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Viability of Industrial Hemp

Industrial hemp is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, the same plant that marijuana is derived from. The two plants differ in that marijuana comes from the leaves and flowers. Industrial hemp is grown for use of the stalk and seeds. They also differ in levels of tetrahydrocannibinol, the chemical that is responsible for its psychoactive properties. Marijuana plants contain levels of 3-15% THC and plants grown for industrial hemp contain less than 1% of THC (Frohling and Staton 1997). Research has consistently shown that the low THC level in hemp plants is not capable of producing the psychoactive effects that marijuana plants do (Hawaii House of Representatives). Three main raw materials may be produced from industrial hemp plants: bast fiber, hurds and seeds. Industrial hemp is a very versatile product; it produces textiles, rope, cellulose plastics, resins, particleboard, paper products and oil. It is one of the strongest natural fibers, is a high quality absorbent and is recyclable. All hemp-based products are biodegradable. Hemp seeds contain 20-25% protein and are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and vitamin A. Hemp seed oil is high in essential fatty acids (EFAs) that help lower cholesterol levels. It is used in various foods and to make non-dairy products. The oil is also used for cosmetics, paints and varnishes, inks, and when combined with 15% methanol a substitute for diesel fuel is produced that burns 70% cleaner than petroleum diesel (Hawaii House of Representatives). See Appendix A for a report from the National Conference of State Legislatures on the utility of hemp.

The pursuit and success rate of pro-industrial hemp legislation in the United States since 1995 has dramatically increased. In 1995, there was only one state to introduce legislation, which did not pass; while in 1999 a total of nine states have passed legislation for research, study or production of the crop. States to pass legislation in 1999 are: Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Virginia. The state that has taken hemp the farthest is North Dakota. On April 19, 1999 it passed the first bill in the United States that legalized hemp for commercial farming. In addition, seven states introduced legislation that did not pass in 1999. These are: Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin. Therefore, a total of sixteen states introduced legislation in 1999, representing over a third of all U.S. states. Strong pro-industrial hemp constituencies are also located in: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Pennsylvania. See Appendix B for a listing of recent legislation.


Frohling, Robert E. and Staton, Eric C. 1997. "Industrial Hemp: Fertile Dream or Legal Nightmare?" NCSL LegisBrief. (Denver, CO: National Conference of State Legislatures.)

Hawaii House of Representatives. Industrial Hemp [Cannabis Sativa]- Economic Viability and Political Concerns. State of Hawaii. (Honolulu, HI) www.gametec.com/hemp/hawaii.rpt.html



Compiled by Kasea Hill, Nathan Boshard-Blackey, and Jim Simson on April 3, 2000




The following lists of agricultural opportunities, economic opportunities, economic barriers and legal barriers are from the National Conference of State Legislatures brief entitled "Industrial Hemp: Fertile Dream or Legal Nightmare" and can be found at www.ncsl.org/legis/LBRIEFS/legis52.htm.

Agricultural Opportunities

Economic Opportunities

Legal Barriers

Economic Barriers



APPENDIX B: Recent State Legislation

This hemp status report was prepared by Peter A. Nelson and is copyright to Agro-Tech Communications of Memphis, Tennessee. http://www.agrotechfiber.com. 1999, Agro-Tech Communications, Memphis, Tennessee


Senator James Scott

Senate Resolution 13

On March 25, 1999 Senate Resolution 13 passed after it's third reading. This Resolution calls for the University of Arkansas to study the potential uses of Industrial Hemp and Kenaf. The Division of Agriculture will conduct studies regarding the uses and economic benefits of Industrial Hemp to determine the feasibility of growing hemp as an alternative and profitable crop in Arkansas. The studies will include an analysis of required soils and growing conditions, seed availability, harvest methods and environmental benefits. The Division of Agriculture will report its finding to the House and Senate Interim Committees on Agriculture and Economic Development no later than December 31, 2000.


