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Sun Nov 10, 2013, 03:33 PM

(OR) Industrial hemp in Oregon: U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer urges Oregon to be national leader on hemp

Oregon should be a national leader in industrial hemp production, which can fuel economic development in rural communities, inspire entrepreneurs and meet rising consumer demand, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said Saturday.

"I think the stakes are high for Oregon," Blumenauer told a group of industrial hemp supporters at a forum he organized in Portland Saturday.

The Portland Democrat, an outspoken advocate of industrial hemp, said momentum is building for the crop in Oregon and in other states. He pointed to a letter he received on Friday from Oregon's U.S. attorney, Amanda Marshall, as a positive step for hemp production in the state.

In the letter, Marshall did not explicitly sign off on hemp production, but she wrote that the federal government expects states that legalize cannabis for industrial or medical purposes "will establish and enforce strict regulatory schemes that protect" the federal government's priorities when it comes to marijuana.

She said federal officials expect states to create "tough" rules and to fund enforcement.

"These schemes must be tough in practice, not just on paper," she wrote. "They must include strong, state based-enforcement efforts backed by adequate funding. We will take a trust but verify approach.


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