Hemp Cultivation in Virginia?
The situation in Virginia:
For other articles see events page or answer 20.


Hemp legislation introduced in North Dakota, Montana, and Virginia became law early this year.

Montana House Resolution No. 2 requests the federal government to repeal restrictions on the production of industrial hemp. The resolution passed by a vote of 95 to 4 and became law on February 19, 1999.

North Dakota Senate Bill 2328 permits the University of North Dakota to undertake research on the production and processing of industrial hemp. The bill became law upon the governor's approval on March 15, 1999.

Virginia House Joint Resolution No. 94 urges Congress to permit the controlled, experimental cultivation of hemp in Virginia.  The House approved the measure by a vote of 76 to 23, and the Senate later endorsed the measure unanimously.  The bill became law on February 18, 1999.

From: Robert Lunday robert@hemp.net
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: HT: Virginia Hemp Resolution Passes (fwd) Date: Tuesday, January 26, 1999 8:36 PM


This industrial hemp resolution was drafted by both the House and Senate Agriculture Committee's of Virginia. On Monday, January 25, 1999 the full House passed resolution HJ-94 by an overwhelming vote of 76 to 23. The resolution now awaits Senate vote.

Note: The North American Industrial Hemp Council (NAIHC) is recognized in the amendments added by the Rules Committee which states: "the Commonwealth may become a member of the NAIHC."


House Amendments in [* ] -- January 25, 1999

Memorializing the United States Secretary of Agriculture, the Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to permit the controlled, experimental cultivation of industrial hemp in Virginia. ---------- Patrons-- Van Yahres, Bloxom, Murphy and Wardrup; Senators: Whipple and Woods ---------- Referred to Committee on Rules ----------

WHEREAS, faltering state agricultural economies have created pressure to investigate alternative crops; and

WHEREAS, the 1996 Farm Bill reduces government subsidies over the next seven years, pushing farmers to examine alternative cash crops; and

WHEREAS, increased foreign competition in established markets, such as tobacco, as well as innovative work with industrial hemp by Canada and the European community, has prompted increased interest in the economic viability of industrial hemp; and

WHEREAS, similar to jute and flax, industrial hemp's three principal raw materials-- fiber, hurds, and seeds--are used to produce textiles, rope, cellulose plastics, resin, particle board, paper products, and oil; and

WHEREAS, scarce fiber supplies for the textile paper industries have caused rising prices, creating heightened interest in a plentiful domestic source for alternative fibers; and

WHEREAS, the histories of the United States and Virginia are replete with examples of the utility of and dependence on industrial hemp, which was legally cultivated in Virginia and in many other states until the late 1930s; and

WHEREAS, recently the industry has experienced a revitalization, with worldwide hemp sales of $5 million in 1993 and increasing to $75 million in 1995; and

WHEREAS, the American Farm Bureau Federation, representing 4.6 million farmers, passed a unanimous resolution urging research into "the viability and economic potential" of hemp; and

WHEREAS, although industrial hemp is derived from the cannabis sativa plant, it is distinctive from its better known relative, in that it contains less than one percent of the chemical responsible for its psychoactive properties; and

WHEREAS, the growing of industrial hemp in the United States is allowed only by federal permit, and the conditions of such a permit are so restrictive as to make the experimental cultivation of hemp, even under the auspices of a state university with strict controls, essentially impossible; and

WHEREAS, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration correctly states that it has never turned down an application for the experimental cultivation of hemp, but it is equally true that no successful applicant has ever cultivated hemp, due to the excessive restrictions placed on the required permit; and

WHEREAS, determining the economic viability of the commercial cultivation and use of industrial hemp in Virginia clearly requires experimental cultivation of the crop, under carefully controlled conditions, by a university-affiliated agricultural research station; and

WHEREAS, a national organization has been formed to (i) provide information on opportunities, benefits, and obstacles to the recommercialization of industrial hemp; (ii) broaden the base of support within the agricultural and manufacturing communities, academia, and among the public; and (iii) promote research and development of industrial hemp and the recommercialization of the crop in theUnited States; ] now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the appropriate federal agencies and officials be urged to revise the necessary regulations so as to permit the controlled, experimental cultivation of industrial hemp in Virginia; and, be it

[*RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Commonwealth may become a member of the North American Industrial Hemp Council, Inc. (NAIHC); and, be it]

RESOLVED [*FURTHER FINALLY], That the Clerk of the House of Delegates transmit copies of this resolution to the United States Secretary of Agriculture, the Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy so that they may be apprised of the sense of the General Assembly of Virginia.

For more information on Virginia's Hemp Resolution, contact their legislative website.

