Hemp has long been praised for its high fiber content. It is commonly found in food, supplements and even used as a natural agent for killing weeds. Its uses are many, and an amendment has now been included to the 2012 Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act that will legalize the manufacture of hemp. This could potentially be a huge revenue wagon for American farmers.
Ron Wyden, an Oregon democrat senator, proposed the amendment to the bill, stating that it would allow farmers to grow hemp on their own land rather than having to import it from other countries.
A study done in the state of Kentucky found that farmers could earn as much as $605 for every acre of hemp produced. Currently, farmers only rake in about $200 in profit for an acre of corn after the cost of production has been factored in.
The legalization of hemp farming would also mean jobs for thousands of out-of-work Americans, according to Eric Steenstra, who runs the advocacy organization Vote Hemp.
The bill has yet to pass and is already seeing some stern opposition from conservative politicians who believe that it contains too many conditions and attachments that have no relation to farming and agriculture. If democrats and republicans cannot come to an agreement over the final draft of the bill, then it will most likely sit and die in the house.
Hemp is currently classified in the same category as marijuana, which makes its production on U.S. farmlands illegal. Gil Kerlikowski, the drug czar appointed by President Obama, described hemp as a “control substance.” The comments sent pro-hemp advocates in an uproar.
While hemp does contain small traces of Tetrahydrocannabinal, a substance that is also found in marijuana, the amount is almost negligible. So far, 17 other states are also in the process of getting industrial hemp legalized.