Congressional delegates as far to the right as Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell have backed the return of hemp as an American farm crop, but obstacles persist. Many of these problems come from federal and local failure to implement the existing hemp laws and from the confusing definitions of hemp and marijuana.
A new bill has been introduced to clarify that distinction and smooth out the transition of U.S. farms into producing hemp as well as consuming it for products such as horse bedding and other agricultural uses.
Bipartisan effort at hemp reform
If passed, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 would remove federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, the non-drug oilseed and fiber variety of Cannabis. The full text of the bill, HR 2530, may be found at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3530.
Vote Hemp, the nation’s leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization working to change state and federal laws to allow commercial hemp farming, supports Congressional bill H.R. 3530, as introduced on July 27, 2017.
Major shift in federal agricultural policy
H.R. 3530 is remarkably different than previous iterations of Congressional bills that sought to lift federal prohibition on hemp farming. The bill allows for commercial cultivation of industrial hemp that has a THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content of no more than 0.3 percent by dry weight, consistent with the definition of industrial hemp provided in Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill.
Additionally, H.R. 3530 would allow for research cultivation on industrial hemp crops with a THC content of up to 0.6 percent by dry weight. Furthermore, per Vote Hemp advocacy on the issue, H.R. 3530 expands federally legal commercial hemp cultivation to tribal lands, reservations and U.S. territories—lands that had previously been omitted in Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, which allowed only for hemp farming programs in ‘States.’
Not all is well