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Currently Hemp Is Classified As A Controlled Substance, Putting It On Par With Other Substances Like Heroin And Other Opioids Due To Trace Amounts Of THC; However, Senator Says Industrial Hemp Can Be Used To Make A Variety Of Products Like Paper, Clothing, Plastics And Even Fuel

Bipartisan Bill Removes Fed Roadblock That Obstructs Hemp’s Full Potential As An Agricultural Commodity In Tioga County; Senator Says New Bill Empowers States To Act As Primary Regulators Of Hemp, Allows For Hemp Researchers To Apply For Federal Research Grants, And Allows Hemp Growers To Be Eligible For Critical Crop Insurance 

Schumer: Relaxing Hemp Laws Could Mean Millions In Economic Revenue & Support New Local Jobs In Tioga County

Standing at the Tioga County Government Building, in Owego, N.Y. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today doubled down on his push to pass the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 through Congress. Schumer said the bill could help unlock hemp’s full potential as an agricultural commodity in Tioga County, throughout the Southern Tier and across Upstate New York, by removing it from a federal list of controlled substances. Farms across the Southern Tier have partnered with affiliated growers and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets to understand the best agricultural practices and market potential for various types of industrial hemp. These farms and the State of New York would benefit greatly from this legislation which could enhance their production and research efforts. Schumer explained that the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was also included in the recently passed Senate version of the Farm Bill, and that he is now urging his colleagues in Congress to get this critical legislation signed into law as soon as possible.

Schumer said the Southern Tier and communities across Upstate New York are on the verge of a hemp explosion with 3500 acres of hemp already authorized to be grown across New York State for research purposes. Schumer said this bill would allow for farmers in Tioga County and areas throughout New York State to grow hemp as an agricultural commodity, ultimately helping to create a new cash crop for our farmers and growers, while also potentially creating opportunities for millions of dollars in economic growth. High End Multi Processing LLC in Spencer will hire 10-15 employees this fall, making it the largest employer in the Town of Spencer, and plans for a dramatic increase in employment. Schumer explained that Tioga County has 5 of the 118 licenses from the State of New York to grow and research hemp as part of the new Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program, making it one of the top counties in the Southern Tier. By officially cosponsoring the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, Schumer has signaled an important partnership with his Republican counterpart, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) the Senate Majority Leader, who is the primary sponsor of the bill.

“The federal government made a mistake when they labeled hemp as a controlled substance, putting it on par with dangerous substances like heroin. In reality, industrial hemp is an oyster with a pearl of opportunities that could mean millions in economic revenue while also helping to support new local jobs in Tioga County and across the Southern Tier,” said Senator Schumer. “Industrial Hemp can be used to make everything from paper, to clothing, to plastics which is why it so important we fix this outdated law as soon as possible so our farmers and businesses across New York State can grow, expand, and research the benefits of hemp without the onerous and outdated restrictions from the federal government.”

The Schumer-backed Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and does the following:

  • Removes industrial hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act
  • Empowers states to be the principal regulators of hemp
  • Allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Finally, it would make hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance

Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis plant that is grown largely for industrial uses, but it can also be utilized for food, oil, and cosmetic products. Hemp contains a very small amount, typically between 0.2 and 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and while from the same species of plant as marijuana, it has varied widely in use. However, due to the existence of THC in hemp, Schumer explained, both plants are considered “controlled substances” under the current federal law, meaning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the current primary regulator for hemp production. Schumer said this narrow view has undermined the crop’s agricultural and economic potential and he vowed to work with his colleagues in both the Senate and the House to pass this groundbreaking legislation which is solely focused on investing in industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity.

Schumer continued: “Labeling hemp as a controlled substance is preventing industrial hemp from being a real game-changer for counties from Tioga to Louisville, Kentucky.  Which is exactly why I am proud to support this bill and bring industrial hemp into the forefront as an agricultural commodity for all over the Southern Tier.  I will work in lockstep with my colleagues in Congress to make sure this bill passes both chambers and becomes law.”

“The Southern Tier, and specifically Tioga County, is an ideal location for the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp. We are a mix of proud farmers, entrenched in the agricultural industry, and pioneering entrepreneurs who see the amazing potential that this emerging market has to offer. Because of this, Tioga County is leading the way with a large number of farmers currently growing hemp for the 2018 season. In addition, High End Multi Processing, a company based out of Spencer, will be opening a major processing facility to serve not only Tioga County, but all farmers throughout the region and the state growing industrial hemp. Combined, Tioga County is poised to become an industrial hemp epicenter, bringing a wave of new jobs and opportunities into the area,” said Jeff Luciano Founder and CEO of High End Group and High End Multi Processing LLC.

I’d like to thank Senator Schumer for his support the full legalization of industrial hemp,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, who authored legislation establishing the state’s industrial hemp pilot program. “The work being done by farmers, processors, and researchers under our program has made New York a national leader. In order for this multi-use plant to reach its full potential it must be removed from the controlled substances list.”