Maine Lawmaker Proposes Legalizing Industrial Hemp

March 28th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

Cindy Brown arrived at the legislative hearing with bag full of hemp products. She had hemp oil, hemp fabric, hemp soap, all kinds of hemp-like things. She told members of the Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation Committee that Maine could open up a whole new industry, if the state could free itself from the federal regulations that discourage industrial hemp cultivation.

“We don’t have to do it that way,” Brown said. “We are a free souvereign people. I believe that. I was raised an American, United State of – and I believe these things.”

So does state Rep. Lance Harvell, a Farmington Republican. Harvell is sponsoring a bill that would do away with a regulation that requires applicants for an initial industrial hemp license to submit fingerprints to the state. It would also repeal a state provision that requires federal approval for licenses to grow industrial hemp.

Harvell says there are thousands of acres in Maine that could be used to grow hemp and create new opportunities to manufacture products from the weed. The lawmaker says it’s one thing to lose U.S. manufacturing jobs to world markets because of cheap foreign labor, but it’s another to perpetuate outdated policies on hemp prohibition.

“But when you actually are putting in place a prohibition that is not even allowing your farmers to grow a product that has a variety of uses in the modern world – to me that’s a bit of a travesty,” Harvell said.

Proponents of Harvell’s bill say hemp was once

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