Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Senate Passes Farm Bill 86 - 11; Legalizes Hemp as Agricultural Commodity - Article and Commentary

It seems that history is being made once again. For all of the hemp and cannabis advocates that have been fighting for decades to see the truth revealed about the benefits of cannabis for industry, the economy, and for human health, this new legislation represents a significant victory. Though there has been speculation about the true benefits of cannabis within society, there have also been real-world results which have shown that legalized cannabis can create an economic boom anywhere the plant is legally produced and sold.

For years, hemp/cannabis has been classified as a Schedule I narcotic substance and strangely criminalized along with artificial toxic substances. This plant was supposed by the establishment to be so harmful to human health while all of the evidence which proved the exact opposite was either misrepresented by opposers or ignored by them altogether.

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Due to the ongoing resistance to change by various political, financial, and pharmaceutical interests, all cannabinoids have been forbidden for the American population and at times, even from valid scientific study. However, this trend appears to be changing dramatically.

To demonstrate this public and official desire for change, here is a quote from the website,

“For the first time in 80 years, this bill legalizes hemp. We forget, but hemp was widely grown in the United States throughout the mid-1800s,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said. “Americans used hemp in fabrics, wine, and paper. Our government treated industrial hemp like any other farm commodity until the early 20th century, when a 1937 law defined it as a narcotic drug, dramatically limiting its growth. This became even worse in 1970 when hemp became a schedule I controlled substance. In Colorado, as is true across the country, I have talked to a lot of colleagues about this, we see hemp as a great opportunity to diversify our farms and manufacture high-margin products for the American people.”

Senator Bennet was correct in his statement that hemp was formally treated as any other farming commodity up until the early 1900s. It has been theorized that the majority of efforts to criminalized the plant as a dangerous controlled substance was led by the pharmaceutical industry, and that Big Pharma did this because of their knowledge that cannabis could be used medicinally to treat a multitude of diseases. However, because the chemical could not be patented and therefore was not profitable, Big Pharma saw no reason to pursue its effectiveness.

We can see from the website, U.S. Cannabis Patents, that the U.S. government both claims there are no medical uses for cannabis and yet holds numerous patents for the plant's medical use. Many see this as a clear sign of long-standing dishonesty and hypocrisy of a government that has been a long-time servant of Big Pharma (both political parties included). Yet, the doors for truth now appear to be opening significantly.

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It seems that something has most definitely changed behind the scenes. Something (or someone) appears to have  convinced legislators that legalization was a far better, and less expensive option than the ongoing (and provably fake) war on drugs. This change along with many others have come during one of the most tumultuous presidential terms in history, and this along with many of the other changes have been extremely welcomed by most independent, freedom-loving Americans.

Yet despite this apparently positive development within government and legal policy, some may be wondering whether or not there is some catch to this new legalization. We may be wondering what other details about the farm bill exist which have not yet been discussed. Have there been clear, benevolent, life-honoring changes taking place in order to bring such legislation about, or is there a questionable issue behind the scenes that requires our attention?

We may soon find out, but until then, we may be grateful for the change and hope for the best.


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Source: Farm Futures

Published: June 28, 2018

By: Alan Bjerga


"The bill renews subsidies for farmers and food aid for low-income families."

The Senate passed bipartisan farm legislation that sets up a clash with the House and President Donald Trump over imposing broad new work requirements for food stamp recipients.

The Senate bill, passed 86-11 Thursday, would renew subsidies for farmers and crop-insurance companies, along with food aid for low-income families. The Senate bill doesn’t include the work rules. The House version would make work requirements stricter and would shift some food-stamp benefits to job-training programs  changes critics say are designed to throw needy Americans off the rolls.

The House and Senate versions of the five-year, $867 billion legislation will need to be reconciled. Trump backs the work rules in the House plan, which was passed 213-211 last week without any Democratic votes. The bill is H.R. 2.

Lawmakers are under pressure to act before current farm programs begin to expire on Sept. 30. The farm legislation is a traditional vehicle for modifying the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps.

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Republicans said the work requirements are needed to move food stamp recipients into the labor force at a time of worker shortages. Democrats rejected those provisions because they said they’ll reduce benefits and increase paperwork without effectively moving people into jobs.

The Senate plan boosts funding for pilot programs that study the effectiveness of job training for food-stamp recipients, but doesn’t change work rules nationwide. The House version changes eligibility rules for food stamps.

Work Rules

Senators voted not to take up a proposed amendment that would have created work rules similar to those in the House legislation. The Senate bill’s supporters said they were concerned the provision would doom passage, a priority for vulnerable farm-state lawmakers from both parties.

"It’s not the best possible bill, it’s the best bill possible," given the partisan divide in the Senate, said Senator Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican and chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

The Senate’s farm bill lowers the adjusted gross income threshold at which farmers are no longer eligible for farm subsidies to $700,000 from $900,000. In addition, it would increase funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture trade-promotion initiatives. Funding for trade programs is of heightened concern to farm groups as Trump threatens to impose new tariffs against major U.S. agricultural buyers such as Canada, Mexico and China.

The Senate bill also would boost acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program, the biggest USDA land-idling program, to 25 million acres from 24 million. The House bill raises the cap to 29 million. Under the program, farmers agree to halt production on environmentally sensitive land in exchange for an annual payment.

The proposal would also legalize hemp production by removing the marijuana relative from the federal list of controlled substances. That initiative is a pet project of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whose state would be poised to become a leading grower of legal hemp.

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