Amatucci's Mission to Legalize Hemp
By listening to the passion in his voice, you can tell that Jason is on a mission. After discovering the knowledge he has and the actions he has already taken, you can bet your last dollar Jason will succeed in his mission. Jason Amatucci, the Founder & Executive Director of Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition, has co-written legislation “that will enable the legal cultivation of one of the world’s most versatile and valuable natural resources, Industrial Hemp.”
Jason believes that “everything happens for a reason” and that is exactly why he has been able to make great use of his time after moving back home to Virginia after spending more than a decade in Athens, Georgia, where he still & always will have roots, as well. Jason, a hands on father of a 3 year old daughter, is also the co-owner of Virginia Boxwood Company, which is dedicated to providing a sustainable service that maintains, cultivates & harvests Boxwood found in the Virginia area. The Amatucci Family considers “the delicate task of caring for and harvesting boxwood as a form of stewardship, which carries on the tradition of decorative boxwood” dating back to the 1700’s.
Jason has found time in his extremely busy schedule to help the hemp movement because he wants the politicians to “respect our citizens and not act like they will do something they aren’t supposed to do.” Jason believes this lack of trust of the American farmer and citizen is due to “misinformation & a misunderstanding” about exactly what hemp really is and the benefits it can produce. He believes this misunderstanding has led to an unnecessary “over regulation of the hemp industry”.
Jason Amatucci believes hemp has “superior & sustainable attributes” compared to a lot of other products that hemp competes with in an open market. Because of these positive qualities, Jason says, “Hemp should be treated like any other cash crop grown in America such as corn, wheat and soybeans” and he fully agrees with the statement made by James Woolsey, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, when he said that legalizing hemp is “a matter of national security”. Jason added, “America should be using this great resource. If not, we are not as strong as we can and should be.”
So exactly how did Jason Amatucci and his team at the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition get hemp pushed towards legalization in Virginia and the rest of America? He did what all American citizens can do. He became an advocate and started lobbying the people that make a difference such as U.S. Congressman, Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who sits on the very powerful Judiciary Committee. By removing fact from fiction, Jason was able to get Congressman Goodlatte to see in great detail why hemp is a “sustainable, nontoxic & extremely beneficial resource for the American economy.”
Mr. Goodlatte came to realize that a majority of the hemp used in the United States of America was imported from other countries that did not have the same laws against farming hemp, and that the current laws were stifling the potential for huge economic advancements here in the USA. Although against the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, Rep. Goodlatte agreed to co-sponsor H.R. 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, which would remove industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Inspired by the knowledge Jason bestowed upon him, Rep. Goodlatte has now become a vocal proponent for hemp legalization and according to Jason, Rep Goodlatte is actively “helping others understand our cause and get on the right side of the issue.”
According to Mr. Amatucci, Bill H.R. 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, which he helped draft, is “currently waiting to have a hearing and go to a vote in the House Judiciary Subcommittee and the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee. Jason said, “Unfortunately, changing the federal Industrial Hemp law is not at the top of their priority list”, which means that “we must wait until the Chairmen of those subcommittees decide to bring up the bill.” On the bright side, Jason does believe that once brought to a vote that Bill H.R. 3530 has a good chance of passing because “there was a process of building consensus with the bill, which got input from many stakeholders.”
According to Jason, Virginia, which grew over 80 acres of Hemp in 2017, “legalized growing hemp for hemp research programs in 2015” and “legalized commercial hemp farming in 2016 but (farmers) have to wait until federal law takes it off the Controlled Substances Act” to begin farming hemp for commercial purposes. Jason believes that the legalization of hemp farming at the federal level “is one of the most important issues facing our society today. It combines justice, environmental and economic issues at the heart of the problems we face as a society.” He says that his organization and the people they represent are “not asking for special handouts or favors” but that they just “want a level playing field” so that they “can compete with other products on the market.”
Jason said the reason he thinks a medicine like marijuana and a cash crop like hemp are not yet legalized nationwide is because “there is a lot of willful ignorance on this subject by some in positions of power. Many aspects of the natural aspects of cannabis directly compete with many patented industries. Crony capitalism is alive and well in America and this falls into that category.”
When asked what message he most wanted people to hear, Jason replied, “Industrial hemp is an issue that should be at the top of the list for everyone. It’s often ignored. We need more attention and resources. It truly can help create jobs and help heal the environment and get us on a sustainable path to economic and environmental growth.”
Though facing many challenging hurdles in his quest for hemp legalization, Jason remains upbeat and optimistic. When asked if he foresaw cannabis and hemp being legalized he replied, “It’s only a matter of time. The public is in support of this. It’s just a matter of politicians catching up to public majority opinion.”
To learn more about the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition, please visit: www.vahemp.org
Article sponsored by: www.lionz.org