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House Committee Approves Hemp Bill

Jacob Redmond

New Member
Efforts to legalize growing hemp in the state of Minnesota moved forward this week when bill HF683 was approved without opposition by the House Agriculture Policy Committee.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, Minnesota, would make industrial hemp a legal agricultural crop if planted, grown and harvested in accordance with state law. Currently, it's legal to sell products made from hemp in Minnesota, but the plant can't be legally grown there. Hemp seeds and oil can be used to make a number of products, from foods and fabrics to paper and fuel.

The bill also would legalize possession of industrial hemp if produced by a licensed grower, and the state would need to regulate it in the same way plants and nursery stock are currently regulated, according to The Session Daily, an online news service from the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Franson said hemp is unfairly confused with marijuana and during World War II, Minnesota was one of the largest domestic producers of industrial hemp.

"We've lost a great deal of time and economic opportunity on hemp due to confusion, disinformation and confounding public policy," Franson said. "This bill seeks to develop, on a very small scale, the foundations and information necessary in developing new opportunities and applications for hemp in Minnesota, benefitting our state and rural economies."

If someone were to grow industrial hemp without being licensed, they would be guilty of a misdemeanor under the bill's regulations.

Section 7606 of the federal farm bill, about the legitimacy of industrial hemp research, is the basis of Franson's legislation. The bill would also authorize the Department of Agriculture and higher education institutions to study the benefits and opportunities industrial hemp could provide.

The Session Daily reports the Minnesota Farmers Union strongly supports the bill and other states including Colorado, Kentucky and Washington are moving forward on the issue.

The bill now moves on to the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee.



News Moderator: Jacob Redmond 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: House committee approves hemp bill - The Daily News: News
Author: Carrie McDermott
Contact: Letter to the Editor
Photo Credit: None Found
Website: The Daily News: Wahpeton, North Dakota and Breckenridge, Minnesota
 
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