Rep. Gabbard Introduces Bill to Energize Hemp Industry
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawai‘i-02) introduced HR 3652, the Hemp for Victory Act on July 9, 2019, which lays the foundation for the emerging hemp industry in a manner that incentivizes family farmers and small businesses, protects against corporate monopolies, and studies the benefits of hemp cultivation and hemp-based products while ensuring safe agricultural practices, and environmental and labor considerations.
“The hemp industry is poised to grow rapidly, having a billion dollar impact on the US economy and creating thousands of jobs,” said Rep. Gabbard. “Hemp-based materials have the potential to transform industries from health care to domestic manufacturing to affordable, sustainable housing construction, and more. Studies have shown it can play a role in helping remove toxins from our environment and prevent soil erosion, as well as provide alternatives to single-use plastics, which pollute our lands and ocean. My bill will lay the foundation for how we can optimize the hemp industry’s potential and ensure this opportunity benefits family farms and small businesses across America—from Hawai‘i to Kentucky and beyond.”
“Congresswoman Gabbard’s commitment to re-energizing the American farmer and delivering on the economic and planetary healing promise of the versatile, valuable hemp plant is exactly what our nation needs, and the time is now to support her bold efforts,” said Joy Beckerman, a board member with the Hemp Industries Association.
“We commend Congresswoman Gabbard for her leadership on introducing the Hemp For Victory Act,” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp. “The fledgling hemp industry can create thousands of farming and manufacturing jobs but needs research and the same support given to other crops which the bill helps provide.”
Background: HR 3652, the Hemp for Victory Act of 2019, named after the World War II-era effort to revitalize the U.S. hemp industry, broadly addresses many aspects of the re-emerging U.S. hemp industry. The legislation’s objective is to build and encourage a national hemp industry, but to ensure that is done correctly, meaning that there are proper labor, consumer, and health standards; investment incentives; safe agricultural practices; environmental considerations; and more. At its core, the bill is aimed at providing opportunities for small businesses, family farms, indigenous populations, and veterans to participate in and prosper from this industry.
The bill will engage the expertise of several US agencies, as well as land-grant universities, in order to lay the foundations of and generate the demand necessary for our hemp industry to ensure domestic economic potential is met across several sectors. Recognizing the potential for this commodity to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry, the bill directs the US Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Defense, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, and Small Business Administration to conduct research and develop studies on the uses and benefits of hemp. This includes preservation and rehabilitation of our environment through toxic site cleanup and soil erosion control, sustainable and affordable housing, nutritional benefits to our children in school lunches and healthcare benefits to our veterans, alternatives to single-use plastics to reduce our ecological footprint, and the creation of thousands of jobs, among so many more.
Rep. Gabbard was an original cosponsor of HR 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a stand-alone bill in the 115th Congress which would have reclassified hemp as an agricultural crop. She supported H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018—more broadly referred to as “the Farm Bill”—which passed both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan majorities and was signed into law. Among its many provisions, the bill legalized the production of industrial hemp and put its regulation under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Rep. Gabbard supports empowering local farmers and expanding their opportunities. She also joined a bipartisan amicus brief asking the Court to recognize and uphold the Congressional intent of prior legislation that allowed states to grow, cultivate and research industrial hemp under specific conditions.