June 07, 2017

Wyden Marks National Hemp History Week

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today pressed his colleagues in Congress to support a bipartisan effort to lift the federal ban on growing industrial hemp in the United States.

Industrial hemp farming holds vast potential for job creation and economic benefits in Oregon and nationwide. Sales of hemp-based products in the U.S. total almost $600 million each year, but current federal law bans farmers from growing hemp in the U.S.

Wyden said the federal prohibition on growing hemp is locking American farmers out of possible profits and Americans out of job opportunities. On the Senate floor today, he pointed to his staffer, who was wearing a tie made from hemp and holding two baskets of hemp-based products including lotion, hemp seed, soap, granola bars, protein powder, wood finish, and lip balm.

“This is the third year in a row I have come to the floor during National Hemp History Week to talk about the importance of industrial hemp, its huge economic potential for hard-working farmers and the indefensible ban that keeps so many American farmers from growing it,” Wyden said in his third annual speech on the Senate floor to mark National Hemp History Week.

“If we’re serious about banning harmless products like hemp just because they’re related to drugs, then I’ve got bad news for fans of poppy seed muffins.”

Wyden first introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in 2011 with Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to lift the ban on growing hemp in America. The bipartisan bill would remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Last Congress, Wyden introduced the bill with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sens. Paul, Merkley, and 13 additional cosponsors.

Wyden is working to reintroduce the bill this year with a bipartisan group of colleagues.

Watch Wyden's speech.