OLYMPIA, Wa. – February 6, 2014. Today, a Washington State House panel voted unanimously to approve HB1888, the Hemp Freedom Act. The vote was 9-0.
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.”
Introduced in February 2013, HB1888 was first passed by a House committee nearly a year ago. Reintroduced by resolution for the short 2014 regular legislative session, it was sent to the Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Information Technology for additional approval.
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.
Experts count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. 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.
HB1888 now moves on to the full Washington state house for a vote, which is expected to happen in the next two weeks.
For Washington State Residents: Take action today to help pass HB1888 by clicking HERE.
For All Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming by clicking HERE