Senator Rand Paul (R.-Ky.) is currently working to do away with Federal laws that classify industrial hemp in the same way as marijuana, a move that he says would have lasting economic benefits.
Currently, the Federal government effectively prohibits production of the non-hallucinogenic plant that can be used to make products including twine, paper and clothing. Even though 27 States have made some moves to facilitate hemp production, farmers who grow the plants still risk Federal raids.
“The rest of the world can grow hemp and we’re not, so we’re losing out on that product,” Paul said. “You know our farmers are one of the greatest parts of our economy. We do things very well in agriculture. If we would legalize hemp I think we would be one of the leaders of the world. I think we have a chance of passing it.”
Paul presented legislation in the Senate last month — similar to a House bill proposed by his father Ron — that would make it legal for farmers to grow industrial hemp crops.
Hemp advocates contend that by allowing hemp farming, the $400 million industry would lead to “instant job creation.” Pointing out that hemp is widely used in the manufacture of clothing, it was noted recently that President Barack Obama is raising campaign funds by selling a Monique Péan scarf on his website made of 45 percent cotton and 55 percent hemp. The hemp is imported from China.