California legislator Strom-Martin to push industrial hemp as legal cash crop

provided by California State Assembly Democratic Caucus

n an attempt to reestablish California as an agricultural leader, Assemblymember Virginia Strom-Martin (D-Duncans Mills) has introduced Assembly Bill 448 that would legalize the production of industrial hemp. The production of industrial hemp is currently legal in more than 25 countries, including Canada, France, Germany and China, and more than twelve states have passed or are in the process of passing legislation to legalize industrial hemp.

    “Industrial hemp could be of immense benefit to both the economy and the environment of the North Coast and rural California in general,” Strom-Martin said. “We simply have to deal rationally rather than hysterically with a crop whose promise is great and time has come.”

    Industrial hemp is a versatile crop that has a number of uses and requires very little maintenance. Virtually all parts of the plant can be used to produce a number of products like paper, textiles, food, building materials, and a variety of other industrial and commercial products, including fuel. In addition to its uses, industrial hemp also boasts an agricultural benefit as a significant rotation crop with an ability to reduce pests and weed growth and to boost the yields of the primary crop. California's climate would allow for three harvestable crops a year.

    “Today industrial hemp offers a very real and immediate solution to deforestation, the abuses of the petrochemical industry, and the destruction of our topsoil,” Strom-Martin said. “Hemp is an untapped source of revenue for the state and it is absolutely ridiculous that the sole reason for its illegality is because of absurd claims made at the height of this nation's 'yellow journalism' era.”

    The production of industrial hemp was outlawed in 1937 after a campaign of misinformation promulgated by the Hearst newspaper's chain. Industrial hemp was and still is confused with marijuana. In fact, hemp contains only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The amount of THC in hemp is so minute that one would die of lung failure before ever attaining any sort of high. The Drug Enforcement Agency is currently reviewing its position and policies on industrial hemp because it is so widely imported in to the United States

    In 1998, Assemblymember Strom-Martin successfully authored House Resolution 32, which urged the Legislature to reconsider its position on the status of industrial hemp.

    More information is available on Industrial Hemp at

    More information on AB 448 is available as follows:

    Bill number: AB 448. Introduced bill text: Current bill status: bill history: