Tags: Marijuana Legalization | US State Facts | industrial hemp | Maine | key players

Legalizing Weed: Key Players in Maine's Legalization of Industrial Hemp Farming

By    |   Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 12:00 AM

Maine is among many states legalizing industrial hemp farming in recent years. The crop was banned by the federal government several decades ago, because it's related to cannabis, which is used to make marijuana. However, hemp is not a drug and contains only a small amount of the ingredient that induces a high. Hemp is instead used in manufacturing, which required United States companies to import it from countries that do allow industrial hemp farming.

Because of its value as a cash crop, states such as Maine have begun legalizing hemp for industrial purposes, with the following people supporting this effort. The state is one of the most recent to join the nationwide effort to legalize hemp farming, which gained momentum when the federal government eased restrictions with the 2014 Farm Bill.

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1. Rep. Deborah Sanderson (R-Chelsea)
Rep. Deborah Sanderson authored LD 4, which made it legal to grow hemp for industrial purposes, according to the Bangor Daily News. Sanderson told the paper "I am absolutely thrilled that this is now law," adding that "it got big support in both the House and the Senate. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle really showed their support for it."

2. Gov. Paul LePage
As the Bangor Daily News reported, Gov. Paul LePage vetoed LD 4, but his veto was overridden by the state legislature.

3. Maine Legislature
After Gov. LePage's veto, state lawmakers showed their support for the bill by overriding his veto, as reported by the Bangor Daily News. The House voted for the bill 135-6, with 10 members absent. The Senate approved it 28-6.

4. State Lawmakers
As the Bangor Daily News reported, state legislators from both parties publicly endorsed Sanderson's bill. They include Reps. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, Beth O'Connor, R-Berwick, and Michael Shaw, D-Standish.

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5. Jon Olson, Maine Farm Bureau
In 2015, Olson testified in front of the state's legislative committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, saying that his organization opposed the federal ban on hemp farming and saying of the state's farmers: "This could be a value-added crop that could help them," as quoted by the Bangor Daily News.

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Maine is among many states legalizing industrial hemp farming in recent years. The crop was banned by the federal government several decades ago, because it's related to cannabis, which is used to make marijuana.
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2016-00-24
Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 12:00 AM
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