Too Legit To Quit

Hemp growing going legit after decades-long ban

Hemp’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.

“This is big,” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a Washington-based group that advocates for the plant’s legal cultivation. “We’ve been pushing for this a long time.”

Legalized growing of hemp had congressional allies from both ends of the political spectrum. Democrats from marijuana-friendly states have pushed to legalize hemp cultivation, as have Republicans from states where the fibrous plant could be a profitable new crop.

“We are laying the groundwork for a new commodity market for Kentucky farmers,” Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said in a statement. McConnell was a lead negotiator on the inclusion of hemp in the farm bill.

Legal industrial hemp is happening, but the DEA and energy companies are doing everything they can to prolong the inevitable energy revolution because it’s in their own self-interests. 

Fortunately for the rest of the American people, the cost of continued prohibition is too high, and the economic benefit is too big, to continue our misguided war on renewable resources.

Tell your congressional reps to stop the Federal government’s war on American farmers and let them grow the food, fiber and fuel we need to thrive as a nation, just like our founding fathers did.

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