June 9, 2008: Vermont’s Governor Jim Douglas made no announcement on his web site. But on May 29, Douglas decided against a veto. So Vermont’s “Hemp for Vermont” bill which won overwhelming support in the legislature is now law. (The bill passed in the state House 126 to 9 and 25 to 1 in the Senate). This means Vermont joins North Dakota as states endorsing industrial hemp – a crop still outlawed under federal rules. For the full story, Click Here.
June 7, 2008: An opinion piece by Jim Maas of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin blasts current federal subsidies for farmers but singles industrial hemp out for praise. Maas writes that “Hemp has thousands of uses. Besides fibers for paper and textiles, it can be used for biodegradable plastics, health food and fuel. Hemp requires little to no pesticides, replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen, controls erosion of the topsoil and produces a lot of oxygen. The downside? Our government prohibits its use.”
Click Here for the complete Wausau Daily Herald article.
Industrial hemp organizations have put together an excellent summary of centuries of hemp history: “Hemp – The Environmentally Sustainable Alternative (Part 1).” Calling hemp “the world’s most valuable plant,” the nine-minute YouTube video tells the story well, pointing out the absurdity of the United States still banning a crop which was a major crop until it was made illegal in 1937 — only to be heavily promoted by the U.S. government during World War II — and then banned once again. For background on the video and more info, visit Kate Weldon’s post on Barry’s Bay This Week, reporting that “Hemp video number two is already in the works. ‘The Hemp Revival – 1994 to 2008’ will feature footage of hemp used for carbon negative building, car parts, plastics and health food” — reminding us that hemp growing is once again both legal and profitable in Canada.
The Dot Earth blog from New York Times writer Andrew Revkin notes that hemp is making a come-back: “A new age of sail may be a bit closer to reality. The MV Beluga SkySails, the first freighter in the modern era using a kite-like sail along with its conventional engine when the winds are right, completed a transatlantic passage and the owners report that the sail cut fuel burning around 20 percent on days when conditions were right.”
A comprehensive Reason Foundation report on the environmental and economic benefits of industrial hemp was released March 13 by the Reason Foundation, a non-profit research and educational organization. Contrasting industrial hemp with competitors such as cotton, corn, polyester and fiberglass, the report states that:
“Cannabis sativa L. is the most politicized plant in U.S. history—so much so that science too often falls to the wayside as factions attempt to either demonize or venerate the plant. Complicating the debate, two very different varieties of the plant are common: the pharmacological variety, marijuana, and the agricultural variety, hemp. Hemp is the subject of this study.”
“Hemp offers three products: the long ‘bast’ fibers, similar to flax or jute fibers; the short ‘hurd’ fibers, which have a number of industrial uses; and finally the seeds. Emerging industrial applications include composite construction materials and biofuel sources. Hemp is often evaluated for performance alongside biomass and oilseed crops, fiberglass and agricultural byproducts like wheat straw.”
“Hemp cultivation is not permitted in the United States today. In its final decades as a domestic crop prior to 1958, government regulation hindered its competitiveness in world markets.”
“This study seeks to add to the discussion about hemp prohibition by comparing the environmental efficiency of hemp to its substitutes in a few key applications.”
For the Reason Foundation’s full 50-page report, Illegally Green: Environmental Costs of Hemp Prohibition, Click Here. For the Executive Summary, Click Here.
Industrial Hemp Brochure Published
Printed on hemp paper, this NAIHC brochure explains the many econonic and environmental reasons for once again allowing U.S. farmers to grow industrial hemp — a crop grown and valued by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Includes comments and photos of NAIHC directors. (PDF file, requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader®, available free.)
Action Stalled on ’07 Industrial Hemp Legislation http://naihc.org/IHLegislationUpdate.html
For the latest status of the federal Industrial Hemp legislation, Click Here. To check the progress of all federal and state legislation on industrial hemp, Click Here. The current federal legislation being considered is H.R.1009, “To amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes.”
H.R. 109 was introduced by Rep Paul, Ron [R-TX-14] on Feb. 13, 2007). The Latest Major Action was on April 20, 2007 when the bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.01009:
The bill’s 11 current co-sponsors are:
Rep Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2]
Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4]
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7]
Rep Hinchey, Maurice D. [NY-22]
Rep Kucinich, Dennis J. [OH-10]
Rep McDermott, Jim [WA-7]
Rep Miller, George [CA-7]
Rep Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-46]
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9]
Rep Stark, Fortney Pete [CA-13] –
Rep Woolsey, Lynn C. [CA-6]