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Curry County Democrats Policy Position: Industrial Hemp

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Curry County
Democratic Central Committee

 

Resolution of the Curry County Democratic Central Committee in Favor of Removing Federal Restriction on Growing Industrial Hemp

BACKGROUND

Industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive cultivar of the cannabis plant, has been used for hundreds of centuries by civilizations around the world. It grows wild across much of America and presents no public health or safety threat. Hemp is currently harvested for commercial purposes in over 30 industrialized nations, including Canada, England, Japan and the European Union. The United States is the only developed country that still bans agricultural production. Hemp is a sustainable resource that can be used to create thousands of products including fuel, textiles, paper, paints, plastics, cosmetics, insulation, household products, foodstuffs and animal feed. It has a much higher yield per acre than common substitutes such as cotton, requires few pesticides, has a quick growing cycle of 100 days and leaves soil virtually weed-free for the next planting.

Current Federal Law, while technically not prohibiting industrial hemp production, requires potential growers to obtain a manufacturer’s permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The draconian application process requires FBI background checks and extensive documentation and requires prohibitively costly and extensive security protocols making hemp production too costly, even at the research level. By making it virtually impossible for American farmers to legally cultivate hemp, the US has been unable to compete in the global market.

Many US companies and industries that sell hemp products make their products from Canadian hemp. Changing the law would mean that these industries would no longer have to import hemp to produce their products. Congress is currently considering bills to amend federal law to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana and remove hemp from federal regulation by placing the licensing of hemp production into the hands of state governments. Both of Oregon’s Senators, Wyden and Merkley, along with Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt) have introduced a bill in the US Senate to match The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, which was introduced in the US House of Representatives. These bills support the removal of Federal restrictions on growing industrial hemp.

Current Federal Law, while technically not prohibiting industrial hemp production, requires potential growers to obtain a manufacturer’s permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The draconian application process requires FBI background checks and extensive documentation and requires prohibitively costly and extensive security protocols making hemp production too costly, even at the research level. By making it virtually impossible for American farmers to legally cultivate hemp, the US has been unable to compete in the global market.

Many US companies and industries that sell hemp products make their products from Canadian hemp. Changing the law would mean that these industries would no longer have to import hemp to produce their products. Congress is currently considering bills to amend federal law to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana and remove hemp from federal regulation by placing the licensing of hemp production into the hands of state governments. Both of Oregon’s Senators, Wyden and Merkley, along with Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt) have introduced a bill in the US Senate to match The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, which was introduced in the US House of Representatives. These bills support the removal of Federal restrictions on growing industrial hemp.

The Oregon legislature legalized the production of industrial hemp in Oregon in 2009. However, Oregon did not establish a licensing protocol under the Department of Agriculture due to federal prohibition. There is currently no commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in Oregon. House Bill 3371, presently under consideration in the Oregon legislature, updates current regulatory guidelines for the production of industrial hemp in light of the legalization of marijuana for personal use. Sixteen states, most recently Kentucky, have passed pro-hemp legislation. The Kentucky law was backed by both of the state’s Republican Senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. US Senate Minority Leader McConnell is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington. If he decides to now throw his weight behind making sure this new Kentucky law is used, he might have the clout needed to change federal policy regarding hemp.

RESOLUTION

  • We affirm the right of Oregon farmers to commercially cultivate hemp similar to other agricultural crops.

  • We assert that ending the federal industrial hemp prohibition will provide Oregon farmers with a sustainable, profitable new crop while creating jobs across multiple business sectors in Oregon, and we urge Oregon’s Congressional representatives to actively pursue full federal legalization.

Ratified by The Curry County Democratic Central Committee on May 18, 2013

Bob Horel

Chairperson, Curry County Democratic Central Committee

RESOURCES AND READINGS

GENERAL INFORMATION

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp

HB3371

777th Oregon Legislative Assembly — 2013 Regular Session House Bill 3371 – Text of current version
http://www.leg.state.or.us/13reg/measpdf/hb3300.dir/hb3371.intro.pdf

Track HB 3371
http://gov.oregonlive.com/bill/2013/HB3371/

READINGS

Industrial Hemp in Oregon
http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/CID/pages/ind_hemp.aspx

Sustainable Business Oregon, Portland Business Journal August 3, 2012
Wyden, Merkley back industrial hemp bill

http://www.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2012/08/wyden-merkley-back-industrial-hemp.html

Just Say Now.com
“Kentucky Adopts Industrial Hemp Law”

http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2013/04/05/kentucky-adopts-industrial-hemp-law/

UK Cooperative Extension Service
University of Kentucky – College of Agriculture
“Industrial Hemp – Legal Issues”, September 2012

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/11/oregon_lawmakers_should_take_u.html

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