Industrial Hemp has been illegal in the United States as long as its THC producing twin – and the plant has over 100 known uses as cloth material, as a cooking oil, and it was once a fundamental part of our country. While we see a lot surrounding the reform of laws for THC producing marijuana, the industrial plant doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.
Lawmakers in Washington recently passed a bill (unanimously in the House of Representatives and 48-1 in the Senate) which would have legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp plants for research purposes. It would also be setting up a program to keep track of the plants and allow Washington University to study the plant.
Unfortunately, after making it through both sides, the bill never stood a chance because the Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, decided to issue a large batch of vetoes in what appears to be a form of punishment since lawmakers have yet to settle on a budget.
“Given legislators’ inability to complete their number one job, I measured these bills against the importance of the budget and set a very high bar,” Inslee said in a written statement.
“I recognize this is perhaps the largest single batch of vetoes in history. None of these vetoed bills were as important as the fundamental responsibility of passing a budget. I continue to hope legislators will focus on negotiations and reach agreement as quickly as possible.”
This did not go unnoticed by those in the Farm Bureau who have been waiting and hoping for this bill to pass. As well as calling out the Governor on an “overstepped power play” and claiming that he failed to “be the grown-up in the room”, they also prodded at the Governor’s own opinions about saving the environment by saying he wasted all the fuel and electricity invested in the passing of these bills when he vetoed them.
“Our current governor continues to show an uncanny ability to drive a wedge between his office and legislators,” according to the Farm Bureau.
While it was clearly disappointing to many people throughout the state of Washington, the bill will likely have a second chance in the current 30 day session. Seeing as it passed through with ease the first time, the second should be a breeze as well. However, if they do not also pass a budget during this next 30 days, who is to say Inslee will not simply make the same move again?