A bill introduced in the Washington State Senate would legalize hemp farming and production, effectively nullifying a federal prohibition on the same.
SB 5954 was introduced by Democratic State Sens. Bob Hasegawa and Maralyn Chase. It reads, in part, “Industrial hemp is an agricultural product which may be grown, produced, processed, possessed, and commercially traded in the state pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.”
The bill goes on to outline the process for implementing such a program, as authorized by voters who passed Initiative 502 (I-502) in the fall of 2012.
A similar bill, HB1888, was introduced in 2013 and passed out of its first committee by a vote of 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.”
The proposed Washington law simply ignores the federal prohibition and opens the door to hemp cultivation in the state. It would allow the state to develop an intrastate market and poise it to lead the way if Washington DC ever opens up the interstate market.
HEMP OVERVIEW AND USE
Industrial hemp, is the non-THC relative of the more commonly-known “marijuana” plant. It 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.
Experts count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and biofuel. The U.S. currently imports hemp products, primarily from China and Canada.
Three states – Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013.
In Washington, take action today to help pass SB5954 and HB1888. Click HERE
Other states, take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming. Click HERE
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