Industrial hemp is an important agricultural commodity, not a drug,” says U.S. Representative Jared Polis, D-Colo. To prove it, Polis and two other House members helped pass an amendment to H.R. 1947, the Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act, that would allow colleges and universities to cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal. The goal is to allow academic researchers to provide data about the potential benefits and risks of using hemp to manufacture paper, clothing, rope or biofuels. “Allowing academic research is an important first step toward returning industrial hemp cultivation to American farms,” says Grant Smith, policy manager with the Drug Policy Alliance. The amendment passed on June 20 on a vote of 225 to 200. To follow the progress of the hemp amendment, visit House of Representatives News.