Vermont has become the most recent state to take a stand against the federal government and nullify the federal ban on hemp cultivation. Governor Shumlin signed the new bill into law in June.
Hemp is an agricultural product which may be grown as a crop, produced, possessed, and commercially traded in Vermont pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The cultivation of hemp shall be subject to and comply with the requirements of the accepted agricultural practices adopted under section 4810 of this title. –Senate Bill 157
According to VoteHemp, a hemp advocate website, Vermont is actually the 9th state to lift the ban on hemp, and 20 states have introduced industrial hemp legislation for the 2013 legislative season. However, what makes Vermont unique is that the new law does not hold a stipulation or amendment requiring the federal government to first lift the ban on hemp cultivation. Much like Colorado, Vermont will proceed regardless of the federal law banning hemp cultivation.
Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center, tells us:
“I like hemp. The Vermont bill is more aggressive than the other bills we’ve seen pass. I’ve been heavily involved in Kentucky with the passing of their hemp bill, but they are waiting for the feds to actually lift the ban. This means that farmers still will not be able to cultivate. Vermont’s bill allows farmers to go straight ahead regardless of the federal law. This is a straight nullification bill. It gives them the green light as soon as they receive the licence from the state. I think this development is extremely important for the states because you will see markets develop and flourish. If more states begin to follow this path then the federal government may be forced to lift the ban. The US is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t allow cultivation of hemp. We have to import all of it. In fact, the US imports 1/2 of all Canada’s hemp. We have thousands of manufacturing companies and stores importing raw hemp and hemp products.“
Maharrey says that many opponents argue the market for hemp doesn’t exist in America. “How can you say there isn’t a market when you have never allowed one to exist,” he counters. Maharrey adds, “If we are importing 1/2 of another country’s entire production- there is obviously a market. If not let’s lift the ban, and if the market isn’t there then it will simply vanish.”
According Ray Hanson with the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center:
“The combined retail value of hemp food and body care products sold in the United States in 2010 was $40.5 million, up more than 10 percent from 2009, according to the market research firm SPINS. (The same firm estimated that 2009 sales of hemp products reached $36.6 million.) The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) estimated that the retail value of North American hemp food, vitamin and body care products was in the range of $121 to $142 million in 2010. When clothing, auto parts, building materials and other non-food or body care products are included, the HIA estimates that the total retail value of U.S. hemp products is about $419 million.“