WASHINGTON - Tuesday, Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., James Comer, R-Ky., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Thomas Massie, R-Ky., hosted an industrial hemp expo that brought lawmakers and entrepreneurs together in the movement to restore industrial hemp to American agriculture. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., served as honorary co-hosts for the event, which featured 19 businesses, as well as other organizations, state government officials, various stakeholders, and hundreds of attendees.

“Americans should once again have the opportunity to benefit from a ‘grown and made in America’ hemp industry, with its clear potential to bring jobs to rural communities and add to the national economy,” Wyden said. “That’s why I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol to lift the outdated federal ban on growing industrial hemp in the United States.”

“Hemp has boundless potential as a sustainable alternative to plastics and other environmentally harmful products,” Polis said.  “It can be used in everything from construction materials to paper to lotions and even ice cream. It’s past time that we eliminate barriers and allow hemp farmers to get to work, create jobs, and grow this promising crop!” 

“We have made tremendous strides in recent years to open the market for research and cultivation of industrial hemp,” said Sen. Paul. “Today’s expo showcases the energy, enthusiasm, and momentum behind our movement to remove unnecessary federal restrictions on a crop that has great historical significance for Kentucky.”

“As Commissioner of Agriculture in Kentucky, I led the charge on hemp cultivation and production in Kentucky,” Comer said. “The issue is very important to me, and I’m glad to see us working in a bipartisan manner to tear down unnecessary regulations on a crop that can help make so many different products.”

“It’s absolutely ridiculous that the cultivation of hemp is still illegal at the federal level. Across the country and across the aisle, attitudes have changed on hemp, and over half of all states have now legalized its production,” said Blumenauer. “This shouldn’t be an issue. Let’s remove this misguided and ineffective ban once and for all.”

"I look forward to building on last year’s momentum to give our nation's farmers and manufacturers more opportunities to compete and succeed in the global economy,” Massie said.  

Industrial hemp is used throughout the world in thousands of products, including paper, fabrics, lotions, canvas, rope, and construction material. Under the Farm Bill, institutions of higher education and state departments of agriculture are permitted to launch industrial hemp research pilot programs if certain conditions are met. Twenty-eight states have authorized industrial hemp pilot studies or production.

View the hemp expo press conference here.