The hemp market is flourishing – which means everything from paper to rope is being produced domestically and locally. The economy is thriving because of this homegrown green plant. But I’m not talking about today’s burgeoning hemp marketplace: I was describing the marketplace in Virginia back in late 1600s.
“Hemp was the cash crop. We could grow some really good rope,” Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) told The News Station. “That’s what it was being used for predominantly, not exclusively, but predominantly, they were shipping the hemp down to Richmond to be made into rope so they didn’t have to buy from the English.”
Forget the English. Hemp is now back on U.S. soil. And sales have been booming since a bipartisan group of lawmakers legalized the plant back in 2018 – which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell helped usher through Congress even as at the time he told me marijuana’s the “illicit cousin” of hemp.
But even with hemp and CBD (which are the oils inside of hemp plants that are now sold at coffee shops, all over the Internet, bars, and restaurants, etc.) now legal, there are still hiccups in this new world of greenery.
Griffith is the lead GOP sponsor, along with Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), of the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020, orH.R. 8179. The legislation would simply allow CBD to be used for dietary supplements.
“I don’t even understand why we’re messing with, you know, stuff that doesn’t even have a THC level above .03,” Griffith bemoaned. “I mean, it’s inert.”
The congressman opposes recreational cannabis, but he’s also one of the loudest Republicans in Congress calling to loosen regulations on simply researching CBD and marijuana.
“We’ve got to quit being crazy when it comes to marijuana and hemp products,” Griffith said. “I want more research.”
And Griffith knows supplements are just a drop in the bucket.
“It helps in in many ways legitimate the potential medicinal use. Supplements aren’t a medicine, but it starts to make it look like it’s something that is legitimate in the healthcare arena,” Griffith said.
Griffith knows this new piece of legislation won’t upend business as usual in Washington, but he also thinks each step taken to normalize CBD and medicinal marijuana are crucial.
“I think it’s a step. I don’t think it’s a game changer,” Griffith said. “I think it’s a decent little bill, and I think it’s one that will, if passed, I think it will move things forward. But again, I don’t think it’s earthshattering, but it is moving the ball forward.”