DENVER, Col. (May 6, 2013) – The Colorado state house today voted to approve SB13-241, a bill that would legalize the farming and production of “industrial hemp” within the state. If signed into law, the bill would effectively nullify the unconstitutional federal ban on hemp production in Colorado. The House voted unanimously on a slightly amended version of a bill already approved by the State Senate, 34-1. The legislation will now go back to the Senate, which is widely expected to send the legislation to Governor Hickenlooper for a signature.
The federal government has no constitutional authority to ban the production of this industrial plant, but has persisted in preventing its domestic production. The result? Products with hemp that are readily available at your local grocery store must be imported from another country – resulting in higher costs for you and fewer farming jobs in America. The United States is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp, which is used in food products, clothing, oil and much more. The top exporters are China and Canada.
The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service. Recent congressional research indicates that the hemp market consists of over 25,000 various products. The same research found that America imports over $400 million worth of hemp from other countries. At this time of economic difficulty, 13-241 would not only expand freedom and support the Constitution, it would also be a great jobs bill.
With the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized small amounts of marijuana for adults, hemp was removed from the state’s controlled substances list, though a provision of the initiative states that that hemp cultivation is contingent on legislative action – this bill would be that required action necessary to legalize hemp and authorize the state to begin distributing hemp licenses.Under the proposal farmers would have the option of applying for a 10-acre plot in order to study the viability of various hemp varieties, or they could apply for a larger, full-scale hemp farm - one that wouldn’t be limited by the number of plants, but rather by the THC content in said plants.
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.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
Not in Colorado? Find model legislation to introduce in your state here.
Track the status of the Hemp Freedom Act in states around the country here.