Oregon Senator Wyden Addresses Hemp History Week
As National Hemp History Week 2017 makes history, one political advocate who understands the importance of industrial hemp (and the difference between hemp and marijuana) makes some compelling points in a speech to the Senate in Washington this week.
The Honorable Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon took the floor to defend and the benefits and monetary value of industrial hemp which has fallen on deaf ears in Washington DC. Senator Wyden pointed out the benign psychoactive effects of industrial hemp and its distant relationship to recreational marijuana. Later, he would go on to point out that Canadian-grown ‘hemp hearts’ could be sold in quantity via Costco in Oregon but benefiting only foreign farmers. This antiquated practice by our federal government robs our farming communities of valuable jobs and retail sales.
The hypocrisy comes in the blatant observation that we are stupid enough to buy it from other countries and consume it but can’t be trusted enough to grow it on American soil. Yet we will import over half a billion dollars worth of it from foreign countries around the world, not just Canada. It is federal bureaucracy and politics at its best that makes no sense of this Topic. So far, the 2014 Federal Farm Bill has done very little to allow farmers to cultivate it freely.
Wyden displayed baskets of hemp products at the hearing to demonstrate the many uses of a cash crop that could be capitalized if it were removed from the 1970 Controlled Substance Act narcotic list. He would go on to mention fellow industrial hemp proponents Senator Ron Paul and Senator Mitch McConnell, both from Kentucky who are conservatives yet see the need to reclassify the plant as well.
Industrial hemp is organic, quite edible in many forms, is an excellent source of protein and has no real psychoactive properties to it. However, after the 1970 Nixon ‘War on Drugs’, industrial hemp was erroneously lumped together with recreational marijuana, a distant Cannabis Sativa cousin. The CBC oil from hemp, recognized as a medicinal by-product, is legal to use but still illegal to be produced in the United States. How is it possible to consume a product that is illegal to grow? It is this kind of nonsensical illogic that has Senator Wyden and other hemp-informed House members scratching their heads.
By May of 2017, the United States is currently importing and consuming $600 MILLION dollars worth of foreign industrial hemp and hemp products on an annual scale. Over a half billion in lost annual revenue denied to U.S. workers. The U.S. is THE number one importer of hemp goods globally. China and Canada are the world’s primary producers and exporters of hemp with the U.S. as its primary customer and the largest consumer worldwide. The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that categorizes this edible plant as an illegal Schedule One narcotic that has next to zero psychoactive ability. It is impossible to get high from hemp yet misconception and lack of education keeps it from making a break from recreational marijuana.
If this new administration wants to truly add new jobs for American workers and grow our economy, then passing responsible hemp legislation is an immediate solution. If hemp could be freed from its prohibition status once and for all, the United States could easily become one of the world’s top producers that could ignite our economy and help save our planet.