Senate Serves Indiana Farmers, Approves Industrial Hemp
This past week the Senate passed SB 357 by a bipartisan vote of 49-0, for the planting and harvesting of industrial hemp. First, you can’t get high off of hemp like you can its cousin marijuana; it lacks the THC content of marijuana. It was wrongly lumped in the same group as marijuana in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, an example of bad governance and bad federal government management. Industrial hemp has practical uses, but there was a step towards legalization from the Senate because of the potential economic development of the major cash crop. SB 357 would undo this mistake and bring a crop which had a significant impact on the economy back into farmer’s fields.
Industrial hemp serves practical purposes for Indiana consumers and manufacturers, while allowing rural farmers access to another potentially great cash crop. One of the Indiana Generaly Assembly’s most talked about topics right now is Mass Transit tax (SB 157) and how it could lead to growth in central Indiana, SB 357 could potentially increase farm revenues and bring more money to rural workers and rural areas, which is most of Indiana.
Hemp does not need a specific climate and can fully mature in 4 months, compared to other cash crops these are both advantages for profitability reasons. Producing industrial hemp will also allow Indiana farmers to take a bit out of the revenues currently going out of the country, as hemp is currently imported into the United States. Creating an industrial hemp industry diversifies Indiana’s thriving agricultural economy even more, and Indiana would have a leg up in the industry than a majority of US states. Keeping the money made from hemp products closer to home can only help Indiana. Jobs from having to create, or convert equipment to, hemp-specific farm equipment could come about also.
Not everything is about the money though in regards to this issue. Self-sufficiency and sustainability are two characteristics citizens in all generations strive for. Both are also vital to maintaining freedom and not depending on people or institutions for assistance when it would be otherwise unwanted. Fortunately, hemp helps achieve both of those aims. Frequently used products such as paper, clothing, building textiles, and some energy resources can all come from hemp stalks. The hemp seed can provide an alternative source of mainstream products also. Hemp provides for more durable alternatives for goods and products. The hemp products I’ve been exposed to have a longer life period than those products made from cotton or other sources. Spending a little more on an item with a substantially longer life span makes more sense than buying multiple products with a shorter duration period. Hemp products can provide more bang for your buck and allow you to spend money on other things.
As long as it passes the house, the cultivation of industrial hemp would serve Indiana well. Some say that Indiana lacks a vision and is a step behind. By using a crop from the past, Indiana will be part of the group of states leading the way in hemp production and manufacturing. Most importantly, it can put more disposable income in the hands of rural farmers and the farmhands.
Nate Hummel is a young conservative who is a production scheduler at Weaver Popcorn. He has completed several internships with Indiana politicians and consultants. You can find him on Twitter @Nate__Hummel.