Laws

Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) on April 2, 2009.[1]

Also known as H.R.1866, the bill clarifies the differences between marijuana and industrial hemp as well as repeals federal laws that prohibit cultivation of industrial, but only for research facilities of higher education from conducting research. Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fibers varieties of the cannabis sativa plant.[2] Hemp is a sustainable resource that can be used to create thousands of different products including fuel, fabrics, paper, household products, and food and has been used for hundreds of centuries by civilizations around the world. If H.R.1866 passes American farmers will be permitted to compete in global hemp markets. On March 10, 2009, both Paul and Frank wrote a letter to their Congressional colleagues urging them to support the legislation.[3][4] This bill was previously introduced in 2005 under the title of Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005.

The 2014 Farm Bill and industrial hemp

The 2014 Farm Bill included a section codified at 7 U.S.C. § 5940 that allows industrial hemp to be grown under certain circumstances.

Specifically, industrial hemp can be grown in a state if:

  • It is grown for research purposes
  • The research is conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research
  • State law permits the growth of industrial hemp

The federal law only permits hemp to be grown, cultivated, studied, and marketed under the guidance of institutions of higher education located in the state or the state department of agriculture. Furthermore, the state must certify and register the sites permitted to grow industrial hemp because any substance containing THC is a Schedule I controlled substance under 21 U.S.C. § 812 (c). This means that without a license issued by a state that allows industrial hemp to be grown for research, someone in possession of the plant would be violating federal drug law.

It is also important to note that under the federal law, “industrial hemp” is defined as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. Any concentration over that amount is not legal. Even those plants with a THC concentration less than or equal to 0.3 percent are illegal unless the grower has a state license.