Monday, August 5, 2013
Hemp gelato is hip on Capitol Hill
By Nikki Schwab
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., is lactose intolerant, so eating ice cream “is always challenging,” the lawmaker divulged. But on Thursday, Polis dipped his spoon into Zendulgence hemp gelato, a dairy-free alternative made from the controversial hemp plant. “I’m really excited,” he said. “I scream, you scream, we all scream, for hemp ice cream,” he rhymed.
Polis is among a number of lawmakers who are trying to change the law, so that the hemp plant can be legally grown in the United States. Hemp gets a bad rap thanks to its druggie cousin, marijuana. Industrial hemp, as it’s called, doesn’t get people high and instead can be used as a building material, in clothing and in food products–including ice cream. Currently, the hemp sold in the United States is grown in other countries.
As of right now, the pro-hemp Polis-Massie amendment is attached to the House version of the Farm Bill. It would allow colleges and universities to grow hemp, as long as their states have deemed it legal. This amendment’s passage is significant because it was the first time the hemp issue came to a Congressional vote. There’s also a bill in both houses that would exclude hemp from the definition of marijuana, therefore making it legal to grow. Both bills have a bipartisan batch of co-sponsors.
On Thursday morning, Polis was joined by Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., for a brunchtime gelato tasting and briefing, courtesy of the Vote Hemp lobby.
And while Congress hasn’t come to a consensus on the future of hemp (yet) the takeaway in the room was that hemp was delicious. “Two thumbs up,” Blumenauer concluded, as he tasted a spoonful of chocolate gelato.