It is extremely rare for federal politicians of both major political parties to agree on anything these days, especially at the highest level of party leadership. Yet that’s exactly what has happened with hemp reform last Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has officially signed on as a co-sponsor of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hemp reform bill, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.
“Labeling hemp as a controlled substance is preventing industrial hemp from being a real game-changer for counties from Sullivan County to Louisville, Kentucky.” Senator Schumer said in a press release.
“I will work in lockstep with Senators McConnell and Wyden to make sure this bill passes the Senate.” Schumer would go on to say.
What is the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 and what would it do?
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was originally introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
“By legalizing hemp and empowering states to conduct their own oversight plans, we can give the hemp industry the tools necessary to create jobs and new opportunities for farmers and manufacturers around the county.” Senator McConnell said when the bill was initially introduced.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would:
- Remove industrial hemp from Schedule I
- Empower states to be the principal regulators of hemp
- Allow hemp researchers to apply for federal grants
- Make hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance
With Schumer adding his name to the legislation it dramatically increases the odds of the bill being passed.
Congressman James Comer (R-KY) Is expected to introduce a companion version of the Hemp Farming Act in the House of Representatives.
The hemp industry is booming
Hemp production in the United States is growing exponentially year after year where hemp production is legal.
Due to federal hemp policy reforms that took effect in 2014, states are able to launch hemp pilot and/or research programs, and dozens of states have passed measures to take advantage of the change in federal policy.
According to Marijuana Business Daily, the number of licensed hemp producers in Oregon increased 533% in 2017 compared to 2016.
In Tennessee, the number of licensed hemp producers increased 425%, and the number increased in Vermont 600% during the same time period.
If federal laws changed and hemp was not only allowed, but actually embraced, the sky would be the limit for the nation’s hemp industry.
What can Green Flower readers do to help support the Hemp Farming Act of 2018?
Below are things that Green Flower readers can do to help push hemp reform forward at the federal level:
- Contact your United States Senators and urge them to co-sponsor the Hemp Farming Act of 2018
- Contact your United States Representative and urge them co-sponsor Congressman James Comer’s bill when it’s introduced
- Urge other voters to do the same
- Buy hemp products that are made in the United States and help support the industry
Hemp reform is one of the very few issues that both major political parties support. Hammer home that point with your federal lawmakers whenever you talk to them. The future of the hemp industry depends on it!