Senator Jeff Merkley

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U.S.: Senators Introduce Industrial Hemp Water Rights Act to Protect Farmers

US Capitol

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Last week, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced bipartisan legislation which would allow farmers to use water they own through private water rights to grow hemp, if the crop is grown legally.

In 2014, in a pilot program created by the 2014 Farm Bill, permission was granted to state Departments of Agriculture to license farmers to grow industrial hemp. However, the Bureau of Reclamation prohibits the use of federally-controlled water for growing hemp, as the plant is listed in the outdated Controlled Substances Act. The conflicting policies are creating confusion for farmers who grow industrial hemp with water from federal reservoirs.

United States: Senators Stand Up To Protect Veterans, States' Rights


Amendment Would Provide Veterans the Opportunity to Discuss Medical Marijuana with their Doctor

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

U.S. Senators Steve Daines (MT-R) and Jeff Merkley (OR-D) successfully included an amendment, which passed committee 24-7 vote, in the FY 2018 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that protects veterans’ ability to discuss with VA physicians the use of medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

Oregon: Wyden, Merkley back industrial hemp bill

By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon editor

There is a truth that must be heard! Both of Oregon's Democratic Senators added their names to an effort to support the farming of industrial hemp, a move that would remove Federal restrictions on growing non-drug Cannabis.

Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley joined Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to introduce a Senate companion bill to The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011, which was introduced in the House last May.

Ten states, including Oregon, have removed barriers to the production of industrial hemp, including oilseed and fiber varieties which have numerous uses including foods, textiles and personal care products. The problem is that despite state authorization, hemp farmers still run afoul of federal law which doesn't distinguish hemp grown for industrial uses from marijuana.

Wyden got involved with the pro-hemp effort in June when he introduced an amendment to the U.S. Farm Bill that would have addressed the same issue by distinguishing industrial hemp from its druggy cousin. The amendment didn't make it into the final version of the bill.

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