Today, the Washington State House committee on Government Accountability & Oversight voted unanimously to approve HB1888, the Hemp Freedom Act. The vote was 8-0.
Sponsored by Representative Matt Shea (R), along with Christopher Hurst (D), Cary Condotta (R), Jeff Holy (R), David Taylor (R) and Jason Overstreet (R), the Hemp Freedom Act would “permit the development in Washington of an industrial hemp industry.”
HEMP OVERVIEW AND USE
Industrial hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, durable clothing and nutritional products. During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted in the famous campaign and government-produced film, “Hemp for Victory!”
Even though soil, climate and agricultural capabilities could make the United States a massive producer of industrial hemp, today no hemp is grown for public sale, use and consumption within the United States. China is the world’s greatest producer and the United States is the #1 importer of hemp and hemp products in the world.
Since the enactment of the unconstitutional federal controlled-substances act in 1970, the Drug Enforcement Agency has prevented the production of hemp within the United States. Many hemp supporters feel that the DEA has been used as an “attack dog” of sorts to prevent competition with major industries where American-grown hemp products would create serious market competition: Cotton, Paper/Lumber, Oil, and others.
WASHINGTON HEMP FREEDOM
HB1888 is set on sound constitutional principles – that the federal government is only authorized to exercise those powers deleted to it, and nothing more. The bill states, in part:
A fair and honest reading of the United States Constitution with an original understanding of the founders and ratifiers makes it quite clear that the federal government has no constitutional authority to override state laws on marijuana. All three branches of the federal government, however, have interpreted (and reinterpreted) the commerce clause of the Constitution to authorize them to engage in this activity, even though there is supposedly no “legal” commerce in the plant. At best, these arguments are dubious; at worst an intentional attack on the Constitution and your liberty.
HB1888 continues, affirming the proper view of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution – the commerce clause:
As understood at the time of the founding, the regulation of commerce was meant to empower congress to regulate the buying and selling of products made by others (and sometimes land), associated finance and financial instruments, and navigation and other carriage, across state jurisdictional lines. This interstate regulation of “commerce” did not include agriculture, manufacturing, mining, malum in se crime, or land use. Nor did it include activities that merely “substantially affected” commerce.
The bill also makes clear that if passed, the state of Washington won’t be waiting for permission from the DEA to authorize the production of this important agricultural plant.
This act attempts to reassert this original meaning of the commerce clause over wide areas of policy and effectively nullify federal laws and regulations that violate such limitations by regulating commerce and other activities that are solely intrastate.
Next up for HB1888 is consideration by the House Rules Committee, which is the next step before being moved to the full House for debate and vote.
ACTION STEPS for Washington Residents
1. Contact all members of the House Rules Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, let them know you want them to vote YES on HB1888 so there can be a debate and vote in the full house. Let them know that you feel this bill will be good for farmers, for jobs, and for the economy and you expect them to vote YES on HB1888.
Contact information for all rules committee members here:
2. Share this information widely. Please pass this along to your friends and family. Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state. Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
If you live anywhere outside of Washington State, please contact your own legislators and urge them to introduce the Hemp Freedom Act.
Track the status of the Hemp Freedom Act in states around the country HERE