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A major effort is underway to push hemp legislation through various state governments.

The Agricultural Committee headed by Delegate Mitchell Van Yahres (D-Charlottesville, VA) passed into law on January 20 House Joint Resolution #656, calling for a six-member joint subcommittee to study economic benefits of and barriers to * industrial-Hemp at a cost of $3600. Co-sponsors are Delegates Clement, Davies, Griffith, Thomas and Vardrup.

Sponsored by:

Delegate Mitchell Van Yahres (D) - House District 57

In-session address: Mailing address:
General Assembly Building, Room 401
Capitol Square
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 698-1057

email: del_VanYahres@House.state.va.us
223 West Main Street
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
(804) 977-7863

Industrial Hemp: Gaining Respect With U.S. Farmers

Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 15:36:20 -0400
From: Gettman_J@mediasoft.net (Jon Gettman)
VA Hemp Hearings

Hemp seen as potential crop
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wednesday, July 16, 1997
By Greg Edwards

“'I couldn't take a hemp pair of (blue) jeans and ingest them and in any way, shape or form get high,”' Jon Gettman, a doctoral student at George Mason University, assured a Virginia General Assembly subcommittee yesterday. That assurance came as the House-Senate subcommittee, led by Del. Mitchell Van Yahres, D-Charlottesville, began looking at the feasibility of Virginia farmers growing industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is one of several varieties of the same plant, cannabis sativa, grown for the drug marijuana.

A major issue in letting Virginia farmers grow hemp is assuring that it not be diverted to illegal use. The state would have to get permission from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration before it could allow the growing of hemp, even for research purposes.

Industrial hemp contains only a fraction of the chemical THC that gives marijuana its euphoric effect, said Gettman, a past president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law. Also, industrial hemp is grown for its stalks and is planted more densely than marijuana hemp, which is grown for its leaves and flowers, he said.

Licenses would be required of farmers growing hemp, Gettman said. And the cross-pollination from industrial hemp might actually dilute the strength of plants raised for marijuana, he said. Gettman warned the committee that corn, cotton and tree farmers, who see hemp as a competing crop, may oppose its legalization and promotion in Virginia. But the Loudoun County resident said, ''The public interest may not coincide with the private interests.''

Hemp is a versatile plant whose fiber and seeds can be used to make cloth, ethanol, paper, particle board, plastics and many other products. Other states studying the economic potential of hemp include Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Missouri and Vermont.

Eric Steenstra, vice president of Ecolution, a Fairfax distributor of hemp clothing, jewelry and other products, passed around for the subcommittee's inspection a $65 pair of blue jeans and a $45 tan, short-sleeved sweater made in Europe from hemp. Steenstra, who talked about the market potential for hemp, said his 3-year-old company's sales have climbed from $200,000 in 1994 to $1.2 million last year. Hemp, which requires less pesticide and herbicide to grow, is making gains over cotton among environmentally conscious consumers, he said.

The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farmers' organization, supports research into the potential for hemp as a crop in Virginia, said Martha Moore, senior assistant director of public affairs. That research, which is supported by the Farm Bureau's national organization, could best be done through the Cooperative Extension Service's network of agricultural experiment stations, she said.

The state needs to conduct research into the types of hemp that grow best in Virginia, provide a regulatory scheme under which farmers can legally grow hemp and provide the certainty in public policy that will attract investment to the hemp industry, Gettman said.

Subcommittee member Del. H. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, said he was encouraged by the possibilities for industrial hemp. If the experiment stations can't find a profit in in, though, it wouldn't be worth tackling all the legal problems posed by growing hemp, he said.

Van Yahres, who is also chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said he became interested in hemp while studying alternative crops for Virginia tobacco farmers a couple of years ago. Although there are really no substitutes that will provide the income to farmers that tobacco can, hemp is a crop that might supplement farm income as tobacco demand drops off, he said.

Van Yahres said he hopes to have a representative of the DEA as well as someone from the experiment stations at the subcommittee's next meeting, probably mid-August. He said he plans to have a recommendation on hemp ready for next year's General Assembly.

No one has made fun of him about his interest in hemp, Van Yahres said. The only one who's mentioned it, he said, is his opponent in this fall's House elections.

1997, Richmond Newspapers Inc.

Any news Virginia?

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*Industrial-Hemp has no psychoactive properties following definition of the European Economic Community (EEC); THC content is less than 0.3%. In general, low THC-seed varieties without psychoactive properties are those that have a THC content of less than 1%. (See also No-THC Hemp-seed.) THC= Delta-9 TetraHydroCannabinol.

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