Merkley, Wyden greet key win for industrial hemp

WASHINGTON- Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-ore., announced Friday that included in the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations committee bill is an amendment offered by Merkley to prevent the federal government from interfering with the implementation of state laws on the cultivation of industrial hemp.

A total of 27 states now allow farmers to cultivate hemp, but farmers in those states still face the uncertainty that the Drug Enforcement Agency could take legal action against them.

"Es ridículo que el gobierno federal todavía se interponga en el camino de los estados que han tomado la decisión de permitir el cultivo industrial de cáñamo", dijo Merkley. "El cáñamo industrial tiene el potencial de crear empleos y oportunidades de investigación aquí en Oregón y es hora de que el gobierno federal se quite del camino".  

“Ending restrictions on industrial hemp is pro-environment, pro-business, pro-farmer and pro-commonsense,” Wyden said. “That’s why I’ve been proud to work with Senator Merkley on this, and on our legislation that would stop the unfair punishment of hemp entrepreneurs and farmers in Oregon and nationwide. After all, if you can buy hemp at the local supermarket in Oregon, American farmers should be able to grow it.”

El cáñamo industrial se utiliza para fabricar de todo, desde cuerdas y telas hasta aceite y jabón. Los productos de cáñamo representan más de $600 millones en ventas nacionales anuales, y si bien el cáñamo tiene el potencial de ser un cultivo nacional multimillonario, tenemos que importar todo nuestro cáñamo de lugares como Canadá y China.

Thursday’s amendment passed out of the Appropriations committee on a bipartisan voice vote. This same amendment passed with strong bipartisan support in the House last year by a 282-146 margin.

Merkley and Wyden were joined by Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to introduce the Industrial Hemp Farming Act that would allow American farmers to grow and profit from industrial hemp.

Specifically, the bill would remove hemp from the Schedule I controlled substance list under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, and would define it as a non-drug so long as it contained less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The following states have enacted laws allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Virginia.