DOJ Statement Opens Door to Industrial Hemp

September 26, 2013 in News by The Manimal

Source: The Epoch Times

In September the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would not challenge state laws regarding marijuana, but what about hemp? On Sept. 10, state officials said they believe the new policy may finally open the door for non-drug cannabis cultivation.

Until the 1950s, hemp was a leading U.S. crop, and many foresee a profitable return to American hemp farming. In July, the Congressional Research Service estimated a market potential of $500 million a year for domestic hemp production.

Colorado, North Dakota, Vermont, and other states have already put industrial hemp regulations in place. But farmers still need approval from the federal government to go forward.

According to Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, the DOJ’s new marijuana policy is a green light for his state’s industrial hemp law.

“The ruling the DOJ came out with pertains to states that have passed a regulatory framework pertaining to cannabis. We feel that that would include hemp as well,” Comer said at the press briefing.

Commissioner Comer and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will draft a letter to the DOJ at the behest of Kentucky’s industrial hemp commission. Their goal is to get a clear blessing from the Obama administration, or at least tacit consent.

“We intend to proceed with industrial hemp next year in 2014 growing season. We intend to try to get the processors to set up shop in our state and have the farmers plan on making preparations to grow hemp in 2014 unless the DOJ tells us otherwise,” Comer said.