An amendment to legalize industrial hemp for research purposes was included in the Farm Bill yesterday – and passed the United States House by a vote of 216 to 208.
Representatives Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky and Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon sponsored the amendment.
It allows colleges and universities to grow hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes, but applies only to states that have already legalized industrial hemp production. Colorado legalized industrial hemp in November, when it also legalized recreational use of marijuana.
And even the representatives who disagreed with the Republican version of the Farm Bill, were pleased that the industrial hemp amendment passed.
“This commonsense amendment will allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and legal research purposes,” Polis said.
Industrial hemp legislation has been introduced in 20 states: Alabama, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
It’s estimated that the United States imports $500 million in industrial hemp products for food, hygiene products and clothing every year.
Two other stand-alone industrial hemp bills have been introduced in Congress as well – one in the House and Senate. If passed, the bills will removed feral restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp, which has no THC, the chemical that induces the “high” in marijuana.
Colorado is one of nine states that have removed barriers to hemp production.
To read more about industrial hemp, click here.