As New York’s industrial hemp program progresses, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo received a national award for her leadership in helping create this new industry in the New York State. Vote Hemp, a leading advocacy group for industrial hemp in the nation, named Lupardo its National Legislator of the Year during the Hemp Industry Association’s annual conference last month.
“I’m honored to receive this award,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “Industrial hemp has the potential to transform agriculture and manufacturing in New York and across the nation. Through the state’s pilot program, we are positioning farmers and businesses to take advantage of this crop when full-scale production is permitted by the federal government.”
Industrial hemp is a low-THC variety of the cannabis plant, grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. Unfortunately, all cannabis plants are classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States under the Controlled Substances Act. Unlike marijuana, another cannabis variety, industrial hemp has less than .3% of THC and has no recreational value whatsoever.
Section 7606 of 2014 US Farm Bill permits the growth of hemp for research purposes in states that have passed laws to allow it. Later that year, Assemblywoman Lupardo introduced and passed a bill creating New York’s program. In 2016, the state’s first hemp seeds were planted in nearly 80 years at JD Farms in Eaton, New York under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program. Lupardo then authored and passed another bill that allows for the transportation, processing, sale, and distribution of hemp grown under the program.
In addition to legislation she’s championed, Lupardo also introduced an Assembly resolution which calls on Congress to pass the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, the federal bill that would permit full-scale production.
“Assemblywoman Lupardo stands out as a leader in support for industrial hemp and its progress as a key domestic crop,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “She has been committed to passage of pro-hemp policies since 2014. Not only has the Assemblywoman sponsored successful hemp legislation, but she exhibits dedication to hemp awareness and education.”
The stalk, seeds, leaves, and roots from the industrial hemp plant can be used in the production of a variety of goods including textiles, building materials, paper, food, and environmental products such as biofuels. It is a source of cannabidiol, a chemical compound used in some medical marijuana applications, and is also rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, which gives it numerous health benefits to both humans and animals. According to a 2015 report, retail sales from imported hemp raw materials and products were estimated at $600 million in the United States.