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Hemp: Oregon Governor Signs Farming Bill Into Law

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #597)

Oregon became the 17th state to pass legislation favorable to hemp farming and the ninth state to remove legal barriers to farming the potentially lucrative crop as Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) last week signed into law SB 676, an industrial hemp act sponsored by state Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D). The bill removes all state legal obstacles to growing hemp for food, fiber, and other industrial purposes. Industrial hemp production remains prohibited under federal law.

hemp plants (Luke Zigovitz for
The bill passed the House by a vote of 46-11 and the Senate by an overwhelming margin of 27-2. It sets up a state-regulated program for farmers to grow hemp.

"I am glad that Oregon has joined the other states that have agreed that American farmers should have the right to reintroduce industrial hemp as an agricultural crop," said Prozanski. "By signing SB 676 into law, which passed the Oregon Legislature with strong bi-partisan support, Governor Kulongoski has taken a proactive position allowing our farmers the right to grow industrial hemp, to provide American manufacturers with domestically-grown hemp, and to profit from that effort."

"Oregon's federal delegation can now take this law to the US Congress and call for a fix to this problem, so American companies will no longer need to import hemp and American farmers will no longer be denied a profitable new crop," said Patrick Goggin, director of the industry lobbying group Vote Hemp. "Under current federal policy, industrial hemp can be imported, but it cannot be grown by American farmers. Hemp is an environmentally-friendly crop that has not been grown commercially in the US for over fifty years because of a politicized and misguided interpretation of the nation's drug laws by the DEA."

Hemp is a member of the cannabis family, but is distinguished from smokeable marijuana by its low THC content and its lanky, fibrous appearance. The Oregon law specifies that industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. So does pending federal legislation, HR 1866, sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), which would remove low-THC hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and thus the DEA's domain.

According to the industry trade group the Hemp Industries Association, annual retail sales for hemp products in the last year were approximately $360 million. Because of the DEA ban on domestic hemp production, every ounce of hemp used in those products had to be imported.

The eight other states that have removed barriers to hemp production or research are Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia. Oregon joins North Dakota as the only states that do not require farmers to obtain federal permits from the DEA to grow hemp.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Robert Walker (not verified)

Now is the time to get behind HR 1866 and get it passed!
With the proper education of the general public, and pressure on Congress, we can get this bill passed.
Hemp oil, which was recommended by a Medical Doctor, is $18.00 a pint, and is imported from Canada.
It's time we changed the mindset of the American People, and instill the spirit of freedom in their hearts once again.
Thank you.

Thu, 08/13/2009 - 2:01pm Permalink
moldy (not verified)

I suppose the Rep. from Georgia would want to cane farmers growing hemp too?

State Republican lawmaker Tommy Benton (31st House District) favors “caning” minor marijuana offenders and “executing” those who sell the drug, according to a recent correspondence sent by the representative to a constituent.

In a July 29, 2009 e-mail (which was voluntarily forwarded to the NORML office), Rep. Benton wrote: “Thanks for the email. We will have to agree to disagree on this and whether or not money is wasted (by mandating the state to prosecute minor marijuana offenders). I am opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I think we should go to caning for people caught using and maybe execute dealers. [emphasis NORML’s] That would solve the problem as well. That is what they do in Singapore and they don’t have a drug problem.”

Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of up to 24 violent lashes with a long rattan cane that has been soaked in water. The procedure inflicts intense pain and deep, bloody lacerations that can take several months to heal.

Rep. Benton followed up his remarks in a separate e-mail on August 11 (also forwarded to NORML) in which he threatened to turn over the names of citizens who disagreed with his political viewpoints to local law enforcement.

He wrote: “You and your cronies want it (marijuana) legalized so you can get a hit anytime without having to worry about getting arrested. I have forwarded your email to the Lowndes County sheriffs [sic] office so that they can be on the lookout for you. [emphasis NORML’s] Consider this my last correspondence on the the [sic] subject to you or anyone else who shares your similar “conservative views’.”

Benton was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2005. ] end.

This is what the farmers in this country are up against!

Thu, 08/13/2009 - 2:45pm Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

1. Note that the Rep. from Georgia, quoted in the above posting, who wants to introduce "caning" of "marijuana offenders", uses the expression "get a hit" for what he presumes to be the pattern of advocated use. Maybe this indicates the constituents who elected this man are violence-inclined and one would be wise to avoid visiting or investing in their area. Meanwhile, let's clean up our own speech and advocate safe, moderate, non-violent herb use-- this means eliminating hot-burning-overdose papers and using a vaporizer or helping develop a THC-loaded e-cigarette technology.

2. The aforecited Republican also expressly refuses henceforth to converse with those who share the recipient's "conservative" views. This considering the source and allowing for the quotation marks could be a badge of honor. (I guess he means someone recommended saving the money now wasted on prosecuting "offenders".) Introducing industrial hemp will conserve environment and promote reforestation. Let's step forward proudly as Conservatives.

Sat, 08/15/2009 - 12:26pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by maxwood (not verified)

Nobody can abuse or mangle the meaning of words like 'these creepy people'. Consider how they use the word 'dope' to describe illicit drugs and their sinful abusers. Yet they fail to realize 'dope' - according to my dictionary - comes from the dutch and means 'sauce' which historically was used to describe alcohol abusers who got 'sauced'.

Christians should have played more scrabble and less risk!

B.S. Ah, the combination or religious complacency and it's moral certainty must be uplifting!

Tue, 08/18/2009 - 6:08pm Permalink

I disagree with maxwood. I think there should be a major protest in the center of Jefferson, Georgia. We have to stop being afraid of these wanna be tyrants and show up in their comfort zone anytime they advocate torture and death to peaceful, pot smokers and anytime they turn over to police correspondence with their constituents simply because they disagree over a plant. Politicians like this must be run out of office. They are dangerous. The cannabis culture must stop being a bunch of pansies who are afraid of going to jail for their association with a plant. We have to FIGHT BACK!

Sun, 08/16/2009 - 11:10am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Loretta Nall (not verified)

Dear Loretta,

Met you once at seattle hempfest years ago at the CC booth... you liked my marijuana shirt. Anyway, luv your passion & commitment and couldn't agree more about public dissent.

If we do not 'Dare to Care' about the truth or injustice then we will continue to suffer these fools - and their tools - who continue to operate outside the rule of law!

These creepy prohibitionists remind me of a movie I watched last night on IFC called: CSA - Confederate States of America. Where the south wins the civil war and slavery reamins legal and expands to include almost all non-whites. Seems like the same breed of ignorant & disgusting people if you ask me.

Luv & Keep Fighting,

B.S. If white is the absence of color then how colorful could an all white world be?

Tue, 08/18/2009 - 6:39pm Permalink

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