Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Wyden, Blumenauer host Industrial Hemp Expo at U.S. Capitol
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., hosted an Industrial Hemp Expo Tuesday at the U.S. Capitol, bringing together leading policymakers and entrepreneurs in the movement to restore industrial hemp to U.S. agriculture.
The expo, which drew more than 100 visitors, featured television personality Montel Williams and former CIA Director James Woolsey as keynote speakers. It showcased more than a dozen small businesses, including Eagle Point’s Natural Good Medicines, which make products using industrial hemp.
“If it’s legal to buy hemp products in Oregon, it ought to be legal for farmers to grow hemp in Oregon, " Wyden said. “Today’s ‘Hemp on the Hill’ Expo showed just some of the vast potential of the hemp industry, and I’m going to be working to build on the increasing momentum to pass the bipartisan Industrial Hemp Farming Act and lift the ban on industrial hemp farming in our country.”
“Since the years of our Founding Fathers, industrial hemp has been used in foods, textiles, building materials, and much more. It’s absolutely ridiculous that because of an outdated War on Drugs mentality, the cultivation of industrial hemp remains illegal at the federal level,” Blumenauer said. “Across the country and across the aisle, attitudes toward industrial hemp are rightly changing, and over half of all states have now legalized its production. Now more than ever, we have a real opportunity to pass legislation to remove this outdated ban. Let’s seize the moment.”
“Visitors at today’s expo saw firsthand the incredible economic opportunities we’re depriving our nation by leaving in place the outdated ban on industrial hemp production,” Polis said. “Hemp is renowned throughout the world for its versatility, which makes it highly sought after for use in fabric, construction material, biofuels, rope, paper, foods, cosmetics, and thousands of other products. We need to pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act so that America’s farmers and innovators can finally start participating in this booming global industry.”
Hemp is used in thousands of products throughout the world, but because it is classified as marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act – even though it is non-psychoactive and has no use as a recreational drug – its cultivation is prohibited in the United States.
Wyden, Blumenauer, Polis and Massie are leading sponsors of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 525/S. 134), which would lift the federal ban on hemp and leave the decision about whether to allow its cultivation up to each state.