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New Hemp Bill Introduced in US Senate

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #746)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. The bill, if passed, would get around the DEA's refusal to differentiate hemp from marijuana and could result in American farmers being allowed to grow the industrial crop.

hemp field at sunrise (
The bill, Senate Bill 3501, was introduced last week by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and cosponsored by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). It would amend the Controlled Substances Act to make clear that hemp is not a drug, even though it is part of the cannabis family. Hemp has much lower levels of THC than marijuana grown for recreational or medicinal purposes.

The bill marks Wyden's second attempt this year to get hemp de-listed. He tried to offer an amendment to the farm bill the Senate passed in June to do just that, but the Senate leadership ruled the amendment was not germane.

"I firmly believe that American farmers should not be denied an opportunity to grow and sell a legitimate crop simply because it resembles an illegal one," Wyden said. "Raising this issue has sparked a growing awareness of exactly how ridiculous the US's ban on industrial hemp is. I'm confident that if grassroots support continues to grow and Members of Congress continue to hear from voters then common sense hemp legislation can move through Congress in the near future."

The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meanwhile, another hemp bill, House Resolution 1831, which would also clarify that hemp is not marijuana for the purposes of the Controlled Substances Act, languishes in the Republican-controlled House.

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.


War Vet (not verified)

To not allow hemp is a violation of the Sherman-Anti Trust Act of 1890.  The DEA get paid to make sure American hemp isn't grown . . . The DEA make sure China and Canada sell their hemp in U.S. stores . . . the DEA makes sure American grown hemp cannot compete with Chinese and Canadian hemp, that means the DEA are a corporate entity and not a Federal Entity . . . the DEA have more in common with Toyota and Wal-Mart than the DOJ or FBI or DHS.  The DEA get paid to make sure you and I will only have access to buying foreign grown hemp in our nation via denying industrial hemp to be grown -which hurts competition and the market.  The law clearly states its illegal for any DEA worker to be paid cash for his or her job . . . the law requires that the DEA only use their money to do their jobs since they are in the business of making sure foreign hemp hits shelves across the nation . . . getting paid so you will (can't) not buy American grown hemp.

We had hemp grown in America during and for World War II (Hemp for Victory).  The DEA will not allow industrial hemp to be grown in America for the War Effort -for the War on Terror.  Industrial hemp could be better and cheaper for America and her troops, thus meaning the denial of hemp for victory is hurting our war effort and hurting our troops.  The DEA are committing treason during a time of war and law states that every DEA worker be subject to execution or life in prison for committing sabotage.  A Muslim Terrorist would want the DEA to not let Americans grow hemp for the War, therefore the DEA are Muslim Terrorist Sympathizers and should be hung for their role in killing and hurting U.S. troops via lack of better supplies which could come from hemp . . . more supplies at a better cost to America and for the soldiers.  The DEA are allied with Al Qaeda and the Taliban because they slow down the American War on Terror with denied industrial hemp, which equal lack of supplies for the U.S. soldiers to fight and survive.  Actions speak louder than words.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 7:41pm Permalink
maxweed (not verified)

Industrial cannabis-- probably in fact any cannabis-- is known as one of the best precursor crops for trees.  One way to solve the emerging US DROUGHT crisis is to quickly replace lots of UNDERVEGETATED crop land-- with today maybe up to at best ten feet or so of CORN standing on it-- with real temperate zone FOREST with 100-foot tree canopy which administers far more water resources.  A year or two of cannabis planting would leave fertile deposits of weedstalk litter that can help expedite this change-over.

Think of forest as the WOMB of life-- Water Overstock Management Biosystem.  The deep root system restrains runoff and the massive foliage evaporates extra water into the local air feeding local rainfall.  The

Now since I mentioned corn, well is it not that very crop, hogging land which should be in trees, that is the basis of the SECOND BIGGEST drug death empire-- right next to $igarettes?  HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, now the second biggest ingredient in commercial soda pop, is credited as heaviest (oops sorry Dr Freud) contributor to obesity now said to be rivaling smoking as biggest cause of preventable death.

Also, legalization of inspirational (along with medical and industrial) cannabis directly threatens this soda pop sales empire, a smart cannabis user knows how to "enjoy" a free glass of RTTW room temperature tap water instead of buying the iconic cans and bottles.  Not to mention beer.

Tue, 08/07/2012 - 10:29pm Permalink
Tony Aroma (not verified)


Industrial hemp is a booming business in Oregon, where it’s used to make ropes, lotion, plastics and clothes among other things. But technically the federal government could crack down since hemp is still categorized as a controlled substance.

Am I reading this correctly? Farmers are growing hemp in Oregon and the DEA has not raided them? That would be big news!

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 6:46pm Permalink
Arlene (not verified)

In reply to by Tony Aroma (not verified)

this is completely untrue. They are NOT growing hemp in Oregon or any US state because of the federal ban on hemp farming. To show how ridiculous the above statement is, ropes, lotion, hemp plastics and clothes are all made from different varieties of hemp plants. They certainly do not grow all of those varieties, nor do they have the machinery to manufacture all of those different products.

Canada grows the kind of hemp plant that creates a lot of seeds. Canada is making tons of money, especially on exports to the US of their seeds, hemp foods, hemp oils and lotions. Hemp fabric on the other hand, primarily comes from China, with a small amount being grown in Romania and a few other countries. But Chinese hemp fabric is technologically really advanced since they have never stopped making fabric from hemp.

Good for them. If the Canadian Government and Chinese government is smarter than ours, they should make money. We are only screwing ourselves.

Sun, 08/12/2012 - 7:35pm Permalink
Abundant Life Hemp (not verified)

To make nature a crime is ridiculous.  

Wed, 08/08/2012 - 11:51pm Permalink
knottyhemplady (not verified)

The only reason that I can see why our government wouldnt let OUR farmers grow hemp is that OUR gov OWES the other countries SO much money that OUR gov made a deal with them. We aren't allowed to grow our own hemp because WE are paying off a debt that our gov took out to pay their salaries!! The loans sure didn't help anyone I know. Our taxes pave our roads and send our kids to school. Another example is all of the foreigners who can open a business tax free for so many years then they close it annd their sister brother and cousin all open the same store one after another....all tax free! Don't you know we owe them a lot! Our government should pay their own loans off. WE never signed any loan agreement! WE aren't living above our means. We just want our freedom to survive any way God provides us a way. HE gave us hemp. HE gave us knowledge. WE want our rights!
Sat, 09/01/2012 - 9:12am Permalink
Konopij (not verified)

Could it just be that DEA enforcement against illegal marijuana would be complicated by legal hemp?  Spotting marijuana versus hemp from the air would be more difficult and the DEA doesn't want their job to get harder.

The first draft of the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.  The Gutenburg Bible was printed on hemp paper.  The sails used during the Revolutionary War were made of hemp.  An early version of the flag made by Betsy Ross was made of hemp. The first Levi Stauss jeans were made of hemp.  Hemp has a very important role in our American history. 

With Senator Rand Paul involved, this could easily become a Tea Party issue.  Americans today should be allowed to grow hemp, just as our founders, Washington and Jefferson did.  

Mon, 09/03/2012 - 8:20pm Permalink
god almighty (not verified)

if god did create the world are these countries around the world that are founded on god really believe god made a mistake by creating the marijuana plant bunch of contradictive so and so's.we will have to go back to the hemp plant some day when the fat cats have had there day,

Thu, 09/06/2012 - 8:08am Permalink

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