For Immediate Release
Monday, June 27, 2005
CONTACT: Adam Eidinger 202-744-2671
Industrial Hemp Farming Act
Introduced at Packed Capitol Hill Hemp Food Lunch
HR 3037 Would Give States the Right to Regulate
Farming of Versatile Hemp Plant
WASHINGTON, DC —
For the first time since the federal government outlawed
hemp farming in the United States, a federal bill has
been introduced that would remove restrictions on the
cultivation of non-psychoactive industrial hemp. At
a Capitol Hill lunch on June 23 to mark the introduction
of H.R. 3037, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act
of 2005," about 100 congressional staff feasted
on Bahama Hempnut Crusted Wild Salmon and Fuji Fennel
Hempseed Salad. The five-course gourmet hemp meal was
prepared by Executive Chef Denis Cicero of the New York
At the luncheon the chief sponsor of the
bill, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), described how
H.R. 3037 will remove federal barriers to U.S. hemp
farming by returning the regulation of hemp to the states.
"It is unfortunate that the federal government
has stood in the way of American farmers, including
many who are struggling to make ends meet, competing
in the global industrial hemp market," said Dr.
Paul. "Indeed the founders of our nation, some
of whom grew hemp, surely would find that federal restrictions
on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their
own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee
of a limited, restrained federal government. Therefore,
I urge my colleagues to stand up for American farmers
and co-sponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act."
Dr. Paul was joined by five original co-sponsors, including
Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Jim McDermott
(D-WA), George Miller (D-CA) and Raúl Grijalva
(D-AZ). The bill may be viewed here.
At the luncheon consumer advocate Ralph
Nader called the U.S. ban on hemp farming "bureaucratic
medievalism" because over 30 industrialized countries
are growing hemp and the U.S. is the number one importer
of the crop, but won't allow domestic cultivation. A
highlight video of the speakers may be viewed online
Representing farming interests at the
event was North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger
Johnson. "Industrial hemp is used in a tremendous
variety of products, including food products, soap,
cosmetics, fertilizer, textiles, paper, paints and plastics,"
Johnson said. "Once the crop is legalized in this
country, I believe science will find even more uses
for industrial hemp, uses that will make industrial
hemp a popular and profitable crop."
North Dakota State Rep. David Monson (R-Osnabrock),
a farmer who successfully sponsored several bills in
the North Dakota State Legislature regulating the production
and research of industrial hemp, said "industrial
hemp production is on hold in North Dakota and the entire
U.S. due to roadblocks in Washington, D.C. We have had
tremendous bipartisan support for legislation we've
introduced in North Dakota."
U.S. companies that manufacture or sell
products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner’s
Magic Soaps, the number-one-selling natural soap, Interface,
the world's largest manufacturer of commercial carpet
and carpet tiles, FlexForm Technologies, an Indiana
company whose natural fiber materials are found in 1.5
million cars, Alterna, a professional hair care company
whose hemp products are beloved by Julia Roberts and
other celebrities, California-based Nutiva Hemp Foods,
and adidas USA which has been selling hemp sneakers
since 1995. Although hemp grows wild across the U.S.,
a vestige of centuries of hemp farming, the hemp for
these products must be imported.
There is widespread support among national
organizations for a change in the federal government's
position on hemp. The National Association of State
Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) "supports revisions
to the federal rules and regulations authorizing commercial
production of industrial hemp." The National Grange
"supports research, production, processing and
marketing of industrial hemp as a viable agricultural
Numerous individual states have also expressed
interest in industrial hemp. Twenty-six states have
introduced hemp legislation and six (Hawaii, Kentucky,
Maine, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia) have
removed barriers to its production or research. Rep.
Paul’s bill will allow laws
in these states regulating the growing and processing
of industrial hemp to take effect.
"Industrial hemp has become a lucrative
crop for farmers in Europe, Canada and Asia, so farmers
here are asking 'Why are we being left out?'" says
Alexis Baden-Mayer, Director of Government Relations
for Vote Hemp. For thousands of years different varieties
of Cannabis have been cultivated for non-drug uses such
as paper, canvas, soap, food, building materials and
recently high-tech bio-composites used in automobiles.
Hemp and marijuana come from different varieties of
the Cannabis plant.
"Because there are millions of cars
on the road with hemp door panels, tens of millions
of dollars are spent annually on hemp food and hemp
body care, and hemp paper is being made in the U.S.,
people are asking tough questions about why the U.S.
government won't distinguish low-THC hemp from high-THC
drug varieties. I believe this federal legislation will
gain momentum over the next year as we spend time educating
Congress and their constituents about the need for reform,"
For more information on industrial hemp,
please visit www.VoteHemp.com, the Web site of Vote
Hemp, a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance
of industrial hemp.