In-Depth: Despite bipartisan support, a version of this bill that was introduced in 2013 failed to progress out of the Senate Judiciary committee before the conclusion of the 113th Congress.
Sponsoring Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
had this to say about the federal government’s policy on industrial
“The U.S. ban on hemp farming is an outrageous restriction on free
enterprise and does nothing but hurt economic growth and job creation.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
emphasized that “allowing farmers throughout our nation to cultivate
industrial hemp and benefit from its many uses will boost our economy
and bring much-needed jobs to the agriculture industry.
Of Note: While there are 22 states that have enacted laws supporting industrial hemp,
the federal government does not allow its production outside of
academic and government research, which prevents it from being more
widely grown by farmers.
The federal government
hasn’t always been down on hemp -- during World War II the Department of
Agriculture produced a film called Hemp for Victory which encouraged farmers to grow as much hemp as possible because other industrial fibers were less widely available.
Hemp is one of the most versatile crops on the planet, as the plant can be used to produce the following things:
Food - hemp seeds are very high in protein.
Building materials like fiberboard, hempcrete, and insulation.
Paper and rope.
Biofuel in diesel engines.
Water or soil purification and weed control.
Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user twiceplx)