Environment

Breaking News! West Virginia Votes to Nullify Industrial Hemp Ban

hempfarmCHARLESTON, W.Va., February 24, 2014– As first reported by BenSwann.com last month, West Virginia legislators introduced legislation to nullify the federal ban on hemp. Earlier this afternoon the West Virginia State House voted to approve the bill which authorized the production, distribution and sale of industrial hemp within the state. The final vote was 88-8.

Industrial Hemp can be an economic boon and many states continue to recognize it. Call or email The Environmental Matters Committee in support  of my bill, HB 1010.
For more about industrial hemp
hempfarm

Industrial Hemp

hempfarm

I have introduced the following bill to authorize the growth, production and sale of industrial hemp in Maryland. I believe that the economic benefits of industrial hemp will be a viable option for Maryland farmers as a cash crop.

HB 1010- Production and Sale of Industrial Hemp- This bill is modeled after the Tenth Amendment Center’s “Hemp Freedom Act”. This bill would nullify the Unconstitutional Federal prohibition on Industrial Hemp, and potentially opening up an economic boon to Maryland by authorizing a person to plant, grow, harvest, process, possess, sell, and buy industrial hemp in the State. The bill prohibits the State of Maryland to utilize agents or resources to aid any Federal punitive or legal action against any farmer who grows industrial hemp as a crop.This Bill has the support of The Maryland Farm Bureau and the Farm Bureau of Anne Arundel County.

HB 1010 has a hearing scheduled on Wednesday, Feb 19 at 1pm in the Environmental Matters Committee.

 

What is Industrial Hemp?

 Industrial hemp is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, the same plant that marijuana is derived from. The two plants differ in that marijuana comes from the leaves and flowers of the female plant whereas, Industrial hemp come from the male plant and is grown for industrial use of the stalk and seeds primarily. They also differ in levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, (THC) the chemical that is responsible for its psychoactive properties. Marijuana plants contain levels of 3-15% THC and male plants grown for industrial hemp contain less than 1% of THC. Research has consistently shown that the low THC level in hemp plants is not capable of producing the psychoactive effects that true marijuana plants do

hemppostAgricultural Opportunities

 The plant serves as a good rotation crop—choking out weeds and surviving without the aid of polluting pesticides, while taking no more nutrients from the soil than a corn crop. The mature plant’s strength makes it impervious to storm damage. All parts of hemp (fiber, hurds and seeds) are economically important. Hemp can be grown in many climates and under many conditions. It is reported that Hemp is a great rotational crop with Soy and Corn. Given the corn and soy production of Maryland and specifically the eastern shore, Industrial Hemp is a natural for Maryland farmers.

 Economic Opportunities 

 The Washington Times reported this month the potential of a $500 million industry in American Hemp production.

Many American industries, including those in textiles, foods, oil and building materials, have shown a growing interest in hemp. American clothing Manufacturers grossed about $5 million in 1991 and $50 million in 1995 on hemp products. The proposed state research projects as well as the new technology and machinery needed for a developing hemp industry will provide new jobs. Import costs for American industries using hemp, currently estimated at $120 million, and would drop considerably if it could be produced domestically.

National Support

U.S. Congress – The 2014 Farm Bill that just passed Congress, included an amendment that relaxed a 75-year old restriction on growing and researching industrial hemp. The amendment clearly defines Industrial Hemp separate and apart from marijuana.

NCSL – The National Conference of State Legislatures in 2000 adopted a policy on Industrial Hemp. That policy resulted in a letter to then President Bill Clinton Urging the USDA and the DEA to distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana. 

 

For further reading:

 Industrial Hemp and Marijuana: Myths and Realities

Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity

The case for Hemp as Biofuel

The Environmental Cost of Hemp Prohibition

Viability of Industrial Hemp

 

Who supports it?

National Council of State Legislatures position on Hemp

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Adopts Pro-Hemp Resolution

 

industrial-hemp-field-0126

Gun Legislation, Chesapeake Bay and Bond Bills

Gun Rights – Regretfully, Maryland refuses to recognize the legitimate and inalienable right to Keep and Bear Arms. Last year’s sweeping gun ban passed despite huge opposition from the public has done little to address or curtail violence in Maryland, and has had a huge negative effect on personal liberty and private property.

There is no Constitutional provision that supports Maryland’s position that all firearms must be registered with the State and that you must hold a State issued permit to lawfully carry a firearm. I have always held and voted that every Law-Abiding citizen has the right to own and carry a firearm without a permit. After all, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont, Wyoming and Oklahoma, do not require a permit to carry a firearm in public. Additional information on Constitutional Carry states.

Gun Bills Introduced in MD- keep in mind this list will grow as session continues.

Maryland Shall Issue is the leading local activist group in Maryland dedicated to restoring gun rights to citizens. They are a great resource of information regarding this issue.

Maryland Legislative Watch does a great job summarizing proposed legislation and provides links to email your legislator all in one convenient place.

The Chesapeake Bay and the Rain Tax– For decades now, we have heard about the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The Legislature over that time has implemented various forms of taxes and fees intent on addressing the issue of water quality. Unfortunately this has been a ruse. In fact the money spent has primarily been used to grow the Maryland Department of the Environment to the point that it now employees 937 State employees. Regretfully the growth of MDE has done little to nothing to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay.

HB11- authorizes Bay Restoration funds to be used to disconnect septic systems and to connect those homes to municipal waste water treatment facilities. The untold story is that it is those municipal facilities that dump hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated raw sewage into the bay every year. Now HB11 proposes to add additional load to an already failing municipal facility.

HB12-On the surface this bill would appear to provide funding for the implementation of the latest technology in septic systems within local jurisdictions whereby a percentage of the cost is paid by the government. What this bill and all of the issues pertaining to Bay Restoration fail to recognize (not by accident) is the fact that the primary cause of contamination in our waterways are the failures of waste water treatment plants and infrastructure. See the links below for overflow reports for 2013 alone.

SB01- Rightly recognizes that a homeowner using the latest nitrogen removing technology in a septic system should be exempted from any further expense related to environmental fees. The cost of the latest technology can run upwards of 20 thousand dollars. Because the State is only interested in raising revenue, its unlikely to pass.

Understanding sewage overflow issues

Pumping Station Overflow Report 2013

List of legislation regarding the Chesapeake Bay

BOND BILLS

A bond bill is a piece of legislation that starts with the words “Creation of State Debt” The fact that bond bills are debt should be enough that no Legislator would sponsor such a bill when we continue to raise taxes and fees claiming all along that we simply don’t have enough revenue to support the needs of the State. These Bills are the “Pork Projects” of your local State Legislators.

For this reason no Legislator should ask for or support any such legislation. I will NOT support any Legislation that increases state debt

See the growing list of pet projects that you the tax payer are footing the bill for.

Continue to check back as I will regularly update with new information and legislation to keep an eye on.