What is in this article?:
- Hemp farming nears historic return to American agriculture
- Hemp farming history
- Bill has wide support
- U.S. farmers may soon see the return of hemp as a viable crop alternative, the first time since 1957 the plant could be legally grown.
- The hemp industry flourished between 1840 and 1860 because of the strong demand for sailcloth and cordage.
Bill has wide support
While similar hemp bills have been offered in years past, supporters of the issue, including Agricultural Commissioner James Comer, say more lawmakers are apparently on board this time around.
"Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers," says Rep. Massie. "My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky, and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit these days. Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed."
Massie is picking up where former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who introduced the previous four versions of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in Congress, left off. Rep. Massie's home state of Kentucky is currently embroiled in a heated debate, as momentum grows to bring back hemp farming and processing in the state.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the minority leader in the US Senate, endorsed pending legislation in his home state that seeks to reintroduce industrial hemp cultivation there. The bill already has the support of the state's other U.S. senator, Rand Paul, and Agricultural Commissioner James Comer, who were instrumental in bringing McConnell on board.
H.R. 525 was introduced by chief sponsors Rep. Massie (R-KY) and Rep. Schrader (D-OR), with twenty-eight original co-sponsors: Rep. Schrader (D-OR), Rep. DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Ellison (D-MN), Del. Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Clay (D-MO), Rep. Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Moran (D-VA), Rep. Bonamici (D-OR), Rep. Pingree (D-ME), Rep. Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Peterson (D-MN), Rep. Polis (D-CO), Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), Rep. Hanna (R-NY), Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Farr (D-CA), Rep. Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Amash (R-MI), Rep. Benishek (R-MI), Rep. McClintock (R-CA), Rep. Campbell (R-CA), Rep. Lee (D-CA), Rep. Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Miller (D-CA), Rep. McDermott (D-WA) and Rep. Yoho (R-FL).