press release from Vote Hemp:
WASHINGTON, DC: A federal bill was introduced today that will remove restrictions on the cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp. The chief sponsors of HR 1866, "The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009," Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ron Paul (R-TX) were joined by nine other US House members split equally between Republicans and Democrats.
"With so much discussion lately in the media about drug policy, it is surprising the tragedy of American hemp farming hasn't come up as a 'no-brainer' for reform," says Vote Hemp President, Eric Steenstra. "Hemp is a versatile, environmentally friendly crop that has not been grown for over 50 years because of a politicized interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). President Obama should direct the DEA to avoid confusing industrial hemp and it's genetically distinct cousin marijuana. While the new bill in Congress is a welcome step, the hemp industry is hopeful the President Barack Obama's administration will prioritize hemp's benefits to farmers. There are jobs that would be created over night as there are numerous American companies that have no choice but to import hemp worth many millions of dollars per year," says Steenstra.
US companies that manufacture or sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, a California company who manufactures the number-one-selling natural soap, and FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana company whose natural fiber materials are used in over two million cars. Hemp food manufacturers such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva now make their products from Canadian hemp. Although hemp grows wild across the US, a vestige of centuries of hemp farming, the hemp for these products must be imported. Hemp clothing is made around the world by well-known brands such as Patagonia, Bono's Edun and Giorgio Armani.
There is strong support among key national organizations for a change in the federal government's position on hemp. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) "supports revisions to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial production of industrial hemp."
Numerous individual states have expressed interest in industrial hemp as well. Sixteen states have passed pro-hemp legislation; eight (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research. North Dakota has issued state licenses, two years running. The new bill will remove federal barriers and allow laws in these states regulating the growing and processing of industrial hemp to take effect.
More information about hemp legislation and the crop's many uses can be found at www.VoteHemp.com. BETA SP and DVD Video News Releases featuring footage of hemp farming in other countries are available upon request by contacting Adam Eidinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.