Last week, the North Dakota House voted 87-5 to legalize hemp farming in the state.
Hemp, is a variety of the Cannabis plant. It can be used to produce many products, including fiber, oil, and seed. It is believed that the production of hemp in the United States will produce hundreds of new products, will create a $500 million industry, and will serve as an effective rotational crop for farmers. Hemp was a very common alternative crop for thousands of hears before the 1960’s.
However, in the United States, hemp is illegal.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]I do find it very ironic that the same house that overwhelming voted to allow hemp farming had just a week earlier voted down HB1430, the medical marijuana bill.[/mks_pullquote]
Please keep in mind hemp is not a drug. If you try to smoke it, you will die from smoke inhalation before you get high. If you try to grow marijuana in a hemp field, the crops will cross pollinate and ruin your marijuana. However, hemp is considered a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. The same Controlled Substances Act that makes marijuana a Schedule 1 narcotic makes it impossible for hemp to be harvested for any reason.
It is obvious to anybody with any sort of an open mind that like marijuana, hemp is not illegal for scientific reasons, but rather because of really dumb laws passed by lawmakers for despicable reasons.
North Dakota has joined Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont in legalizing hemp farming and production. Last year, farmers in Colorado and Vermont produced the first hemp crops in more than a half century.
I would like to applaud the House for standing up to the federal government on this issue, and I hope as more and more states challenge the federal government Congress will amend the Controlled Substance Act and remove all cannabis from it.
However, I do find it very ironic that the same house that overwhelming voted to allow hemp farming had just a week earlier voted down HB1430, the medical marijuana bill.
The floor debate on this issue was very fascinating. Rep. Robin Weisz (R- Hurdsfield) admitted that if he had a family member who was in need of medical marijuana he “would be in front of the committee” supporting the legalization of medical marijuana. However, he claimed that he needed to “look at what was best for the state” (apparently those who are not in need of medical marijuana and whom the bill does not apply) and oppose it.
Also during the floor debate, Rep. Dwight Keifert (R-Valley City) stood to say that nobody had said that the legal drug would help them, only that it “may” help them. Keifert, who is becoming infamous for his inflammatory comments on school shootings and blatant Islamophobia , ignored two very important facts. First off, the drug is currently illegal, and those who are using it for medical reasons are breaking the law. People who are breaking this law are not likely going to appear before your hearing Mr. Keifert
At the end of the day, the House got it right on Hemp and wrong on medical marijuana. The inclusion of cannabis in the Controlled Substance Act is a national embarrassment. Freedom loving people should support the farming and producing of hemp, the development of medical uses for marijuana, and the decriminalization and legalization of recreational marijuana.
At least North Dakota seems ready to do one of those three. I guess that is a step in the right direction.