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Jun-19-2009 15:47printcomments

Oregon Roadblocks to Growing Industrial Hemp Removed in Bipartisan Senate Vote

Senate Bill 676 clears the way for crop to be grown and sold in Oregon.

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(SALEM, Ore.) - In a bipartisan vote, the Oregon Senate voted to join 15 other states today by passing legislation that outlines state practices for the growth and sale of industrial hemp. SB 676 authorizes the production, possession and commerce in industrial hemp commodities and products.

“Senate Bill 676 will allow farmers to re-establish industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in Oregon,” said Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), who carried the bill on the floor. “Industrial hemp is an innovative crop that is regaining its popularity across the globe. This legislation sets the course for growing and selling this high-demand crop in Oregon.”

SB 676 identifies that industrial hemp is an agricultural product that is subject to regulation by the Department of Agriculture and requires that all growers and handlers have an industrial hemp license issued by the Department. Additionally, the Department will establish a field inspection program, a certifications process for hemp seed, and a civil penalty procedure for violations.

“We heard a lot of positive testimony on this bill in committee,” said Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland), chair of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. “Senate Bill 676 clears the way for this product to be added to Oregon’s diverse portfolio of agricultural products.”

The terms “hemp” and “industrial hemp” refer specifically to varieties of Cannabis sativa characterized by low levels of THC, marijuana’s primary psychoactive chemical. These strains are cultivated for industrial use only. Hemp fiber is amenable to use in a wide range of products including carpeting, home furnishings, construction materials, auto parts, textiles, and paper. Hemp seed, an oilseed, likewise has many uses, including industrial oils, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food.

Industrial hemp was grown in the United States since colonial times but was banned in 1970 when it was redefined as marijuana. Currently, manufacturers and producers must import hemp into the country since they cannot buy domestic hemp from American farmers.

SB 676 passed out of Full Ways and Means on a 19-3-0 vote and now goes to the House for consideration.

Source: Oregon Legislature

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Geoffrey Brockmeier August 6, 2009 12:35 pm (Pacific time)

Cannabis prohibtion began in 1937, not 1970.

LJ July 7, 2009 1:50 pm (Pacific time)

As a farmer I am delighted to hear the news! I look forward to seeing fields of hemp outside my door. Finally a crop that likes the high desert climate and will flourish! This is a great step in the right drection towards revitalizing Oregon's agriculture...kudos to the politicians for getting this one right!

bbugg June 30, 2009 3:08 pm (Pacific time)

The three people that voted against it might have been those that wanted cross pollination protection for Medical Marijuana crops to be included in the bill before it was passed.  While I am painfully aware of the mass perception of Medical Marijuana as a source of potential abuse, the plain and simple truth is that it is an effective and safe medication for a number of conditions ... under the right conditions.  High THC content and non-flowering plants are two of those conditions.  If hemp is grown near the field that grows my medicine, the hemp pollen will  negatively affect the quality of that medicine.  This is a concern.

And to those who will blow off this post as "stoner whining" - hopefully you will never have need of Medical Marijuana.  The conditions that qualify someone to be part of the program are serious, painful, and all too often, lethal.  May you be spared that.

Daniel June 21, 2009 8:21 pm (Pacific time)

The Oregon legislature also reduced Marijuana to a schedule 2 from one ! Good news all around .

Anonymous June 21, 2009 11:03 am (Pacific time)

Am I mistaken, or did 3 people actually vote against this measure? Sure would like to know who and ask them why

Anonymous June 21, 2009 10:45 am (Pacific time)

I will use this bill as a test. I will keep aware of it. If this bill does not pass, it will be obvious that we do not have a government supporting the people.

Ted K. June 20, 2009 11:26 am (Pacific time)

Gee whiz, it is about time! Instead of using food for fuel, let's get to work on developing hemp bio-mass.

gp June 20, 2009 10:03 am (Pacific time)

omg, it is just a f.....g weed! What is the problem here, a license???Give me a break...

Mike H. June 19, 2009 11:16 pm (Pacific time)

It took 39 years to figure this out? At least it happened. The first step to legalization.

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