More States Moving to Legalize Industrial Hemp Farming
by Elizabeth Nolan Brown,
Though you can purchase hemp foods and products in America, growing hemp—the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana—has been illegal here for decades. But as part of this year’s farm bill, Congress approved the growing of hemp by universities and state agriculture departments, for research purposes, in states that permit it.
It’s a small step, but it’s something. Since the new farm bill’s passage, states where hemp farming was totally prohibited have been moving quickly to loosen their rules.
Overall, 25 states have considered industrial hemp legislation in 2014, according to Vote Hemp. Thirteen states—California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia—now allow industrial hemp farming for research and/or commercial purposes.
Hawaii passed a bill this week authorizing the University of Hawaii to grow and research hemp. New York is currently considering a bill to allow universities to grow hemp for research purposes, and similar bills have been under consideration recently in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Washington.
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