I have introduced the following bill to authorize the growth, production and sale of industrial hemp in Maryland. I believe that the economic benefits of industrial hemp will be a viable option for Maryland farmers as a cash crop.
HB 1010- Production and Sale of Industrial Hemp- This bill is modeled after the Tenth Amendment Center’s “Hemp Freedom Act”. This bill would nullify the Unconstitutional Federal prohibition on Industrial Hemp, and potentially opening up an economic boon to Maryland by authorizing a person to plant, grow, harvest, process, possess, sell, and buy industrial hemp in the State. The bill prohibits the State of Maryland to utilize agents or resources to aid any Federal punitive or legal action against any farmer who grows industrial hemp as a crop.This Bill has the support of The Maryland Farm Bureau and the Farm Bureau of Anne Arundel County.
HB 1010 has a hearing scheduled on Wednesday, Feb 19 at 1pm in the Environmental Matters Committee.
What is Industrial Hemp?
Industrial hemp is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, the same plant that marijuana is derived from. The two plants differ in that marijuana comes from the leaves and flowers of the female plant whereas, Industrial hemp come from the male plant and is grown for industrial use of the stalk and seeds primarily. They also differ in levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, (THC) the chemical that is responsible for its psychoactive properties. Marijuana plants contain levels of 3-15% THC and male plants grown for industrial hemp contain less than 1% of THC. Research has consistently shown that the low THC level in hemp plants is not capable of producing the psychoactive effects that true marijuana plants do
The plant serves as a good rotation crop—choking out weeds and surviving without the aid of polluting pesticides, while taking no more nutrients from the soil than a corn crop. The mature plant’s strength makes it impervious to storm damage. All parts of hemp (fiber, hurds and seeds) are economically important. Hemp can be grown in many climates and under many conditions. It is reported that Hemp is a great rotational crop with Soy and Corn. Given the corn and soy production of Maryland and specifically the eastern shore, Industrial Hemp is a natural for Maryland farmers.
The Washington Times reported this month the potential of a $500 million industry in American Hemp production.
Many American industries, including those in textiles, foods, oil and building materials, have shown a growing interest in hemp. American clothing Manufacturers grossed about $5 million in 1991 and $50 million in 1995 on hemp products. The proposed state research projects as well as the new technology and machinery needed for a developing hemp industry will provide new jobs. Import costs for American industries using hemp, currently estimated at $120 million, and would drop considerably if it could be produced domestically.
U.S. Congress – The 2014 Farm Bill that just passed Congress, included an amendment that relaxed a 75-year old restriction on growing and researching industrial hemp. The amendment clearly defines Industrial Hemp separate and apart from marijuana.
NCSL – The National Conference of State Legislatures in 2000 adopted a policy on Industrial Hemp. That policy resulted in a letter to then President Bill Clinton Urging the USDA and the DEA to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana.
For further reading:
Who supports it?