A North Dakota state house bill would authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same once put into effect.

House Bill 1436 (HB1436) was introduced on Jan. 19 by State Reps. David Monson (R-10) and Alan Fehr (R-36) along with State Sen. Tom Campbell (R-19). The bill would open up the industrial hemp market in North Dakota if successfully passed.

HB1436 reads, in part:

Any person desiring to grow or process industrial hemp for commercial purposes or research shall apply to the agriculture commissioner for a license on a form prescribed by the commissioner. The application for a license must include the name and address of the applicant and the legal description of the land area to be used to produce or process industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp would be allowed to be cultivated under the bill for commercial and research purposes. Individuals would be authorized to cultivate industrial hemp as long as they register with the state and pay a fee of $5 per acre. Industrial hemp operations would be subject to regular government inspection and regulation in order to be considered lawful under HB1436.

North Dakota has the opportunity to join five other states – Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont – that have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, and farmers in Vermont began harvesting in 2014, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on such agricultural activities.

Experts suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is around $500 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.

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!”.

But, 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.

Earlier in 2014, , President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The new “hemp amendment”

…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.

HB1436 goes a step further than what is currently ‘allowed’ by the feds by authorizing industrial development of industrial hemp. This is an essential first step forward. Similar to the way medical marijuana prohibition has been nullified because of massive state action, states defying the federal industrial hemp ban can begin a tidal wave of resistance that forces the feds to get their priorities in order.

ACTION ITEMS

For North Dakota: Support this bill by following all the steps at THIS LINK

For All Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming by clicking HERE.


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