Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009

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The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009 is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) on April 2, 2009. Also known as H.R.1866, the bill clarifies the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana as well as repeals federal laws that prohibit American farmers from cultivating industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, oilseed and fibers varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp is a sustainable resource that can be used to create thousands of different products including fuel, fabrics, paper, household products, and food and has been used for hundreds of centuries by civilizations around the world. If H.R.1866 passes American farmers will be permitted to compete in global hemp markets. On March 10, 2009, both Paul and Frank wrote a letter to their Congressional colleagues urging them to support the legislation. This bill was previously introduced in 2005 under the title of Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005.

The bill

To amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009'. SEC. 2. EXCLUSION OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP FROM DEFINITION OF MARIHUANA.

Paragraph (16) of section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802(16)) is amended-- (1) by striking `(16)' at the beginning and inserting `(16)(A)'; and (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph: `(B) The term `marihuana' does not include industrial hemp. As used in the preceding sentence, the term `industrial hemp' means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that does not exceed 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.'. SEC. 3. INDUSTRIAL HEMP DETERMINATION TO BE MADE BY STATES.

Section 201 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 811) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: `(i) Industrial Hemp Determination To Be Made by States- In any criminal action, civil action, or administrative proceeding, a State regulating the growing and processing of industrial hemp under State law shall have exclusive authority to determine whether any such plant meets the concentration limitation set forth in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (16) of section 102 and such determination shall be conclusive and binding.'


The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is the beginning of constriction for the growth of marijuana in the United States. An extremely high tax was placed on marijuana; making it nearly impossible to grow industrial hemp. However, congress expected the production of industrial hemp to continue, but the Federal Bureau of Narcotics lumped industrial hemp with marijuana and its successor, the US Drug Enforcement Administration, continued.


The United States is the only developed country which still bans the growth of industrial hemp. 16 states have passed pro-hemp legislation.

Due to the fact that American farmers are unable to legally cultivate hemp, the United States has been unable to compete in the global market. By passing this bill American farmers can reduce the trade deficit and ultimately benefit the local market. This would also encourage jobs in various industries such as food, auto parts, clothing, and other various industries.

United States companies and industries which sell products made with hemp include Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, most of the bird seed sold in the U.S., and even the car companies Ford and BMW, historically and currently, experimented with hemp materials in their vehicles. Hemp food manufacturers such as French Meadow Bakery, Hempzels, Living Harvest, Nature's Path and Nutiva now make their products from Canadian hemp. These industries would no longer have to import hemp from other countries to produce these products.

However, National Drug Control Policies oppose this act because they feel that hemp plants could easily be mixed with marijuana plants. They feel that it would be very difficult to detect the difference between the two.

Ruling of proposed bill

Along with the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2005 and the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007, the bill was merely introduced and referred to the committee, but never made it any further.Therefore, this bill was never passed and made law.


Currently, the word "marijuana" is the accepted spelling. However, "marihuana" was the correct spelling and most commonly used form in early Federal Government of the United States documents. That is why, as stated in the bill, marijuana is spelled "marihuana;" to maintain consistency across government documents.

See also