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Heard on the Hill: Campaigning in the Weeds Works

Democrats might have taken a shellacking in the 2010 midterm elections, but the pro-hemp lobby was left completely unscathed.

Advocacy group Vote Hemp proudly announced Wednesday that all 25 Members of Congress who co-sponsored legislation to exclude industrialized hemp from being defined as marijuana were re-elected in November.

“Lawmakers should realize that supporting hemp farming cannot be considered a political liability, based on this year’s election results,” Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra says. “If anything, supporting hemp farming is a sure sign that a Member of Congress is going to be re-elected.”

Whoa, dude. That’s like, far out.

OK, we’ll stop with the stoner jokes. Supporters argue hemp shouldn’t be legally linked with its distant cousin, marijuana. It is used in a number of U.S.- made products, but the federal government restricts its cultivation, unnecessarily preventing American farmers from growing a profitable crop, one that is safe and environmentally friendly, advocates say.

Supporters are optimistic that hemp farming will be legalized. Bipartisan backers include Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen.-elect John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Steenstra says.

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