The top Democrat in the United States Senate stopped by Owego this morning to discuss his support for industrial hemp farming.
Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the House to include a provision supporting hemp that was included the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill.
The Hemp Farming Act would remove hemp from the Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act and would turn all regulation of the plant over to the states.
Schumer says hemp is being unfairly treated like marijuana, even though hemp contains very little THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.
The Senate Minority Leader says hemp could be easily grown in this area to produce food, fabric, rope and medicinal oils.
“Unfortunately, because of our outdated laws, we import over a billion dollars of hemp from Canada. We should be growing it here, we should be using it for other manufacturing purposes here and get the jobs here,” Schumer says.
The bill would open up hemp to research grants as well as allow hemp farmers to access insurance, banking and credit.
It would also ease restrictions on interstate commerce.
Schumer says a company in Spencer, High End Multi Processing, is poised to ramp up production, using hemp grown by local farmers and hiring ten to fifteen people this Fall.
“Tioga County is poised to become the industrial hemp epicenter bringing a wave of new jobs and opportunity into the area,” says Jeff Luciano.
Luciano says a large number of farmers in Tioga County have already signed on to grow hemp for High End.
Schumer says the bill has bipartisan support in the Senate where Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is a co-sponsor.