United States manufacturers previously imported hemp from countries that didn’t have a ban on it, but now some states permit local growing of the plant. With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, the federal government also allows limited cultivation of the crop. In Oregon, the following people were instrumental in legalizing and implementing hemp production in the state.
1. State Sen. Floyd Prozanski
Sen. Floyd Prozanski sponsored Senate Bill 676, passed in 2009, which legalized industrial hemp farming in Oregon. After the bill was passed, Prozanski said: “I am glad that Oregon has joined the other states that have agreed that American farmers should have the right to re-introduce industrial hemp as an agricultural crop. By signing SB 676 into law, which passed the Oregon Legislature with strong bi-partisan support, Governor [Ted] Kulongoski has taken a proactive position allowing our farmers the right to grow industrial hemp, to provide American manufacturers with domestically-grown hemp, and to profit from that effort,” as quoted byVote Hemp.
2. Edgar Winters
According to the website Capital Press, Edgar Winters was the first person to obtain an industrial hemp farming license under the state’s new law. Winters is the director of the Oregon Agriculture Food & Rural Consortium. He noted that while the state allowed hemp farming, obtaining the seeds to establish a crop requires approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. As quoted by Capital Press, Winters said: “We have to import to get started. We don’t want our farmers to sit around another year.”
3. Ron Pence, Oregon Department of Agriculture
Ron Pence oversees the industrial hemp program for the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Pence has also expressed concern over the difficulties associated with obtaining seed to start hemp crops. He toldReuters: “It’s not clear if there’s an adequate seed supply,” and said that federal requirements set up roadblocks that make it incredibly difficult to legally secure ample seed.