Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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In June 2005, legislation that would open the way for commercial cultivation of industrial hemp in the United States was introduced at the federal level for the first time. H.R. 3037, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005, would amend Section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act 21 U.S.C. 80216 to specify that the term marijuana does not include industrial hemp. Such a change would mean that state law would determine whether producers could grow and process industrial hemp within state borders, under state regulations. Currently, the Drug Enforcement Administration DEA determines whether any industrial hemp production authorized under a state statute will be permitted, and it enforces standards governing the security conditions under which the crop must be grown. The terms hemp and industrial hemp refer to varieties of Cannabis sativa characterized by low levels of the primary psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC in their leaves and flowers. Although total industrial hemp acreage worldwide is small, farmers in more than 30 countries grow the crop commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food. Because of the psychoactive properties of some varieties of Cannabis which can grow virtually anywhere in the United States, the federal government first began to control production in the late 1930s under the Marihuana Tax Act 50 Stat. 551. In 1970, production of all varieties of Cannabis, regardless of THC content and intended use, became tightly regulated under the Controlled Substances Act 21 U.S.C. 802 et seq.. As a result, all hemp or hemp-containing products sold in the United States must now be imported or manufactured from imported hemp. In the early 1990s a sustained resurgence of interest in allowing commercial cultivation of industrial hemp began in the United States.
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