Hemp ... Why Not?


Hemp ... Why Not?

By: Jared Kahn


Industrial hemp has been utilized as a commodity crop for centuries in the United States, and for millennia throughout the world. Today, the crop is cultivated for industrial uses in thirty countries, but not the United States. United States citizens may import hemp, eat hemp, wear hemp, and do whatever they please with a manufactured hemp product, but nobody grows the valuable crop in the U.S. Several states have legalized industrial hemp cultivation, however, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) interprets the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to prohibit the growing of hemp without a permit, although the non-hallucinogenic hemp parts of the plant are exempted from regulation.

Although within the same species as marijuana, Cannabis sativa, the variety commonly known as industrial hemp has different chemical properties that cannot get anybody ‘high.’ Industrial hemp is not the same as the marijuana plant targeted by drug control laws because industrial hemp does not contain psychoactive compounds. Even though hemp, a commodity crop with over 40,000 practicable uses, is specifically exempted from the Controlled Substances Act, from the Marijuana Tax Act, and from the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs Treaty of 1961, no farmer dares cultivate a field within the U.S. with one of the world’s most productive and valuable agricultural crops, even in states that recently enacted industrial hemp regulations.


Administrative Law | Agriculture Law | Environmental Law | Food and Drug Law | Natural Resources Law

Date of this Version

January 2007