According to the National Conference for State Legislators, eight states have positive legislation to support cultivation of industrial hemp. From the webpage State Industrial Hemp Statutes, “Industrial hemp refers to many types of Cannabis plants that contain low levels of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and can be used to make a variety of products including textiles, plastics, fuel and food. However, the Federal Controlled Substances Act categorizes any product that contains THC, including industrial hemp, as a Schedule I drug.”
FlexForm Technologies produces a natural fiber composite using bast fiber and the natural fiber portion of the composite. Because bast fiber is a fundamental part of our product, we are very interested in bast fiber supply. We would be very pleased if we could sell a product to our customers that used North American fiber. Currently, there are no sources for quality bast fiber in North America. Industrial hemp is a bast fiber, and it is particularly suited to growing in varied climates around North America. In Canada, growing industrial hemp is legal. Canada is well at the forefront of this industry and poised to begin to supply clean bast fiber to the North American market within the next year. The United States is lagging far behind due to its legistlation prohibiting the cultivation of industrial hemp. Manufacturers in the US can import industrial hemp from other countries, but cannot use US fiber. Until the federal government changes its policies towards industrial hemp, there will not be significant growth of US fiber producers and processors.
There are a growing number of states that have enacted pro-industrial hemp legislation. These states are taking a proactive approach in recognizing the value of the crop to manufacturing and food supply. If you want to keep up with what each state is doing, please refer to The National Conference for State Legislators and the page listed above detailing each state and their statutes. It gives a brief statement on what each state has included in their legislation. It appears to be slightly out of date, as it does not include the recent California legislation, but it is a good source nonetheless for a nation wide look at this exciting trend.