Assembly Member Strom-Martin

House Resolution 32

On September 10, 1999 House Resolution 32 passed with 41 Ayes and 30 Noes. It was resolved that the Assembly found and declared that industrial hemp is a vital sustainable, renewable resource for building materials, cloth, cordage, fiber, food, fuel, industrial chemicals, oil, paint, paper, plastics, seed, yarn, and many other useful products. It was further resolved that the Assembly found and declared that the domestic production of industrial hemp can help protect California's environment, contribute to the growth of the state economy, and be regulated in a manner that will not interfere with the enforcement of marijuana laws. It was further resolved that the Assembly found and declared that the Legislature should consider action to revise the legal status of industrial hemp to allow for its growth in California as an agricultural and industrial crop. And further resolved that the Assembly found and declared that the Legislature should consider directing the University of California, the California State University, and other state agencies to prepare studies in conjunction with private industry on the cultivation, processing, and marketing of industrial hemp. This action follows the California Democratic Party formal endorsement of a resolution supporting the development of an industrial hemp industry in California which they passed in April of 1999. In June of 1999, a resolution was proposed for adoption by California County & State Farm Bureau Federations. This resolution calls for the State of California to fund research, experimentation and development of Industrial Hemp for agricultural and industrial purposes. This work is to be conducted by the Universities of California, the California State Colleges and Universities, and other public and private companies, agencies and institutions. The resolution also calls for the (ABC) County Farm Bureau Federation to fully endorse the reintroduction of Industrial Hemp, and strongly recommend that laws be adopted by the State of California to permit the cultivation and harvesting of Industrial Hemp as a commercial crop, under the control and regulation of the California State Department of Food and Agriculture.


Colorado was the first state to introduce industrial hemp legislation. Bills were introduced in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Although no legislation has passed, Colorado's leadership has helped other states support US industrial hemp development.


Representative Cynthia Thielen

On April 8, 1999 two industrial hemp resolutions passed their final House Committee. House Resolution 122/Hr109 requests that the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service recommends the use of industrial hemp erosion control mats wherever feasible. This resolution now goes to the Senate for consideration. Resolution 123/HR110 requests that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEB&T) examine the feasibility of growing industrial hemp in Hawaii for Biomass Energy Production. The DBED&T are supportive of the resolution and will complete the study regardless of further Senate action.

Representative Cynthia Thielen, HB32

The Hawaii Strategic Industrial Hemp Development Act of 1999 requires the University of Hawaii at Hilo to study the feasibility and desirability of industrial hemp production in Hawaii. This bill defines "industrial hemp" and authorizes the State to allow privately funded industrial hemp research to be conducted in Hawaii. This action is pending a controlled substance registration from the State Department and a federal substance registration from the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. On May 4, 1999, House Bill 32 passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate vote was 13 to 11 and all house members, except 3, voted in favor of the legislation. Governor Cayetano was supportive of the legislation and signed the bill into law on June 7, 1999. This bill utilizes a strategy introduced in Tennessee in 1998 with the Tennessee Strategic Industrial Hemp Seed Development Act of 1998 which was introduced by Representative Kathryn Bowers. This legislation is designed to utilize private funds from interested corporations in developing research programs at the state-university. The bill specifies that all agronomic data derived from research under this bill be deemed to be proprietary in nature and not subject to disclosure pursuant to the uniform information practices act. The private industry participant in the trials is expected to be Alterna Applied Research Laboratories, a California based salon products manufacturer. Unconventional in its approach, Alterna consistently sets new standards in the beauty industry in the fields of advanced formulation and product performance. The first professional hair

Company to harness the power of nutrient-rich hemp seed oil in January of 1997, Alterna continually redefines itself as an industry innovator. The field trials scheduled in Hawaii will be conducted at the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management that is part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. It is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, the largest island in the Hawaiian Archipelago. The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management opened its doors in the Fall of 1975 with the main objective of preparing students with a broad and full understanding of basic factors involved in production, management, processing, distribution, marketing, sales, and services in the field of agricultural sciences including, agribusiness, animal sciences, aquaculture, agro-ecology & environmental science, crop protection, forestry, pre-veterinary medicine, sustainable agriculture, tissue culture and tropic horticulture. The College of Agriculture has approximately 130 students and 11 full-time faculty.


Idaho Farm Bureau Supports Industrial Hemp

On December 30, 1998 in Idaho Falls, Idaho the Idaho Farm Bureau supported the development of a US industrial hemp industry. The state group voted to adopt policy #120 which states "We encourage the legalization of cultivation and production of industrial grade hemp."


Senate Resolution 49 & House Resolution 168

Illinois Senate Resolution 49 and House Resolution 168 were passed into law at the end of March 1999. These resolutions create the Industrial Hemp Investigative and Advisory Task Force consisting of the Director of Agriculture or a designee and 12 committee members. Six members for this task force are chosen by the President of the Senate and six members are chosen by the Minority Leader of the Senate. The members of the Industrial Hemp Investigative and Advisory Task Force should represent expertise in the fields of plant science, food processing science, law enforcement, herbology, manufacturing and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association. The members of this task force will serve without compensation.


