It has been eight decades since U.S. drug laws made growing hemp in American soil illegal.
Today barely 1% of Americans are farming hemp. Before it was prohibited in 1937, that number was 30% and our hemp was considered among the best in the world.
Hemp is finally beginning to make a comeback after President Obama signed a provision in the 2014 farm bill that removed hemp grown for research purposes from the Controlled Substances Act.
Many are finally recognizing that hemp can help restore our agricultural economy, have a positive impact on climate change and help our struggling farmers. According to a report in the LA Times, Canada already knew that and is raking in $1 billion a year on its hemp production.
A good week for hemp in the farm states
In Nevada, a legislative subcommittee gave final approval to regulations overseeing a pilot project to allow limited hemp cultivation for research purposes.
Nevertheless, Robert Little at the Nevada Department of Agriculture told the Las Vegas Review Journal that they are being strict on the amount of THC in the hemp.
“If a crop tests above 0.3, it’s up to us to determine how that crop is destroyed,” Little said.
Rick Trojan, founder of Colorado-based Hemp Road Trip, was at the statehouse in Kansas this week to speak with lawmakers about the benefits of industrial hemp.
His group has been advocating for the passage of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act before Congress in Washington. The bill would make it legal to grow hemp for use in manufacturing a variety of products.
“Hemp, as a rotational crop, leaves the ground better than it found it,” Trojan told KSNT.com in Kansas. “It is also a great alternative for farmers.”
Two Alabama lawmakers are sponsoring legislation to allow research on growing industrial hemp in their state and to permit the Department of Agriculture and Industries or a state university to research hemp production, according to AL.Com.
We need seeds
To begin production once again, American farmers will need to import dozens of hemp varieties from around the world because the U.S.’s seed stock was lost after so many years of prohibition.
But growers are keen to get started. One Colorado farmer, Ryan Loflin, told the LA Times that hemp is going to revive farmers.
“It takes half the water that wheat does and provides four times the income. Hemp is going to revive farming families in the climate-change era.”