In the wake of the passing of the 2014 US Farm Bill in January there has been, as predicted, a further green wave of pro hemp legislation passed and hemp research activity announced. While there is great activity, how this shapes out is anyone’s guess. Several states are positioned to conduct hemp research. To date, only Kentucky and Hawaii have announced specific research programs. While recognizing that there are valid obstacles, questions, and legal gray areas, much comes down to political courage, leadership and vision.
The new US Farm Bill signed last week by President Obama has a provision for the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes at the state level. This provision will be in effect for the next five years. The provision builds on years of lobbying efforts by activists, advocates, hemp business and farming associations and the championship of the bills by elected representatives at the state and federal level.