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Rising From the Farm Bill's Ashes: Hemp

Amendment to legalize it for research purposes passed, and it will be raised again
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2013 1:11 PM CDT
Rising From the Farm Bill's Ashes: Hemp
A 1942 photo shows hemp growing in Fayette County in central Kentucky.   (AP Photo/Louisville Courier-Journal)

It's looking more and more likely that US farmers will be getting back into the hemp-growing business. The latest hopeful sign for advocates came when the House passed an amendment that would make it legal for universities to grow hemp for research purposes—an important step if farmers ever hope to make it a successful agricultural crop, reports the Wonkblog at the Washington Post. The bad news is that the amendment was part of the larger farm bill, which unexpectedly failed.

But sponsor Jared Polis of Colorado says he's so encouraged by the 225-200 vote that he will tack the hemp amendment onto some kind of agricultural bill in the near future, or even make it a standalone measure. What he and other advocates—including Mitch McConnell, from farm state Kentucky—are talking about is industrial hemp, which has low levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It can be used in the manufacture of a wide variety of projects, but the DEA remains worried about its use as a drug. In fact, the Huffington Post obtained the talking points that the DEA circulated to members of Congress as it tried to kill the farm bill amendment. They seemed to fall on deaf ears. (More hemp stories.)

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