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Lawmakers Approve Indiana Hemp Bill

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Among the bills sent to Governor Mike Pence this legislative session was one that would allow the cultivation and production of industrial hemp in Indiana. Milltown State Senator Democrat Richard Young says his proposal, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 357, can be a vital economic tool if the federal government decides to ends its prohibition on hemp. The farm bill approved by Congress would let universities and agriculture departments research it in states where it's already legal. Young says southern Indiana produced industrial hemp rope as part of the war effort during World War II when the United States encouraged all farmers to grow hemp, but the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 lumped industrial hemp with marijuana and outlawed production of both. Hemp, a non-drug cousin of marijuana, can be used in the production of a variety of products including food, paper, fuel, textiles and plastics.  SEA 357 also sets additional provisions providing for appropriate oversight from the Office of the Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner, as well as the Indiana State Police. Individuals interested in growing hemp would be required to obtain a license and would be subject to periodic inspections.  “This is an opportunity for Indiana to be on the forefront of developing an agricultural commodity that will put Indiana on the map and allow our farmers to grow and profit from industrial hemp,” said Senator Young.


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