HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 171
(By Delegate Manypenny Barill, Canterbury, Caputo, Diserio, Eldridge, Ferns, Fragale, Guthrie, Jones, Kump, Marshall, Moore, Morgan, Pino, Romine, Skinner, Staggers and Wells)
Requesting that the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study the authorization and permitting processes that may be necessary to facilitate industrial hemp farming in West Virginia.
Whereas, Industrial hemp is a valuable agricultural commodity throughout the world that is nonpsychoactive and is a genetically identifiable species of the genus Cannabis; and
Whereas, Encouraging farmers to produce industrial hemp and promoting the downstream industries in manufacturing that may result from industrial hemp production will help create agricultural, manufacturing and other jobs in West Virginia and may help to improve the global trade imbalance between this country and other developed nations; and
Whereas, It may be necessary to grant waivers or other assistance to interested West Virginia industrial hemp farmers and producers by identifying state regulations that act as barriers to commercial production of industrial hemp; and
Whereas, Beneficial uses of industrial hemp may be further encouraged by establishing pilot projects for industrial hemp in post mine applications, which may include preventing soil erosion and bioremediation of certain soils; and
Whereas, The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Hemp Industries v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 357 F. 3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2004), that the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. §812(b)) explicitly excludes nonpsychoactive industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana, and the federal government declined to appeal that decision; and
Whereas, Industrial hemp refers to the nondrug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis which have less than three-tenths of one percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and which are cultivated exclusively for fiber, stalk and seed, and are genetically distinct from drug varieties of Cannabis, also know as marijuana; and
Whereas, Congress having never intended to prohibit the production of industrial hemp when restricting the production, possession, and use of marijuana, does not prohibit or limit the state from encouraging industrial hemp production to stimulate the state economy; and
Whereas, The potential opportunities that stem from the development of industrial hemp production in West Virginia may significantly improve the quality of life for the citizens in this state; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study the authorization and permitting processes that may be necessary to facilitate industrial hemp farming in West Virginia; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature in 2014, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and to draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriations to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.