Texas Rep. Ron Paul praised the industrial crop hemp during a campaign stop in North Dakota on Monday.
"There is no reason, in a free society, that farmers shouldn't be allowed to raise hemp," Paul said, according to the Associated Press. "Hemp is a good product."
Hemp, a crop related to marijuana, is grown in Canada and other countries to make textiles and numerous other goods. But in the United States the cultivation of hemp is prohibited by federal law, even though it has little to no psychoactive effects.
Paul and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced legislation in 2009 that would have legalized the cultivation of hemp. But the bill never made it out of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
"It is unfortunate that the federal government has stood in the way of American farmers, including many who are struggling to make ends meet, from competing in the global industrial hemp market," Paul said in 2009.
"The founders of our nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited, restrained federal government."