With the signature of Governor Ted Kulongoski, Oregon has agreed to allow its citizens the freedom to farm and develop industrial hemp. Hemp is one of humankind’s oldest and most useful crops. It provides great value in thousands of uses. A century ago hemp was an important American crop. The renaissance of hemp cultivation in the USA could provide a major stimulus of true productivity to a country sorely in need of solutions. Hemp can help provide for the most elemental of human needs, by producing food to eat, fibers to wear and materials for building products and structures.
After passing with big majority in both of the house and senate in Oregon, and now signing by the state;s chief executive, Oregon has declared an independence from a smothering federal policy on industrial hemp. Oregon freedom fighter Sen. Floyd Prozanski was the sponsor of state Senate Bill 676. The state senator has sponsored similar bills going back to 1997. Prozanski commented,
- “By passing SB 676 with strong bi-partisan support, the Oregon Legislature has taken a proactive position to allow its farmers the right to grow industrial hemp, to provide American manufacturers with domestically-grown hemp, and to profit from that effort. I am glad that Oregon has joined the list of states that have agreed that American farmers should have the right to re-introduce industrial hemp as an agricultural crop.”
Unlike its pioneering bottle bill, Oregon was not the first state to free the production and use of hemp. Over a half dozen other American states now allow use of hemp for for fiber, food and fuel. The actual senate bill language hints at some of these productive uses:
- Whereas industrial hemp is used for products such as building materials, cloth, cordage, fiber, food, floor coverings, fuel, industrial chemicals, paint, paper, particle board, plastics, seed meal, seed oil and yarn;
Oregon’s law is different from most of the new state laws freeing up the farming of hemp in that it does not require a permit from the DEA. This unreasonable requirement by most of the states is a non-starter as the DEA would never grant such a permit. Oregon is also the first western state to begin to free this resource from the federal DEA bureaucracy. The Beaver State is first in the west only because California governor Arnold Swartzenegger twice vetoed hemp freedom legislation that had passed California’s legislature.
The change in Oregon law, however, does nothing to change the asinine and cruel federal designation of cannabis sativa as a Schedule I drug with draconian restrictions on its cultivation. In the eyes of the DEA, it may be a capital crime to grow a field of hemp. Although hemp has very few of the cannabinoids that give other forms of cannabis their mild psychoactivity, the DEA could still persecute any large hemp grow as a grave federal crime. Just how hemp agriculture will get underway in Oregon (and other states) is unclear.
- Any Oregon farmer brave enough to exercise his new state’s right to grow a hemp crop could be fairly certain he or she would be inviting a raid by dozens of armed, armored, jack-booted and masked government goons. Arrest at gunpoint while sprawled on the ground would quickly follow, then land forfeiture, months of prosecution and perhaps years of imprisonment.
A solution to the increasingly assertive voice of the American people demanding change on cannabis/hemp issues, changed gained through state initiatives or legislation, is to reschedule cannabis sativa. Changing it from Schedule I down to Schedule V would avoid catastrophic raids and persecutions. Americans could regain the productive resources from hemp, and curative medicines from cannabis, that they enjoyed a century ago.
In any case, Oregon’s actions help unleash Oregonian entrepreneurs wishing to develop hemp crops and products from their choke-hold by federal bureaucrats. Oregon’s governor and legislators, especially Senator Floyd Prozanski, deserve thanks and praises for this liberating legislation. Hopefully, federal changes will allow Oregonians to use hemp to provide people with food, clothing, shelter and fuel.