Yesterday was a big day for hemp advocates. A new farm bill was passed by Congress yesterday, which includes a provision that would allow universities and state agriculture departments to establish hemp programs. The farm bill just needs to be signed by the President now. It’s not a full on legalization of hemp, but it clears a major first hurdle to doing so. I’m confident that once hemp is researched, and grown industrially without issues, full legalization will come sooner than later.
“Oregonians have made it clear that they believe industrial hemp should be treated as an agricultural commodity, not a drug,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who helped author the amendment, told The Oregonian in a statement. ”By including language easing restrictions on industrial hemp in states where it is legal, Congress sends an important message that we are ready to examine hemp in a more appropriate way.”
Ten states have already passed state level laws legalizing hemp cultivation, but federal law has kept most of those efforts from moving forward. The states include Colorado, Washington, California, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia. I’d imagine once programs are rolled out at universities and via state departments, more states will jump on board.
Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. It can make anything from clothing to medicine. A lot of opponents will use weak arguments against hemp, such as ‘it looks like marijuana, and people can hide marijuana plants in the hemp.’ Arguments like this clearly illustrate just how uneducated hemp opponents are, as cross pollination would ruin the marijuana, and marijuana looks bushy, while hemp plants are tall and skinny.