Industrial Hemp resolution

The below resolution on hemp, introduced by me at the Washington County Board of Supervisors was adopted by the County on 12/20/13. Before anyone comments on the spelling of Marijuana, the Feds spell it with an “h” in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, so I did too. Dana

HEMP RESOLUTION – D.HAFF

A Resolution urging the New York State Legislature, New York Governor Cuomo, Congress of the United States, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the United States Department of Justice, and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity; to define industrial hemp in Federal and State law as non-psychoactive and genetically identifiable species of the genus Cannabis; to acknowledge that allowing and encouraging farmers to produce industrial hemp will improve the balance of trade by promoting domestic sources of industrial hemp; and to assist producers by removing barriers to State regulation of the commercial production of industrial hemp.

WHEREAS, industrial hemp refers to the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis which have less than three tenths of one percent (0.3%) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and which are cultivated exclusively for fiber, stalk and seed, and are genetically distinct from drug varieties of Cannabis (also known as marihuana); and

WHEREAS, the flowering tops of industrial hemp cannot produce any drug effect when smoked or ingested; and

WHEREAS, Congress never intended to prohibit the production of industrial hemp when restricting the production, possession, and use of marihuana; the legislative history of the Marihuana Tax Act where the current federal definition of marihuana first appeared shows that industrial hemp farmers and manufacturers of industrial hemp products were assuaged by Federal Bureau of Narcotic Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger who promised that the proposed legislation bore no threat to them: “They are not only amply protected under this act, but they can go ahead and raise hemp just as they have always done it.”; and

WHEREAS, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Hemp Industries v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 357 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2004), that the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. Sec. 812(b)) explicitly excludes non-psychoactive industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana, and the federal government declined to appeal that decision.

WHEREAS, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 specifies the findings to which the government must attest in order to classify a substance as a Schedule I drug and those findings include that the substance has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use, and has a lack of accepted safety for use, none of which apply to industrial hemp; and

WHEREAS, Article 28, Section 2, of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, states that, “This Convention shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fibre and seed) or horticultural purposes.” ; and

WHEREAS, industrial hemp is commercially produced in more than 30 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Romania, Australia, and China without undue restriction or complications; and

WHEREAS, American companies are forced to import millions of dollars worth of hemp seed, hemp seed oil, and hemp fiber products annually from Canada, Europe, and China, thereby effectively denying American farmers an opportunity to compete and share in the profits; and

WHEREAS, nutritious hemp foods can be found in grocery stores nationwide and strong durable hemp fibers can be found in the interior parts of millions of American cars; and

WHEREAS, buildings are being constructed using a hemp and lime mixture also known as Hempcrete, thereby sequestering carbon; and

WHEREAS, retail sales of hemp products for 2012 in this country are estimated to be over $500 million annually; and

WHEREAS, industrial hemp is a high-value low input crop that is not genetically modified, requires little or no pesticides, can be dry land farmed, and uses less fertilizer than wheat and corn.

WHEREAS, the reluctance of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration to permit industrial hemp farming is denying agricultural producers in this state the ability to benefit from a high-value, low-input crop, which can provide significant economic benefits to producers and manufacturers; and

WHEREAS, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration has the authority under the Controlled Substances Act to allow this State to regulate industrial hemp farming under existing laws and without requiring individual federal applications and licenses; and

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Justice, on Aug. 29th, 2013 released a memo announcing that it would update federal marihuana laws so as not to pre-empt State legislation affecting marihuana laws; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That the Washington County Board of Supervisors urges the New York State Legislature, New York Governor, and Congress of the United States to recognize industrial hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity; to define industrial hemp in Federal and State law as non-psychoactive and genetically identifiable species of the genus Cannabis; to exempt industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana; to acknowledge that allowing and encouraging farmers to produce industrial hemp will improve the balance of trade by promoting domestic sources of industrial hemp; and to assist producers by removing barriers to State regulation of the commercial production of industrial hemp; (these items may be taken care of by passing the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate); and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Washington County Board of Supervisors also urges the New York State Legislature and New York Governor to allow the State to regulate industrial hemp farming under existing state laws and regulations, or those to be passed, without requiring federal applications, federal licenses, or federal fees, and place the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp under the jurisdiction of the New York Department of Agriculture & Markets Commissioner; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Clerk of the Board forward copies of this resolution to the Attorney General of the United States, the Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the United States Secretary of Agriculture, each New York County legislative board, U.S. – NY Congressional Rep. Bill Owens, U.S. – New York Senators Charles Schumer & Kirsten Gillibrand, New York State Assemblymen Tony Jordan, Dan Stec, & Steve Mclaughlin, New York State Senator Betty Little, the Commissioner of the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, and New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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