CALIFORNIA: Green, twenty-foot-tall fields of research hemp might be waving in the Davis breeze by the next year in a startling breakthrough for California hemp advocates who have been working for decades to grow the plant.
The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 combined with the 2014 federal farm bill has unlocked the possibility of legally growing the ancient food, fuel, and fiber crop. “It’s remarkable. I’m quite thrilled,” said longtime San Francisco hemp lawyer Patrick Goggin. “We had no idea it would come this fast, to be honest.”
Championed by state Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, the California Hemp Act of 2013 authorized hemp farming in California, but only if the federal government allowed it. When the bill passed last year, it seemed likely that hell would freeze over before the feds would ever legalize hemp farming.
But then on February 7, hell froze over. A far-left-far-right contingent in Congress added an amendment to the massive US farm bill exempting research hemp from the federal Drug War if states also allowed hemp. California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a centrist and a longtime opponent of marijuana, opposed the amendment. But “she lost big time,” Goggin noted.