly legal, but the DEA insists that it must not be grown in the US.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 August 2012 at 8:29 am

Posted in Congress, Drug laws

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