On Monday, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill into law that authorizes the growing and production of industrial hemp within the state, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal ban on hemp cultivation.
The new law 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.”
Four states – Colorado, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont – have already passed similar measures. Farmers in southeast Colorado harvested their first hemp crop in 2013, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on these agricultural activities.
“The feds say no. They did it anyway,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said.
Experts estimate 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 acting as the top two exporters in the world.
During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted 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 feel that major industries use the DEA as an “attack dog” of sorts to prevent competition when American-grown hemp products would create serious market competition. These interests include cotton, paper/lumber, oil, and others.
This year, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included 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 went into effect upon the signature of Gov. Haley.
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.