LAS VEGAS, Feb 03, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) — Hemp, Inc. America’s first all-industrial hemp public company, applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for legalizing the cultivation of hemp. For the first time in decades, the Federal government is allowing farmers to cultivate hemp. As of Wednesday, January 29, 2014, pursuant to the passage of the farm bill, the cultivation of industrial hemp is legal on a Federal level and is clearing the way for industrial hemp pilot programs in states such as Colorado, Washington, California, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont and West Virginia, where growing the plant is legal.
The bill was originally introduced as an amendment by Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). The provision allows universities, and now also state departments of agriculture, to grow hemp for academic or agricultural research purposes; however, it only applies to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.
Senator Mitch McConnell, who worked to retain and strengthen the provision, was the lead negotiator in getting hemp included on the Farm Bill was quoted, “We are laying the groundwork for a new commodity market for Kentucky farmers.”
Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. said, “I said it before and I’ll say it again… these are monumental steps for the industry. What we are all trying to get people to understand is that this will finally unlock a clean ‘American Industrial Revolution’ that will not only be economically sound, but environmentally advantageous.” Soon companies like Hemp, Inc. HEMP +39.14% will not have to import their hemp fabrics, hemp seeds, hemp hearts and hemp hurd for their hemp products.
According to the Associated Press article, written by Kristen Wyatt, “The plant’s return to legitimacy could clear the way for U.S. farmers to compete in an industry currently dominated by China. Even though it hasn’t been grown in the U.S., the country is one of the fastest-growing hemp markets.
“In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of legal hemp products, up from $1.4 million in 2000. Most of that growth was seen in hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars and other products.” Other estimates place the U.S. 2013 hemp sales at half a billion dollars ($500 million).
Hemp has thousands of uses. From rope and clothing, to soap and lotions and nutritional additives in everything from milk to cooking oil. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp before the Federal government banned the plant in its anti-drug efforts through the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. According to the aforementioned article, it wasn’t until 1999 that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a hemp permit for an experimental plot in Hawaii on a quarter acre of land.
Now the passing of the farm bill is a big first step towards allowing American farmers to once again grow industrial hemp, and giving Hemp, Inc. enormous new economic opportunities.