San Antonio representative files bill to legalize hemp for research purposes
A bill has been filed in the Texas House of Representatives which would legalize hemp cultivation for research purposes.
Filed by Rep. Joe Farias, a Democrat out of San Antonio, HB 557 would grant institutions of higher education the ability to commission the cultivation of hemp and possess it for study.
Wording of the bill would allow farmers under the direction of an institution of higher education to grow hemp, an industrious plant which has many uses for food, clothing, fuel, and soil repair.
Currently the plant is listed as a Schedule 1 substance under federal guidelines, meaning that it has no accepted value, medical or otherwise. However there has been a bill filed in congress which would re-legalize hemp federally.
Hemp is in the cannabis plant family, similar to marijuana, however it has very low amounts of THC, the active ingredient which produces a high.
Prior to World War 2, hemp cultivation was legal and encouraged by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Agriculture produced a documentary called Hemp for Victory, which was released in 1942, to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply. The film shows a history of hemp and hemp products, how hemp is grown, and how hemp is processed into rope, cloth, cordage, and other products.
Efforts to legalize hemp in other states have met with some success. There are 19 states which have laws legalizing hemp through either pilot programs or full growth, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.
At the Republican Party of Texas State Convention in 2014 the party voted to adopt hemp legalization as part of their platform.