State Representative Jeremy Faison Files Pro-Hemp, Pro-Jobs Legislation

 State Representative Jeremy Faison (R–Cosby) announced this week he has filed legislation to legalize the growth of hemp in Tennessee.

Currently, because of federal guidelines, the cultivation of hemp in our state is illegal, despite numerous studies that have shown hemp production would be a multi-million dollar per year industry and would create thousands of jobs across Tennessee.

“One of the bills I plan to file, after doing copious amounts of research, would legalize the process of growing hemp in Tennessee,” said Representative Jeremy Faison. “Because there is regulation of this product on the federal level as well, we would have to wait to utilize it. But by addressing the issue here, we can send a message to Washington that this decision rests with the states.”

Many people mistakenly associate the hemp plant with the marijuana plant. However, they are two very different species of the cannabis plant—much as Chihuahuas and wolves are different breeds of Canis lupus. Hemp is a fiber that is made from the stalk of the plant and has thousands of commercial industrial uses. Additionally, the two are scientifically different and cultivated in very different ways.

“From the birth of our country, hemp has played a major role. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp, likely because of its many uses. Our first United States flag was made of hemp fabric. And because plastics can be strengthened with hemp, it is used in thousands of different ways, including insulation, carpeting, paneling, and even most Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen vehicles, which are also produced right here in Tennessee,” Faison continued.

According to a report by Renee Johnson and the Congressional Research Service issued July 24, 2013, there are thousands of products and uses for the Hemp plant in the commercial industry.

“To me, the research is clear. If something will benefit the environment, our farmers, our production, our manufacturing, and our economy, we should be exploring it. The United States, and Tennessee, is missing out on potentially millions of dollars because of the over-regulation of this product. Tennessee should set an example and be one of the pioneers in America to obtain the most out of this God-given plant,” concluded Faison.

Jeremy Faison is Vice-Chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee. He lives in Cosby and represents District 11 in the Tennessee General Assembly, which includes all of Cocke and portions of Jefferson and Greene Counties. He can be reached by email at Rep.Jeremy.Faison@capitol.tn.gov or by calling 1-800-449-8366, ext. 16871.

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