Among the first petitions to be added to the White House’s “We The People” petition platform was one asking President Trump to support the passage of legislation currently in Congress that would allow Americans to grow industrial hemp, which was once a dominant crop in the United States. By Saturday evening after the inauguration, the petition with the following text, had racked up over 7,000 signatures. It is currently at almost 30,000 signatures.
“Industrial hemp was once a dominant crop on the American landscape. This hardy and renewable resource was refined for various industrial applications, including paper, textiles, and cordage. Unfortunately hemp was conflated with marijuana but hemp can’t be used as a drug.
“Over time, the use of industrial hemp has evolved into an even greater variety of products, including health foods, body care, clothing, auto parts, construction materials, biofuels, plastic composites and more.
“Farmers in Europe, Canada and China all grow hemp and over $600 million in imported hemp products were sold in the USA in 2016. Congress has 2 bipartisan bills which would bring back hemp farming and create rural jobs. We request that President Trump work with Congress to pass hemp legislation in 2017.”
Inquisitr reported on industrial hemp last May after it was made clear that Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic candidate for president, was supportive of bringing back industrial hemp. As Kentucky prepared for its Democratic nominating elections, Inquisitr reported that hemp was once a major crop for the state of Kentucky. Kentucky was the nation’s leader in hemp production, but federal legislation passed in 1938 lumped hemp with marijuana. The legislation banned all cannabis production in the U.S., including hemp, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
At that time, Mike Sullivan, who was one of only a handful of legally recognized hemp farmers told Washington Times of the benefits of growing hemp as a cash crop. He claimed that hemp uses one-third of the water that the same amount of corn uses and is particularly easy to produce.
“It basically grew itself for two months,” Sullivan said.
Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin told the LA Times last year that hemp requires half the water of wheat and provides four times the income. Only designated farmers in a handful of states are permitted to grow hemp, but only as a research crop, in accordance with the Farm Bill and state law, Hemp Inc. reported.
Industrial hemp can be used to make approximately 25,000 products, including fabrics, textiles, construction materials, insulation, auto parts, industrial oils, cosmetics, personal care items, foods, and pharmaceuticals. Americans import hemp products from China, Russia, South Korea and other nations. Most of Canada’s hemp exports are delivered right to the United States.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture says that the United States is “the only industrialized nation that does not allow industrial hemp production.”
Last May, hemp was planted for the first time in several decades at Ashland, the 19th-century plantation of Kentucky statesman Henry Clay, in the central Bluegrass region of the state. In Europe and Russia, hemp has been used to restore reclaimed land and remove heavy metals from the soil so that it becomes safer for other crops, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
Industrial hemp proponents will be watching the development of both the legislation and the petition to the White House to learn whether or not Americans will be able to cash in on one of its historic cash crops under a Trump presidency.
Inquisitr wants to know what you think. Would you ever support legislation that allowed for the legalization of industrial hemp? Do you think that the White House should take immediate action on this subject? Please let us know how you feel about industrial hemp as a cash crop in the comments area below!
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