Rep. Jeremy Faison has introduced a bill (HB1392) to legalize the growing of industrial hemp in Tennessee that would open up major economic opportunities for Tennessee farmers. Currently it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States, in spite of the fact that many of the founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their farms.
Three states – Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013.
Industrial hemp falls under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. It technically remains “legal” to grow in the U.S., but farmers must first obtain a permit from the DEA, a nearly impossible feat. Doing so without a permit is considered illegal.
When or even if Washington DC will free the industrial hemp market remains a huge question mark. A recent Department of Justice memo declaring it won’t challenge marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington perhaps cracked the door open for hemp production, but it remains unclear if the feds will take the same lenient position on the crop.
The proposed Tennessee law simply ignores the federal prohibition and opens the door to hemp cultivation in Tennessee. It would allow the state to develop an intrastate market and poise it to lead the way if Washington opens up the interstate market.
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.
Currently the bill does not have a sponsor in the Senate. Ask your legislators to support this bill by sponsoring or cosponsoring it. If you do not know who your legislators are, click here to find them and their contact information.
In Tennessee, take action today to help pass HB1392. Click HERE
Other states, take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming. Click HERE