Washington, July 11 -Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) passed an amendment to H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, the FARRM bill, that would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal without fear of federal interference. The FARRM bill had previously failed, but was taken up again and passed the House of Representatives today with a vote of 216 to 208.
"Although I strongly opposed the Republican FARRM bill, I was pleased to see that the bipartisan amendment that I offered with Representatives Blumenauer and Massie was included in the final bill that passed the House of Representatives today," said Rep. Polis. "This commonsense amendment will allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes in states where industrial hemp growth and cultivation is already legal. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that this language becomes law."
"This amendment is a small but fundamental change in the laws that hopefully will one day allow Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp again," said Rep. Massie. "It's our goal that the research this amendment enables would further broadcast the economic benefits of the sustainable and job-creating crop. I look forward to working with Rep. Polis and Rep. Blumenauer on this issue."
"I'm disappointed by the Farm Bill as a whole, but glad to see the restrictions on hemp eased," said Blumenauer. "Our fear of industrial hemp is misplaced - it is not a drug. By allowing colleges and universities to cultivate hemp for research, Congress sends a signal that we are ready to examine hemp in a different and more appropriate context."
Nineteen states have passed pro-industrial hemp legislation. The following nine states have removed barriers to its production: Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
"Vote Hemp applauds this new bi-partisan amendment and we are mobilizing all the support we can. This brilliant initiative would allow colleges and universities the opportunity to grow and cultivate hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes," said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. "It would only apply to states where industrial hemp growth and cultivation is already legal in order for those states to showcase just how much industrial hemp could benefit the environment and economy in those regions," continues Steenstra.
"Federal law has denied American farmers the opportunity to cultivate industrial hemp and reap the economic rewards from this versatile crop for far too long," said Grant Smith, policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance. "Congress should lift the prohibition on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp as soon as possible. Allowing academic research is an important first step towards returning industrial hemp cultivation to American farms."
To view a clip of the debate on this amendment from June 19, 2013, click here. In addition to the co-sponsors of this amendment, Ranking Member Colin Peterson (D-MN) and Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) also spoke in support of this amendment.
Source: Congressman Jared Polis' Website