Friday, October 11, 2013

Hemp: Legalized for Industrial & Commercial Uses in California

California. Governor Jerry Brown officially signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act into law, making it legal for farmers to cultivate industrial hemp as a commercial crop without fear of fines or arrest.  The bill was sponsored by Senator Leno, D-San Francisco.

Hemp is completely different from the recreational drug that was recently legalized in Colorado and Washington. Though a close cousin of marijuana, hemp has none of the psychoactive qualities: ingest it any way you can, and you still won’t get “high.”
Hemp was lumped in with marijuana when the government decided to launch the long and unproductive war on drugs.

A few historical facts about hemp via Hemp History Week:
  • Industrial hemp has been grown in the U.S. since the first European settlers arrived in early 1600′s.
  • The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper.
  • George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams all grew hemp and actively advocated for commercial hemp production.
  • More than 150,000 acres of hemp were cultivated as a part of the USDA’s “Hemp for Victory” program during WWII.
The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act will establish a framework for farming the oil seed and fiber varieties of the plant, which are used in a myriad of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, composites, building materials, and bio-fuels. Enforcement and oversight of hemp production would be conducted in concert with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and county agricultural commissioners, as is done with other crops.

Of course, cultivating hemp for commercial purposes is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government. But with the government’s recent announcement that it wouldn’t challenge state medical or recreational marijuana legalization, hemp supporters are confident that they can proceed without interruption.  (Care2, 9/30/2013)

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