California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed a historic law that will legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in the state.
However, implementing the law Brown signed last week depends on approval from the federal government.
“With the signing of this bill, California is poised to grow industrial hemp when the federal government gives states the green light,” state Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who authored the bill, SB 566, said in a statement. “In the past year, the conversation to legalize the cultivation of hemp has gained momentum at the federal level, and it is only a matter of time before a farmer’s right to grow hemp is restored.”
Under federal law, hemp production is illegal, banned since 1957 because of the relation of hemp plants to marijuana. Hemp contains an insignificantly low amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in marijuana that produces a high. The U.S. started importing hemp products, used in the manufacture of products that include fibers, food and fuel, from other countries in 1998.
Still, numerous states have legalized industrial hemp. They will need approval from the Department of Justice to produce the plant without fear of prosecution.
In Kentucky, where hemp industrialization was legalized in April, state Attorney General Jack Conway issued an advisory opinion, stating that hemp is still an illegal substance under federal law and may be prosecuted.
Colorado made history last week when it became the first state to harvest hemp in nearly 60 years.
Leno, however, urges California farmers to wait for federal approval, which he said he expects soon.
“I would defer to Deputy [Attorney General James] Cole’s statement that the federal government will not interfere in states with ‘strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems,’” Leno told The Huffington Post.
“Given that marijuana is a drug and hemp is not, it would be nonsensical that his statement would only apply to the drug and not the non-drug variety,” Leno said of the federal prosecutor.
“For the sake of the farmers, I will request clarity from [California Attorney General] Kamala Harris and the Department of Justice,” Leno said. “But it would be insult to injury and a double-whammy of the ridiculous if this non-drug variety of cannabis ran into obstacles. Now that the federal government is setting marijuana free, how could it possibly continue to hold industrial hemp hostage?”
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Because the U.S. Won't Control The Flow Of Guns Into Latin America
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Because the United States Leads The Hemisphere In Drug Consumption
Americans have the <a href="http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve/?File_id=81b53476-64a3-4088-9bae-254a84b95ddb">highest rate of illegal drug consumption in the world</a>, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Because The U.S. Ignores Latin American Calls For A Rethinking Of Drug Policy
Several current and former Latin American presidents, like Fernando Henrique Cardoso, have <a href="http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org/">urged the United States to rethink its failed war on drugs</a>, to no avail.
Because Of The Fast And Furious Scandal
In an attempt to track guns as they moved across the U.S.-Mexico border, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/atf-fast-furious-sg,0,3828090.storygallery">allowed smugglers to purchase weapons</a>. The ATF lost track of the guns and they wound up in the hands of drug cartels -- even as <a href="http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/09/11/atf-fast-and-furious-guns-appear-in-colombia/">far south as Colombia</a>.
Because American Politicians Refuse To Candidly Lead A Debate On Reforming Our Laws
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Because The U.S. Tortures Detainees In Cuba
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Because The U.S. Has The World's Largest Prison Population
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Because The U.S. Jails Undocumented Immigrants Guilty Of Civil Violations
Because the United States <a href="http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/ExposeAndClose">imprisons roughly 400,000 immigrants</a> each year on civil violations.
Because The Border Patrol Kills Kids Who Throw Rocks
The U.S. Border Patrol has come under fire for <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/border-patrol-killing-un_n_2018731.html">killing minors who were throwing rocks</a>.
Because The U.S. Recognized An Illegal Government In Venezuela
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Because U.S. Extradition Undermines Justice In Colombia
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Because The U.S. Helped Create Today's Cartels
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Because The U.S. Backed An Argentine Military Dictatorship That Killed 30,000 People
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Because The U.S. Helped Topple The Democratically Elected Government Of Salvador Allende
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Because the U.S. Backed A Military Coup In Brazil In 1964
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Because The U.S. Funded A Terrorist Group In Nicaragua
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Because The U.S. Helped Finance Atrocities In Colombia
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Because The U.S. Maintains A Trade Embargo Against Cuba Despite Opposition From The Entire World
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Because The U.S. Invaded Haiti Again In 1994
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Because The U.S. Trained Military Leaders Who Committed Atrocities In Latin America
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Because The U.S. Backed Dictator Rafael Trujillo
Rafael Trujillo Sr. (Photo by Hank Walker//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Because The U.S. Invaded Cuba And Undermined The Island's Independence
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Because The U.S. Colonized Puerto Rico
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