An amendment that would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes was approved by the House Rules Committee for inclusion in the 2013 “farm bill” (H.R. 1947 Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act or FARRM). Amendment 37 was passed by a majority of House Reps voted in favor of colleges and universities being allowed to study industrial hemp before the entire 2013 FARRM Act was struck down.
Sponsored by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Thomas Massie (R-KY), this amendment is the first time that industrial hemp has been put to a vote in any fashion in Washington since World War II.
“We see this as a positive step forward for the cultivation of hemp,” said Christopher J. Boucher, the first American to plant a hemp crop in over 50 years in 1994 at the USDA Research Station in Imperial Valley, California. “The politicians in Washington seem to be waking up to the fact that hemp is not the same thing as marijuana and, in fact, would be an enormous benefit to our country if its many health and industrial properties were researched by leading American academic institutions.
“Even though the entire bill was struck down, it appears that our representatives are finally understanding the numerous potential benefits of this non-psychoactive plant.
“I feel we’re now closer to returning to the days of the Founding Fathers, when hemp was planted nationwide,” said Boucher.
There was a court case in 2004 that determined hemp products were legal to be imported into the USA. It is estimated that the total amount of hemp imported to the US ranges from $300 million/year to $2 billion/year. Sources: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32725.pdf and http://csbj.com/2012/11/30/industrial-hemp-could-jump-start-economy/
Often confused with marijuana, hemp has a multitude of uses and contains only trace amounts of THC – the psychoactive compound in marijuana. (Many marijuana strains contain upwards of 12 – 20% THC.) Today’s major uses for hemp include textiles, building materials, bio-fuels, food, and nutrition. The hemp seed is perhaps the world’s perfect vegetarian food, containing balanced and significant quantities of Omega 3 and 6 Essential Fatty Acids, plus all 20 amino acids. Considered a complete protein, other healthful components of hemp include GLA, SLA, and most importantly CLA (Conjugated Linolenic Acid), of which hemp may be the only plant-based source.
As far as how hemp relates to the struck-down 2013 FARRM Act, the potential benefits of growing hemp are many. Hemp can thrive in areas where it is impossible to grow other crops, and up to three hemp crops can be grown in most temperate climates each year. Hemp requires little—if any—fertilizer to grow. Pesticides and herbicides are not required. Hemp is non-GMO and extremely beneficial for the soil, as it replenishes normal soil nutrients. Hemp provides significant carbon exchange, so large plantations can qualify for carbon credits.
Follow this link to see which Representatives voted for and against the bill: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/farm-bill-vote-house-93119.html
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