April 27, 2009 – Texas Republican Ron Paul, along with ten co-sponsors, is once again seeking to allow for the commercial farming of industrial hemp.

House Bill 1866, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009, would exclude low potency ron_paulvarieties of marijuana from federal prohibition. If approved, this measure will grant state legislatures the authority to license and regulate the commercial production of hemp as an industrial and agricultural commodity.

Several states — including North Dakota, Montana, and Vermont — have enacted regulations to allow for the cultivation of hemp under state law. However, none of these laws can be implemented without federal approval. Passage of HR 1866 would remove existing federal barriers and allow states that wish to regulate commercial hemp production the authority to do so.

Upon introducing the bill in Congress, Rep. Paul said: “It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore, I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers and cosponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act.”

According to a 2005 Congressional Resource Service report, the United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop. As a result, U.S. companies that specialize in hempen goods — such as Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Patagonia, Nature’s Path, and Nutiva — have no choice but to import hemp material. These added production costs are then passed on to the consumer who must pay artificially high retail prices for hemp products.

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