Hemp legal in Oregon, held up by U.S. law
Oct. 4, 2009
PORTLAND, Ore. (UPI) -- Industrial hemp is legal in Oregon but growers say they can't get on with their business until the federal government change its policies.
The Oregon Legislature this year legalized industrial hemp, but Washington still classifies it as an illegal drug in the same category as marijuana, leading to little progress for the state's nascent industry, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Sunday.
"It's rolled into the definition of marijuana at the federal level," state Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Eugene, Ore., Democrat, who co-sponsored the bill with Republican Sen. David Nelson of Pendleton, Ore., told the newspaper.
Would-be hemp growers say they're pinning some of their hopes on the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which has been introduced by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and would remove industrial hemp -- which is low in the active ingredient that give smokers a high -- from the federal definition of marijuana.
The Oregonian reported that others, however, want to persuade the Obama administration to institute a policy change allowing hemp production if Congress won't act. Prozanski contends it may be better for the White House to order the Drug Enforcement Administration to treat industrial hemp as it does medical marijuana -- avoiding the prosecution of legitimate growers and producers.