An Idea Whose Time Has Come (Again)? UPDATED
Industrial Hemp, currently classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, is once again a topic of discussion in political forums.
On the front page of the Washington Post this morning, (albeit the bottom right-hand corner) was an article headlined, “Changes in cannabis laws create a new buzz for hemp.”
For most of America’s history, hemp was considered a vital product of our agricultural society, earning a famous mention in George Washington’s journal, an early article in Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette, and even serving as an integral part of the war effort in WWII.
Since it’s domestic production was outlawed in 1970, proponents of industrial hemp have been mocked, ridiculed, and stereotyped as “stoners” or “potheads” for wanting to decouple hemp from it’s botanical cousin, “marihuana.”
However, that stigma is finally fading, particularly as people are beginning to rediscover all the benefits, products, and possibilities for this versatile crop.
The political changes Washington Post was referring to came in Colorado, where Amendment 64, passed by voters in November, required “the general assembly to enact legislation governing the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.”
Even on the federal level though, things are beginning to change.
For the first time last Congress, Rep. Ron Paul’s “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011″ gained a companion bill on the Senate side sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (OR) and Rand Paul (KY).
On the presidential campaign trail, Congressman Paul was famous for speaking to college kids about industrial hemp, often remarking that “you’d have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone poll to get high,” in an effort to highlight the absurdity of the prohibition on industrial hemp.
This Congress, Congressman Thomas Massie will be introducing the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013,” identical to Paul’s 2011 bill which garnered support from 37 representatives last Congress!
As the Washington Post story mentions, Senators Wyden and Paul have both indicated a desire to reintroduce the companion legislation in the Senate.
This legislation would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of “marihuana” under Section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act. The bill goes on to define the term “industrial hemp” to mean “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
The time for action is now!
Below is the list of cosponsors from Rep. Paul’s bill, H.R. 1831 in the 112th Congress:
If your representative is on this list, contact them today and encourage them to become an original cosponsor of Congressman Thomas Massie’s bill.
Rep Amash, Justin [MI-3] – 12/17/2012
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] – 5/11/2011 [elected to Senate]
Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1] – 5/23/2011
Rep Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3] – 5/11/2011
Rep Bonamici, Suzanne [OR-1] – 9/11/2012
Rep Campbell, John [CA-48] – 5/13/2011
Rep Clarke, Hansen [MI-13] – 1/31/2012 [defeated in primary]
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] – 5/11/2011
Rep Cohen, Steve [TN-9] – 5/11/2011
Rep DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4] – 5/11/2011
Rep Ellison, Keith [MN-5] – 5/11/2011
Rep Farr, Sam [CA-17] – 5/11/2011
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] – 12/7/2011 [resigned]
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] – 5/11/2011 [retired]
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] – 5/11/2011
Rep Hanna, Richard L. [NY-24] – 9/18/2012
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] – 5/11/2011 [retired]
Rep Honda, Michael M. [CA-15] – 5/12/2011
Rep Johnson, Timothy V. [IL-15] – 11/3/2011 [retired]
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10] – 5/11/2011 [defeated in primary]
Rep Massie, Thomas [KY-4] – 11/27/2012 [SPONSOR]
Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] – 5/11/2011
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7] – 5/11/2011
Rep Miller, George [CA-7] – 5/11/2011
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] – 5/11/2011
Rep Nadler, Jerrold [NY-8] – 5/11/2011
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC] – 1/6/2012
Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7] – 10/25/2011
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1] – 5/11/2011
Rep Polis, Jared [CO-2] – 5/11/2011
Rep Rehberg, Denny [MT] – 7/6/2011 [lost Senate election]
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] – 5/11/2011
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9] – 5/11/2011
Rep Schrader, Kurt [OR-5] – 10/14/2011
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] – 5/11/2011 [defeated in election]
Rep Welch, Peter [VT] – 10/11/2011
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 5/11/2011 [retired]
If your representative is not on this list, don’t hesitate to contact them, find out where they stand on the issue, and urge them to support Ron Paul’s “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013″ as sponsored by Congressman Thomas Massie!
UPDATE: Rep. Thomas Massie introduced Ron Paul’s “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013″ as H.R. 525 with 28 original cosponsors.