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Davids Supports Industrial Hemp Bill In Minnesota


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A local state lawmaker has co-sponsored a bill that would allow farmers to grow hemp for industrial purposes.

Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, is one of six Republicans signed on to a bi-partisan proposal that would allow growing certain varieties of Cannabis sativa for the plant's fibers - used to make everything from clothing to fuel.

"Industrial hemp grows so quickly and so tall," Davids said. "It can be a very highly valued cash crop."

One of the biggest challenges with starting up hemp production in Minnesota would be finding a market for a plant that is currently illegal, said Eunice Biel, president of the Fillmore County Farmers Union.

Still, Biel's group supports the bill. Hemp could become another crop to add to a fairly limited rotation for area farmers, she said.

Only plants with a mere trace of the potent chemical prized by marijuana users would be allowed, but the bill has little chance of becoming law, Davids said. The bill has no companion in the Senate.

Hemp production was outlawed by federal anti-drug laws in 1939, but farmers and hemp mills were issued special permits during World War II to make rope for the war effort. Before the laws changed, 902 E. 2nd St. in Winona was home to a hemp mill named Cannabis Incorporated.

That location also became home to Winona Knitting Mills, and currently houses the Winona Daily News.

In 1940, Wisconsin produced 80 percent of the nation's hemp supply - cranking out 1.8 million pounds in one year. By 1947, the last of Minnesota's hemp facilities were put up for sale as part of post-war efforts to stabilize the economy.

NewsHawk: MedicalNeed: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: lacrossetribune.com
Author: Patrick B. Anderson
Contact: La Crosse Tribune - LaCrosse News Source
Copyright: 2011 lacrossetribune.com
Website: Davids supports industrial hemp bill in Minnesota
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