Democratic Senator Backs Industrial Hemp In Farm Bill
By Steve Elliott
June 14, 2012
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) explained the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana on Wednesday in a floor speech backing an amendment to a Senate farm bill which would allow farmers in the United States to grow hemp.
Wyden's amendment would remove the federal rule which prohibits farmers from growing hemp, replacing it with a state-administered permit system, reports Daniel Strauss at The Hill. Amendment 2220 is cosponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
"This is, in my view, a textbook example of a regulation that flunks the commonsense test," said Wyden. "There is government regulation on the books today that prevents America's farmers from growing industrial hemp and what's worse is this regulation is hurting job creation in rural America and increasing our trade deficit."
Once other members of the Senate learn that it isn't really an attempt to legalize marijuana, more of them would likely support it, according to Wyden.
"When my colleagues get, I think, more information on this outrageous, outlandish regulation, I think most of my colleagues are going to say that the restriction on industrial hemp is really a poster child for dumb regulation," Wyden said. "The only thing standing in the way of taking advantage of this very profitable crop is a lingering misunderstanding about its use, and the amendment that I have filed on this issue will end a ridiculous regulation once and for all."
Wyden pointed out that there are major differences between industrial hemp and marijuana.
"Now I know that there are going to be members of Congress and others who are going to be listening and say 'All this talk about hemp is basically talk about marijuana.' The fact of the matter is while they come from the same species of plant, there are major differences between them."
According to Wyden, nine states have already introduced permitting programs than ban marijuana cultivation but allow hemp. He said industrial hemp has a very low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level, much lower than marijuana.
"Under 0.3 percent," Wyden said. "The lowest-grade marijuana typically has 5 percent THC content. The bottom line is no one is going to get high on industrial hemp."
Wyden introduced the amendment on Thursday. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced similar legislation, H.R. 1831, in the House.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rC3OoMc3V3c#t=0stokeofthetown