House File 320

Representative Cecelia Burnett

Iowa's House File 320 by Representative Cecelia Burnett allows for research into industrial hemp production at Iowa State University. The bill states, "The general assembly finds that there is a trend among states to consider the economic importance of industrial hemp which is a major crop in other nations... The purpose of this Act is to promote the economy of this state by providing for research necessary to develop industrial hemp as a viable crop. Although the bill is still alive in committee it will not pass in 1999. The bill will be carried over to the 2000 legislative sessions. You can email Iowa State Representative Cecelia Burnett at cecelia_burnett@legis.state.ia.us. The 1999 legislation was rolled into the 2000 session without passing.


Kansas legislators have introduced legislation in 1997 and in 1998. There is a strong constituency of industrial hemp advocates in the state.


The Fayette County Farm Bureau of Lexington, Kentucky passed a resolution supporting industrial hemp in October of 1999. Actor, Woody Harrelson currently has a case before the Kentucky Supreme Court defining whether laws against marijuana in Kentucky are overly broad by including industrial hemp. On July 7, 1998 the Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative Association released a landmark study in conjunction with the University of Kentucky. This study analyzed the economic potential for industrial hemp in Kentucky. The report, by the school's Center for Business and Economic Research said that cultivating and processing industrial hemp in Kentucky would bring the state up to 771 new jobs and $17.6 million in worker earnings in the current market. The Kentucky Hemp Growers Cooperative provided a public forum for legislators and all Kentucky leaders to become more informed on industrial hemp at their annual meeting in Lexington, Kentucky on June 26, 1999. Special guests included Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop; Jean Laprise, founder of one of Canada's largest industrial hemp growing and processing companies, Kenex Ltd., Pam Miller the Mayor of Lexington, Dr. Carl Webster of Kentucky State University and Dennis Crone a textile and agricultural fiber specialist.


House Bill 374 Agriculture - Commercial Use of Industrial Hemp Act

Delegate Clarence Davis

Maryland's 1999 Commercial Use of Industrial Hemp Act authorizes the growth, maintenance, manufacture, and the regeneration of seed for the growth of industrial hemp. The bill requires the Secretary of Agriculture to develop criteria for issuing a license to engage in the commercial use of industrial hemp. This bill, introduced by Maryland Delegate Clarence Davis, received an unfavorable report from the Environmental Matters committee on March 15, 1999. The bill has not had any further action as of late April 1999.


House File 64 moved to House File 1238

Representative Kahn moved to Representative Steve Dayler

On September 30, 1999 in St. Paul, MN, Governor Ventura announced that an informational seminar would be held on November 19, 1999, to teach individual farmers how to apply for a permit to grow industrial hemp. The informational seminar is in response to legislation passed by the 1999 Minnesota Legislature requiring the state to apply by September 30 for a federal permit to grow industrial hemp. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently informed Minnesota officials that a state cannot apply for a general blanket permit. Rather, individual farmers must apply directly to the DEA and the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy for a permit to grow experimental plots of industrial hemp. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioners Gene Hugoson and Trade and Economic Development Commissioner Jerry Carlson will co-host the November 19 seminar, giving farmers tips on how to apply for the federal and state permits they will need to grow experimental plots. They will also discuss any special conditions DEA has set for lawful cultivation of the crop. On June 4, 1999 the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill paving the way for growing experimental and demonstration plots of industrial hemp in the state, according to State Representative Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis). Rep.Kahn was chief author of the language that was incorporated in the House Omnibus State Government Finance Bill. Governor Jesse Ventura signed this law into order on May 25, 1999. Under the new law, "by Sept. 30, 1999, the governor, in consultation with the commissioners of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Economic Development will submit an application for federal permits, as may be needed to authorize the growing of experimental and demonstration plots of industrial hemp, by Sept. 30, 1999. The governor shall also direct the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and other appropriate commissioners, to establish standards and forms for persons wishing to register for growing experimental and demonstration plots of industrial hemp."


