Oregon has had a hemp law on the books since 2009. However, the law basically stated that hemp production couldn't begin until the federal ban on it was lifted. With a recent memo from the United States Department of Justice saying that they would back off, it cleared the way to explore implementing Oregon's hemp law. Oregon is the perfect place to grow hemp, with a great climate and so much available land.
Oregon State officials are currently drafting rules for hemp production in my home state. According to The Oregonian, "The Oregon Department of Agriculture has assembled a committee of policy officials and agriculture experts, including Russ Karow, head of the Oregon State University crop and soil science program, to draft rules for industrial hemp production. Jim Cramer, director of the market access and certification program area of the Department of Agriculture, said the agency's focus is crafting "robust" rules for hemp. The committee will hold its first public meeting in December."
Farming is a big part of life in Oregon, and allowing farmers to grow hemp would provide a huge boost to local economies. Many Oregon counties have never fully recovered from the loss of timber sales, and hemp would provide an opportunity for these communities to rebound. Why it has taken this long to allow Oregon farmers to grow hemp defies logical reasoning, but then again, so does everything that involves reefer madness.
Oregon federal representative Earl Blumenauer is hosting a public hemp forum in Portland on November 9th. If you are in the area, I strongly encourage you to attend. Especially if you are a farmer that is considering growing hemp. Forum panelists include:
Eric Steenstra, Executive Director, Hemp Industries Association
Lindsay Eng, Certification Development and Program Manager, Oregon Department of Agriculture
Rick Rutherford, prospective hemp farmer
Errol Schweizer, Executive Global Coordinator, Grocery Team, Whole Foods
Russ Karow, Crop and Soil Science Department Director, Oregon State University
For more about the forum, click here.