Sunday, June 19, 2016

Industrial hemp finally being legalized !

Hemp used to be a staple crop across the American countryside, but fell out of favor in the 1930s and 1940s when it got swept up in a national marijuana crackdown. While the two have a biological connection, the hemp plant grown for its fibers and oils contains only trace levels of the chemical in the cannabis plant that induces the psychoactive high for marijuana users.

At least 20 states have legalized industrial hemp production under prescribed limitations and that is commonly tied to research activities, according to National Conference of State Legislatures data. Few are as ambitious as Kentucky where Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said last month his goal was to make the state “synonymous with hemp like Idaho with potatoes.” There, 121 hemp research projects have been approved for plant growth on more than 1,700 total acres.

In neighboring Tennessee, 46 producers have begun growing the crop after the state received federal clearance to import seeds this spring, said Corinne Gould, spokeswoman for Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture.

A once-banished crop could soon sprout legally again in select Minnesota farm fields: hemp plants that lead to oils, lotions, seeds, rope fibers and other industrial uses.

Minnesota lawmakers approved the “Industrial Hemp Development Act” this month, making theirs the latest among an expanding network of states to reconsider the commodity potential of the cannabis cousin to marijuana. But don’t bet on a sudden hemp boom because federal restrictions on cultivation and sales are prompting a cautious approach from Minnesota regulators.

(Hemp for Victory 1942)

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