Washington, DC: Fifty-six percent of Americans support legalizing the production of industrial hemp, according to national polling data released last week by YouGov.com and The Huffington Post. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only trace (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, requiring the federal government to respect state laws allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp. The amendment’s language mimics the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013,” which also remains pending as stand-alone legislation in both the US House and Senate.
Eight states have enacted statutory changes defining industrial hemp as distinct agricultural product and seeking to allow for its regulated commercial production.