Two bills have been introduced in California to nullify unconstitutional federal laws by legalizing hemp, the industrial companion to the conscious-altering plant marijuana. Thomas Jefferson would be proud that his pastime of hemp farming, criminalized by the federal government since 1970, is being revived by 16 state legislatures this year.
California’s Assembly Bill 1137 from Asm. Allan Mansoor and Senate Bill 566 from Sen. Mark Leno make an exception for industrial hemp under the legal definition of “marijuana.” They stipulate a .03% THC potency limit, about 1/50 of the amount found in medical marijuana. Both bills cite these economic facts surrounding the issue:
(d) According to a study commissioned by the Hemp Industries Association, sales of industrial hemp products in the United States have grown steadily since 1990 to more than two hundred fifty million dollars ($250,000,000) in 2005, increasing at a rate of approximately twenty‑six million dollars ($26,000,000) per year.
(e) California manufacturers of hemp products currently import from around the world tens of thousands of acres’ worth of hemp seed, oil, and fiber products that could be produced by California farmers at a more competitive price, and the intermediate processing of hemp seed, oil, and fiber could create jobs in close proximity to the fields of cultivation.
Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill in October 2011 citing federal supremacy. SB 566 acquiesces to Brown’s constitutional ignorance making it unenforceable “unless authorized under federal law.” AB 1137 is not self-limiting in that way.
The federal Controlled Substance Act included hemp as a Schedule I drug in 1970. The feds consider growing it without a DEA issued permit a crime. The feds have only issued one such permit, to Hawaii, back in 1999. It has since expired. This has created a de-fact federal ban on growing the plant. And as a result, the United States is the world’s #1 importer of hemp, while China and Canada are the top 2 exporters. Some supporters say that nullifying this federal ban would be a huge win for jobs, for American farmers, and for the economy.
AB1137 seeks to nullify the unconstitutional federal ban on the production hemp. The federal government lacks the constitutional authority to regulate the production of hemp, or any agricultural product, within a state’s borders, and AB1137 rests on solid ground.
HEMP OVERVIEW AND USE
Industrial hemp is not marijuana, but an industrial agricultural product 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.
ACTION ITEMS for California
Assembly Bill 1137 was referred to Public Safety Committee as well as the Agriculture Committee on March 7. They’re each expected to vote on or after March 26. Senate Bill 566 is set to be voted on in the Rules Committee on or after March 25. All Californians are urged to contact those members by phone and urge a Yes vote and a cosponsorship for when the bills reach their respective floors.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
If you live anywhere outside of California, please contact your state Senator and urge them to introduce the Hemp Freedom Act. You can find model legislation HERE.
Track the status of the Hemp Freedom Act in states around the country HERE