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Erwin A. "Bud" Sholts, Chairman



2014 Farm Bill Authorizes Industrial Hemp Research

Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail, January 29, 2014 – The U.S. House passed the compromise five-year 2014 Farm Bill (H.R. 2642) Wednesday on a bipartisan 251-166 vote. The next step is for the Senate to vote on the bill, with the expectation that the bill will be passed and sent to President Obama for his signature next week. The “Agricultural Act of 2014” includes a bipartisan amendment to authorize universities and state departments of agriculture to grow hemp as part of a research program in any state which has passed a state law to legalize industrial hemp as an approved crop.

 As passed by the House, the bill includes the two-page Section 7606, “Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research” provision. This section states that regardless of any other federal law:

“an institution of higher education (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) or a State department of agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp if —

    • the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research; and
    • the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under the laws of the State in which such institution of higher education or State department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.

Read the industrial hemp provision here. Or read the complete House-passed Farm Bill, then scroll down to page 698 to read the two-page “Sec. 7606. Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research” provisions.

Once the new Farm Bill has become law, the next step will be for universities and state departments of agriculture to launch industrial hemp research programs in the ten states which have already approved industrial hemp as a legal crop: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. Another 20 states have moved at least part-way toward legalization, through authorizing research or other provisions.