Thursday, May 12, 2011
AHPA throws support behind hemp cultivation bill
By Stephen Daniells, 12-May-2011
Introduced by Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011 (H.R. 1831), aims to amend the Controlled Substances Act by removing industrial hemp from its definition of marijuana.
"I am aware of only one plant that Americans are forbidden to grow but whose products we are allowed to eat, wear or apply to our skin, and that plant is hemp," said Michael McGuffin, AHPA president.
“AHPA members who manufacture and market hemp products want to have the option of buying their ingredients from U.S. farmers, and Rep. Paul's bill will allow them to do so.
“Domestic cultivation would also provide an important economic stimulus and source of revenue for American farmers, including small family farms,” added McGuffin.
According to the bill, hemp would be defined as "the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis".
According to the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), annual sales of hemp products in the US are about $360 million, and this includes foods, soaps, and cosmetics: Hemp seed and seed oil is used in both foods and cosmetics.
The HIA adds that hemp seed contains “more essential fatty acids than any other source, is second only to soybeans in complete protein (but is more digestible by humans), is high in B-vitamins, and is a good source of dietary fiber. Hemp seed is not psychoactive and cannot be used as a drug”.
Hemp is grown legally in Canada and China, and imported to the US. Some US states do have also legalized cultivation, but conflicts with federal law means there is no or only limited production on US soil. HR1831 would remove such conflicts.
"AHPA is hopeful that one or more senator will see that this legislation supports American farmers and hemp marketers at the same time that it does not alter federal marijuana laws in any other way," added McGuffin.
Hemp cannot legally be grown in some countries because some versions are psychoactive and classed as narcotics. But industrial hemp grown for nutritional purposes does not have psychoactive properties and is not considered to be a substitute for marijuana, which is a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.