On Wednesday, the South Carolina House gave final approval to a bill that authorizes the cultivation and production of industrial hemp within the state, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban.
Introduced by Sen. Kevin Bryant, along with cosponsors Sen. Lee Bright and Sen. Tom Davis, S.0839 passed by a 72-28 vote. The Senate previously passed by the bill a vote of 42-0, and it will now go to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk for a signature.
The bill reads, in part, “It is lawful for an individual to cultivate, produce, or otherwise grow industrial hemp in this State to be used for any lawful purpose, including, but not limited to, the manufacture of industrial hemp products, and scientific, agricultural, or other research related to other lawful applications for industrial hemp.”
Three states – Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – have already passed similar measures. Farmers in southeast Colorado began harvesting the plant in 2013, effectively nullifying federal restrictions. A similar bill passed the Tennessee legislature this year and awaits action from Gov. Haslam.
Experts suggest the U.S. market for hemp at 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. currently ranks as the world’s number one importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada serving as the top two exporters in the world.
During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, resulting in the famous campaign and government-produced film, “Hemp for Victory!”
But, since the enactment of the unconstitutional federal controlled-substances act in 1970, the Drug Enforcement Agency has prevented the production of hemp within the United States. Many hemp supporters say they think the DEA serves as an “attack dog” of sorts to thwart hemp competition with major industries including cotton, paper/lumber, oil, and others.
This year, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, including a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The new “hemp amendment”
…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.
S.0839 now moves on to Gov. Haley’s desk for a signature.
The Tenth Amendment Center exists to promote and advance a return to a proper balance of power between federal and State governments envisioned by our founders, prescribed by the Constitution and explicitly declared in the Tenth Amendment. A national think tank based in Los Angeles, the Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect the principle of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism.