Hemp is a very versatile plant. Once upon a time in America, hemp grew all over the place, and was used for many things including clothing, rope, and paper. Numerous states have passed some form of hemp reform and a shift in federal enforcement policies have opened the door for more states to pursue hemp if they desire and follow certain rules. Of course, federal enforcement policy could change back at any time, so full federal reform should still be pursued, but these are pretty amazing times in the world of hemp policy.
An initiative has started in Arizona that would legalize hemp. Per Whaxy:
At this time, Arizona does not permit farmers to cultivate hemp, but a the organization, known as Hemp Our World, is aiming to change that. The group is mobilizing now to collect the more than 150,000 signatures required to place a measure on the 2016 ballot. The signatures must be collected and submitted by July 2016.
The initiative organizer, Christian Carrasco, told the Arizona Daily Star that the inspiration for this came from the measures recently approved in Colorado and Kentucky. Between now election day 2016, the organization plans to share knowledge and educate voters in Arizona so that they are able to make informed decisions. They are worried that people may confuse a hemp amendment with a recreational marijuana measure, and vote against it out of confusion.
According to Arizona representative Sonny Borrelli, however, this type of legislation may pass when the legislature reconvenes in 2015. He pushed for legalizing hemp cultivation last year with no success. Next year may be different, however, because the Arizona Farm Bureau recently approved the development, production and distribution of industrial hemp in the state with the goal of developing an ideal strain to plant as a cash crop.
In a perfect scenario, the Arizona Legislature would pass hemp reform and save activists a lot of time and money. However, activists should bank on the Arizona Legislature stepping up, so gathering signatures in the meantime is something that should still happen. If you are in Arizona, I urge you to volunteer for the effort. A solid hemp industry will help farmers who have been hurting for many years now.