Legal Hemp Cultivation Gets Boost From Pending Farm Bill
Legal cultivation of hemp—a cousin of marijuana used to make everything from fabrics to pharmaceuticals—is closer to becoming reality as a result of a provision tucked into the farm bill that passed the House last week.
Federal law effectively prohibits the cultivation of hemp, making no distinction between that plant and marijuana, which is much more potent. However, nine states have passed laws legalizing industrial hemp farming, including California, Kentucky and Vermont, according to Vote Hemp, a not-for-profit advocacy group.
If the legislation becomes law, universities and agriculture departments in those states would be able to grow it for research purposes, with the hope that commercial production could be on the horizon. Permits to grow hemp for research purposes are technically available now, though they are extremely difficult to get.