Washington, D.C., June 7, 2016: Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), today introduced H Res. 774, a resolution recognizing June 6 to June 12 as Hemp History Week. The designation commemorates the historical relevance of industrial hemp in the United States and promotes the growth of the industrial hemp industry.
“Hemp played a critical role in the development of our nation,” Polis said. “It’s time that we recognize the cultural and economic importance of hemp; while realizing that it shouldn’t only be viewed as a product of the past, but a resource for the future.”
“Hemp played an important role throughout our history, and it plays an important role in our economy today,” said Blumenauer. “Hemp is everywhere—it’s in our food, textiles, clothes and more. It’s baffling that because of our outdated approach and War on Drugs mentality, American farmers can’t grow it. It’s time for change.”
“People have been using hemp for centuries to make paper, beauty products, food, and more,” said Bonamici. “During this Hemp History Week, we recognize the contributions of the farmers and researchers of hemp products and we must protect states—like Oregon—that have passed laws to support industrial hemp.”
Hemp is used in thousands of products throughout the world, but because it is classified as marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act – even though it is non-psychoactive and has no use as a recreational drug – its cultivation is prohibited in the United States. It is grown, however, in several states that have legalized marijuana.
In addition to this resolution recognizing ‘Hemp History Week’ in the House of Representatives, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), introduced a companion resolution in the Senate.
Polis, Wyden and Blumenauer are leading sponsors of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.R. 525 & S.134), which would lift the federal ban on hemp and leave the decision about whether to allow its cultivation up to each state. In 2014, Polis passed an amendment to the Farm Bill allowing universities and state agricultural departments to launch industrial hemp research programs. Colorado State University cultivated a crop of over 15 hemp varieties for the 2015 growing season and the State of Colorado issued over 200 hemp growing permits in 2015. In December 2015, Congress approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Massie prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering in state-legal industrial hemp research programs, and that amendment is now law.