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Nullify Federal Ban on Hemp Farming

Washington Bill Would Start to Nullify Federal Ban on Hemp Farming

OLYMPIA, Wa. A bill prefiled in the Washington State senate this week would authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same once put into effect.

Senate Bill 5012 (SB5012) was prefiled for introduction during next year’s legislative session on Dec. 15. It is co-sponsored by State Sens. Brian Hatfield (D-District 19) and Jim Honeyford (R-District 15) and would open up the industrial hemp market in Washington state if successfully passed.

SB5012 states unequivocally that “industrial hemp is an agricultural product that may be grown, produced, possessed, and commercially traded in the state.” This opens the door for an industrial hemp market to potentially spring up immediately after SB5012 becomes law.

In addition, SB5012 authorizes research into the viability of industrial hemp as well. The bill states that “Washington State University shall study the feasibility and desirability of industrial hemp production in Washington” and “shall gather information from agricultural and scientific literature, consult with experts and the public, and review the best practices of other states and countries worldwide regarding the development of markets for industrial hemp and hemp products.”

Washington has the opportunity to join five other states – Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont – that have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on such agricultural activities.

Experts suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is around $500 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.

Read More: Federal Ban on Hemp Farming 

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