Later today, the House will vote on a bipartisan amendment offered by Reps. Massie, Blumenauer, Polis, Barr, and Bonamici to address the legal confusion regarding Section 7606 of the Farm bill relating to industrial hemp. This amendment is meant to prevent the DEA from harassing other states, like Kentucky recently experienced, when trying to begin pilot projects and research on the benefits of industrial hemp.
The amendment simply states, “that no funds may be used by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration to violate the clear language of section 7606, which allows States to ‘grow or cultivate industrial hemp’ if ‘the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research.’”
Read their Dear Colleague being circulated on the Hill today below:
VOTE YES ON MASSIE-BLUMENAUER-POLIS-BARR-BONAMICI
May 29, 2014
The recent bipartisan farm bill became the law of the land on February 7th of this year. This was a historic victory for supporters of the right to grow industrial hemp. Section 7606 of the farm bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014) contained the text of our amendment to the House version of the bill that allows state agricultural agencies and universities to grow industrial hemp for academic and research purposes in states where it is already legal. This amendment passed by a 225-200 margin.
Unfortunately, despite the clear language of the law, and the clear intent of Congress to allow for hemp research, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently seized and held shipments of hemp seeds en route to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture intended for a university research pilot program. These actions violate federal law and block legitimate and beneficial research. A state cannot launch an industrial hemp pilot program if the DEA seizes the seeds before they reach their destination.
Because of the DEA’s actions, Kentucky officials were forced to file a lawsuit in federal court to make the DEA comply with federal law. This is a waste of time and resources for all involved, including the judges and court employees forced to review the court filings.
Industrial hemp is an important agricultural commodity. American retailers sell an estimated $500 million worth of products containing hemp seeds and fibers every year. Hemp finds its way into more than 25,000 different products around the world, including lotions, protein bars, auto parts, and fuel. It is not a drug and should not be treated like one.
Our amendment is simple. It states that no funds may be used by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration to violate the clear language of section 7606, which allows States to “grow or cultivate industrial hemp” if “the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research.”
This amendment will benefit any state that would consider a hemp pilot program were it not for the threat of DEA involvement, such as recently occurred in Kentucky. Please join us in support of this common-sense, reasonable amendment that refines and builds on the actions we took during the farm bill vote in support of hemp research. Vote yes on our amendment to require the Department of Justice and DEA to follow federal law.
Thomas Massie Earl Blumenauer Jared Polis
Contact your representative today and urge them to vote YES on the Massie amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015, H.R. 4660!