The Missouri legislature considered an industrial hemp bill in 1996, 1997 and briefly in 1998. In what was virtually a one family effort, Boyd and Stacie Vancil arranged for Representative and Senate sponsorship, helped draft legislation and received backing from the Missouri Farm Bureau. The Missouri campaign matured over 1996 and 1997. Missouri quickly became the national focus for industrial hemp policy. Unfortunately, Missouri legislators were targeted by industrial hemp opponents and the pressure on the state became too much. Missouri continues to be a projected area for large-scale industrial hemp operations as federal law shifts and more states become involved. Business developments with industrial hemp in the region continue to expand.


House Resolution 2

Primary Sponsor: Joan Hurdle

Montana House Resolution 2 of the House of Representatives of the State of Montana requests that the federal government repeal restrictions on the production of industrial hemp as an agricultural and industrial product. The bill states "Whereas, it is a current major economic goal to diversify the agriculture of Montana; and Whereas, in over 30 countries,...,existing international treaties provide for the agricultural production and sale of industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural product; and Whereas, current federal policy is inconsistent with international agricultural policy and places an unnecessary financial restriction on the Montana agricultural community. Now therefore, be it resolved that the House of Representatives of the State of Montana urge the federal government to repeal restrictions on the production of industrial hemp as an agricultural and industrial product." This resolution is now law in the State of Montana. The House Ag Committee passed this resolution 19-0 and the House Floor passed it 95-4.



House Bill 239

Sponsored by: Derek Owens, David Babson, Peter Leishman, Irene Messier

and Amy Robb-Theroux

This bill permits the production of industrial hemp in New Hampshire. A person or business entity wishing to grow and produce industrial hemp must be licensed by the commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food. The commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food will be the sole source and supplier of seed for use in industrial hemp production.

The commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food shall charge a fee for each license granted to industrial hemp growers. The revenue from these fees is to be used to defray the costs of licensing and regulating industrial hemp growers and to fund a research program on industrial hemp production to be conducted by the University of New Hampshire. The bill grants the commissioner of agriculture, markets, and food rulemaking authority with respect to licensing and inspection of industrial hemp growers.

The 1999 legislation is still in the works! It passed a vote by the Environment and Agriculture committee in October (although it did not get an "ought to pass" recommendation by the committee) and the bill will come to the full House floor in January.


House Bill 104

Representative Pauline K. Gubbels

New Mexico House Bill 104 makes an appropriation of Fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for the study of industrial hemp as a commercial crop in the state. These funds are to be provided from the general fund to the board of regents of New Mexico state university for expenditure in fiscal years 2000 and 2001 for the purpose of the New Mexico department of agriculture conducting a study of the feasibility of growing industrial hemp as a commercial crop. The New Mexico department of agriculture shall report its findings to the appropriate committee during the second session of the forty-fourth legislature and first session of the forty-fifth legislature. Any unexpended or unencumbered balance remaining at the end of fiscal year 2001 shall revert to the general fund. This bill is law in New Mexico.


House Bill 1428

Rep. Monson, D.Johnson, Nowatzki, Sen. Heitkamp

On Saturday, April 17, 1999 North Dakota's Governor Schafer signed HB 1428 legalizing industrial hemp by decreeing, "any person in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell, and buy industrial hemp."

On April 12, 1999 North Dakota's Senate passed industrial hemp bill HB1428 by a landslide vote of 44-3. The week before, the House passed the bill by 86-7. The Commissioner of Agriculture will now be developing regulations needed to implement the law which allows North Dakota farmers to legally grow industrial hemp.

The full text of the law is located at:


For further information contact: Gov. Ed Schafer (701) 328-2200


House Bill 2933

Representative Prozanski

Oregon's House Bill 2933 designates definitions for industrial hemp and permits growing the crop in Oregon. On April 22, 1999 a public hearing was held on this bill. Prozanski said that seven of the nine members of the House Agriculture and Forestry Committee - including Chairman Larry Wells, R-Jefferson - had told him they were willing to send the bill out for a floor vote. But House Speaker Lynn Snodgrass told Wells not to take up the bill again. Wells, reached Thursday evening, agreed that Prozanski probably had the votes to send the bill to the floor. But, he said, he had previously assured Snodgrass he would hold just the one informational hearing on the bill, and wouldn't bring it up for a committee vote unless she approved. Snodgrass, R-Boring, could not be reached for comment Thursday evening. But Prozanski released copies of a handwritten note, written on the speaker's official letterhead, that he said Snodgrass sent to him Wednesday. The note reads, in part: "I fall back on my original feelings, am not persuaded to have the bill move forward at this time. I spoke with other members of the committee prior to making this decision." It concludes: "Keep educating the public. Perhaps future sessions are possible." Despite this motion, Prozanski's bill may not be completely kaput. Measures that pass one chamber can still be amended in the other, and proposals long since given up for dead have been known to reappear in the waning days of the session.


