U.S.: Bill Introduced to Legalize Industrial Hemp

Ron Paul is the sponsor of a bill to exempt industrial hemp from definitions apparently including it in the Controlled Substances Act. According to thomas.loc.gov, the bill has 10 cosponsors. Here’s a cut and paste from the search page:

Title: To amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Paul, Ron [TX-14] (introduced 4/2/2009)

Cosponsors (10)
Latest Major Action: 4/2/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned. COSPONSORS(10), ALPHABETICAL [followed by Cosponsors withdrawn]: (Sort: by date)

Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2] – 4/2/2009
Rep Clay, Wm. Lacy [MO-1] – 4/2/2009
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] – 4/2/2009
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] – 4/2/2009
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22] – 4/2/2009
Rep McClintock, Tom [CA-4] – 4/2/2009
Rep Miller, George [CA-7] – 4/2/2009
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46] – 4/2/2009
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] – 4/2/2009
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6] – 4/2/2009

Apparently the text is not yet available at Thomas, though Internet searches indicate some of the major news outlets already have some information on the bill.

It is my understanding that Industrial hemp has no psychoactive properties, so if this bill attracts enough attention, and eventually passes into law, farmers could probably grow it without applying for a special license. Once that occurs, folks will probably will be able to buy hemp clothing at reasonable prices once again. It is said to be stronger and more durable than other natural fabrics. Industrial hemp is quite useful for a number of other things, including paper. It seems preferable to make paper from an annual crop, versus cutting down older trees for that purpose. My understanding is that hemp as a crop is drought tolerant.

All of these plants breath in CO2. Surely this would help some with the Global Climate Change portion that’s said to be due to mankind’s accelerated production of large amounts of CO2 that seemed to begin with the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.

So if you support this bill, be sure to write to your Representatives encouraging them to sign on as cosponsors.

I plan to do that myself soon, this post hopefully will remind me. I believe it’s better to print or write the letter on paper and send it by mail. I’m not at all certain that electronic submissions even reach the intended offices. Maybe they do.

2 thoughts on “U.S.: Bill Introduced to Legalize Industrial Hemp

  1. Totally should be legalized, so many things can be done with the plant. Making paper- way faster to grow than trees, it can be used in place of plastic and would be completely environmentally friendly..

  2. Quite by accident, while looking for something else, I found this report that hemp has successfully been used as a pesticide and repellent, and for companion planting in field crops:

    Companion plants constitute a form of biological control – the use of living organisms to manage unwanted pests and disease organisms. Cannabis plants have been grown as companion plants alongside crops which require this protection. Riley (1885) noted that Cannabis sativa growing near cotton exerted a “protective influence” against cotton worms (Alabama argillacea, then called Aletia xylina). Similarly, hemp grown around vegetable fields safeguarded the fields from attack by a cabbage caterpillar, Pieris brassicae (Beling 1932); potato fields were protected against the potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Stratii 1976); wheat suffered less damage by the root maggot, Delia coarctata (Pakhomov and Potushanskii 1977); and root exudates of Cannabis repelled underground larvae of the European chafer Melolontha melolontha (Mateeva 1995). Some of these reports have been refuted in subsequent studies (Ziarkiewicz and Anasiewicz 1961, Mackiewicz 1962, Kurilov and Kukhta 1977).

    Cannabis suppresses the growth of neighboring plants, whether they are noxious chickweed, Stellaria media (Stupnicka-Rodzynkiewicz 1970) or valuable crops such as lupine, beets, brassicas (Good 1953) and maize (Pandey and Mishra 1982). Hemp has been interplanted with potatoes to deter the potato blight fungus, Phytophthora infestans (Israel 1981).

    Hemp has been rotated with potatoes to suppress the potato cyst nematode, Heterodera rostochiensis (Kir’yanova and Krall 1971). Hemp rotations also suppressed soil populations of the root knot nematode, Meloidogyne chitwoodi (Kok et al. 1994). Some cultivars of Cannabis are resistant to Meloidogyne hapla (de Meijer 1993). Scheifele et al. (1997) assessed the soil populations of several nematodes, before and after a hemp crop (using cultivars ‘Unico B’ and ‘Kompolti’) in Ontario, Canada. The hemp crop suppressed soybean cyst nematodes (Heterodera glycines), but increased the populations of spiral nematodes (Heliocotylenchus or Scutellonema species) and root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita).

    Mateeva (1995) studied an unspecified Meloidogyne on four different crops growing in Bulgarian soil. After 30 days, cucumber plants averaged 56 root knots per plant and 396 Meloidoygne larvae were found in the surrounding soil. Tomato plants averaged 42 root knots and 318 larvae, Cannabis plants averaged 5 root knots and 21 larvae, and marigolds averaged 1 root knot and no larvae. Mateeva concluded, “by including unfriendly plants in the rotation scheme with tomato and cucumber, it is possible to obtain a soil completely cleared from root knot nematodes.”

    There’s more at the URL. The report does say that the value of some of these studies have been “debated”. Nonetheless, with the federal drug laws as they are in relation to cannabis, farmers would be disallowed from using these particular crop rotations and interspersing their crops with hemp as a natural or organic biological control method, without receiving some kind of special permission from the government.

    In the area that I live in, phytopthora is a large problem with some avocado orchards, and besides careful selection of both rootstocks and clay-free planting areas, various chemical methods are used to control it on existing trees if and when it strikes. The local phytopthora problem is commonly referred to as Avocado Root Rot. While potatoes are a much different type of crop, one wonders whether such springtime hemp companion planting would be helpful with avocados and their issues with phytophthora cinnamomi, or whether such companion planting would be suppressive to the avocado trees or their fruit production.

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