For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
CONTACT: Robert Jones, NMHemp.org, 505-425-6825
Hemp Farming To Be Studied In New Mexico
SANTA FE, NM — The ditch weed whose name dare not be spoken can now be talked about openly in polite society. Lawmakers in Santa Fe have acknowledged and declared that hemp is not marijuana. The idea of industrial hemp farming and production has been given the stamp of approval and can now be considered mainstream in New Mexico.
A memorial (HR49) has passed the New Mexico House of Representatives requesting and urging the New Mexico State Board of Regents to undertake a study on the viability of a legal industrial hemp industry in New Mexico.
In addition, the memorial urges the U.S. Congress "to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity, to define industrial hemp in federal law as a non-psychoactive and genetically identifiable species of the genus Cannabis and acknowledge that allowing and encouraging farmers to produce industrial hemp will improve the balance of trade by promoting domestic sources of industrial hemp and [that hemp] can make a positive contribution to the issues of global climate change and carbon sequestration."
Lawmakers urged that an "in-depth economic analysis address the benefits of a legal hemp industry in New Mexico and the long-term impacts of establishing proper permitting and licensing procedures. The economic analysis shall attempt to determine the costs and benefits associated with encouraging economic development in various areas, including textiles, pulping products for paper, biocomposites and building materials, animal bedding, nutritional products for livestock, industries related to seed extraction and resins for potential biofuels, lubricants, paints and inks, cosmetics, body care products and nutritional supplements."
"The legislature has spoken," says Albuquerque attorney John McCall, "saying that New Mexico lawmakers are on-board in support of industrial hemp farming, and encouraging our scientists and educators to look at the subject without fear of retribution by law enforcement or negative conventional wisdom. All of the benefits of hemp can now be explored in a legal forum."
"This will give people all over the country the ability to approach the federal Drug Enforcement Authority to demand that industrial hemp be removed from their schedule of narcotic drugs and be allowed to once again become one of our major cash crops in the United States," according to McCall.
According to the bill that passed yesterday by a vote of 59-2, industrial hemp refers to varieties of Cannabis that have less than three-tenths of one percent THC, and that it is not to be confused with marijuana.
Industrial hemp is currently produced in more than thirty nations, including Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Romania, Australia and China. The United States is, by far, the largest consumer of industrial hemp products. Our manufacturers import millions of dollars worth of hemp seed and fiber every year and annual sales of hemp foods in the United States is growing rapidly.
The New Mexico legislature has recognized that industrial hemp is a high-value, low-input crop that is not genetically modified, requires no pesticides, can be dryland farmed and uses less fertilizer than wheat or corn — both of which are grown here.
Eric Steenstra, the President of Vote Hemp, the leading national industrial hemp advocacy group, expressed his congratulations. "I want to thank Rep. Begaye and the states' industrial hemp supporters for making New Mexico the 15th state to take a position in favor of returning to commercial industrial hemp farming. I hope New Mexico's Congressional delegation acts on the overwhelming support the state has shown for hemp."
More information about industrial hemp in New Mexico can be found on the NMHemp.org Web site.