Paul Files Legislation to Legalize Hemp Farming

Paul to Congress: Bring back the hemp!

Liberpublican U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, yesterday revived legislation that would reauthorize the legal cultivation of industrial hemp. Paul’s House Resolution 1009, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, seeks to amend the 1970 Controlled Substances Act in order to define hemp as a specific strain of Cannabis sativa – distinct from its illicit cousin, marijuana – and to wrest control and oversight of hemp-farming operations away from federal narcos with the Drug Enforcement Administration and grant regulatory power to the states. The CSA’s “inclusion of industrial hemp in the schedule one definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that [hemp] has such a low content of [tetrahydracannibinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in pot] that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp,” a fact that federal law “concedes” by allowing hemp importation from Canada and elsewhere for use in food products, Paul told his colleagues when introducing the bill from the House floor on Tuesday.

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This is the second time Paul – who is a 2008 presidential candidate – has filed legislation that would restore American hemp farming to its pre-pot-prohibition status. Indeed, hemp was long a staple of the nation’s agricultural economy, from before the nation’s founding through World War II, when the feds encouraged its production as part of the war effort in the Hemp for Victory campaign. (See video below.) Fifteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation, and seven states have specifically authorized hemp production and research, but only one, North Dakota, has gone on the offensive, codifying rules for hemp production and, earlier this month, licensing its first two hemp farmers – mounting a direct challenge to federal narco authority over the purely agricultural endeavor, a challenge NoDak’s hempsters are ready to take to federal court if the DEA tries to block their hemp-cultivation efforts.

That NoDak vs. DEA smackdown could be avoided, however, if the at least theoretically more progressive Congress – one whose members have been making some noise about supporting the development of alternative energy sources – actually embrace and pass Paul’s legislation. (Among other uses, experts say the environmentally friendly, versatile, and sustainable hemp plant can be processed for fuel in much the same way as corn.) So far, the measure has earned the support of eight lawmakers who have signed on as co-sponsors – including Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Maurice Henchey, D-N.Y., who have been consistent supporters of retooling various losing attributes of federal prohibitionist policies.

“It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, [from] competing in the global industrial hemp market,” Paul said. “Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government.”

Reefer bonus buzz: The wartime Hemp for Victory campaign:

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

industrial hemp, Ron Paul

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