Updated: Jan 16, 2019
The American Farm Bureau Federation has officially endorsed HR 3530, the
Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017. In a letter sent on September 25th to leading
bill sponsor, Representative James Comer, the organization says its policy calls for the removal of industrial hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act based on decades of scientific research and previous experience growing hemp, from pre-industrialization to the advent of World War II.
In the letter, AFBF President Zippy Duvall points out the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana, and the unfortunate loss of heritage and industry development hindered because of the intertwining of the two cannabis species.
"For nearly 70 years, industrial hemp has been misaligned with its cannabis cousin, marijuana. It's also unfortunate that a great deal of agricultural heritage in hemp seed genetics, crop research, and technological innovation have been hindered or lost entirely."
The letter also draws attention to the historically aggressive enforcement and treatment against hemp by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) despite the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill and over 30 states participating in the research and development of the crop.
"With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill and under the supervision of research universities or state departments of agriculture, states may “study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp.” Since 2014, over 30 states have passed legislation legalizing this type of research, but full-fledged production and commercialization are hindered by hemp’s designation as a Schedule 1 controlled substance and by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s historically aggressive enforcement against hemp."
The statement concludes with the recognition of markets and industry potential, highlighting the many uses and benefits of legalizing industrial hemp and how it can impact American farmers, along with processing and manufacturing industries. In closing, the letter states:
"We support your efforts to allow the American farmer to grow industrial hemp legally and tap into the current and emerging markets. We appreciate your introduction of this bill and look forward to working with you to secure enactment."
This endorsement is a significant step to establishing industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. The support of one of the nation's leading voices for agriculture legitimizes the efforts of those advocating for federal hemp legislation, and reiterates the progress and policy changes necessary for full commercialization. Click here to read the full letter.