On April 16, 1999 the forming meeting for the Pennsylvania Hemp Growers and Processor Cooperative was held in New Holland. Recently the Lancaster county's farm bureau passed a resolution to investigate the commercial potential for industrial hemp. Lancaster County Farm Bureau President, Jane Palmer said "With sinking prices for corn, soybeans and tobacco, the time is ripe for farmers to consider planting alternative crops."


In the 1999, TITLE 47, Weights and measures for the State of Rhode Island the state promotes legal status to industrial hemp by treating the crop as a commodity. In Section 47-4-2 of Standard Measures the following is stated: 47-4-2 Weights of bushels, barrels, and tons of specific commodities. – The legal weights of certain commodities in the state of Rhode Island shall be as follows: (21) A bushel of hemp shall weigh forty-four pounds (44 lbs.).



House Bill 864

Tennessee Strategic Industrial Hemp Seed Development Act

Representative Kathryn I. Bowers

The 1999 Strategic Industrial Hemp Seed Development Act would authorize agribusiness located in Tennessee to develop industrial hemp seed varieties suitable for propagation in the United States. The bill would also, subject to the approval of the commissioner of agriculture, all import of industrial hemp seed agribusiness facility. Industrial hemp is Cannabis sativa L. with a THC concentration of 1 percent or less on a dry weight basis that meets European and Canadian standards. This bill would authorize the commissioner to promulgate rules controlling the development and importation of seed. This bill is designed to work with the federal government as Federal rules are drafted over the next several years. This bill sets the groundwork for the development of agribusiness incentives for genetic research conducted in Tennessee with industrial hemp. Varieties to be developed under this act include varieties suitable to all United States regions for fiber and oil production and for international export. Tennessee House Bill 864 will be rolled into the 2000 legislative sessions as Tennessee legislator look for federal government guidance in laying out appropriate industry guidelines.

For more information concerning the 1999 Tennessee Strategic Industrial Hemp Seed Development Act, contact Peter Nelson of Agro-Tech Communications at fiber@netten.net or http://www.agrotechfiber.com.


Senate Bill 11

Agriculture - Industrial Hemp

Senator Ready

This bill proposes to permit the development in Vermont of an industrial hemp industry and assure that production of industrial hemp is in compliance with state and federal laws and United States' obligations under international treaties, conventions, and protocols. Although this bill did not pass, Vermont has passed legislation in previous years that call for university study of economic and market potential of the crop.



House Joint Resolution 94

Industrial Hemp

Patrons-- Van Yahres, Bloxom, Murphy and Wardrup; Senators: Whipple and

Woods , Mitchell Van Yahres

Summary as passed House:

Industrial hemp. Memorializes the Secretary of Agriculture, the Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to permit the controlled, experimental cultivation of industrial hemp in Virginia. Industrial hemp is seen increasingly as a potentially valuable alternative crop for farmers in Virginia, but current federal regulations make even the experimental cultivation of industrial hemp effectively impossible. The Commonwealth is also authorized to become a member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council.


Assembly Joint Resolution 49

Wisconsin AJR 49 requests that the Congress of the United States acknowledge the difference between the marijuana plant and the agricultural crop known as industrial hemp. On May 6, 1999 a public hearing was held. Wisconsin is the home of the North American Industrial Hemp Council, as well as a strong coalition of industrial hemp advocates. The Wisconsin Initiative for Industrial Hemp is endorsed by the Wisconsin National Farmers Organization, Wisconsin Agribusiness Council, Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, Wisconsin Farmers Union and the Wisconsin Fertilizer and Chemical Association.





APPENDIX C: Estimates of Net Returns Per Acre for Kentucky Crops


Estimates of Net Returns Per Acre for Kentucky Crops

Processing Tomatoes $ 775.0
High Fiber Hemp* $ 500.0
Low Fiber Hemp** $ 200.0
Wheat and Soybeans $ 175.0
Soybeans $ 100.0
Hay/Silage $ 100.0
Corn $ 75.0

* High fiber hemp is grown more for its fiber.

**Low fiber hemp is grown more for its seeds and hurds than its fiber.

Source: Report to the (Kentucky) Governor's Hemp and Related Fiber Corp.