“We are very pleased to have the signature,” says Senator Mark Leno, the prime sponsor of the proposal. “It’s been a 10-year effort to get here. [The passing of Senate Bill 566] will help sustain family farms in California for the future and likely create more job opportunities. Hemp is a $500 million a year industry in California, and it’s growing at 10 percent annually.”
Senator Leno continues; “This is a miracle plant that has served the planet earth well for, literally, millennia, and that we currently legally manufacture and sell thousands of hemp products including food, clothing, shelter, paper, fuel, all biodegradable products. It’s renewable every 90 days, grows without herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, and needs less water than corn. It is the definition of sustainability.”
The new law legalizes hemp – defined as having 0.3% or less THC – allowing farmers to become licensed with the state to cultivate hemp for private, or industrial purposes. With the proposal’s passage, the issue of federal law is still in question, but with the recent announcement from the Obama Administration that they won’t enforce federal law in states that legalize cannabis, Senator Leno isn’t worried.
“I have great confidence in a recent statement by Attorney General Eric Holder,” says Leno. “He’s said that if a state puts into place a legal allowance and regulatory scheme, that the federal government would not interfere with marijuana. Now, we need clarification between hemp and marijuana, but there’s no sensical way that that could be interpreted that hemp is excluded, given that hemp’s not a drug.”
We’ll keep you updated as this new law is implemented.