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Legalizing Weed: Facts About Maine's Legalization of Industrial Hemp Farming

By    |   Tuesday, 26 Jan 2016 07:29 PM

A new law legalizing industrial hemp cultivation in Maine is in effect after the legislature in June 2015 overrode a veto by Gov. Paul LePage.

The new law authorizes individuals and businesses to engage in the farming, production, and commerce of hemp in Maine, and not just planting crops for research purposes, as is the case in other states such as Kentucky.

VOTE NOW: Is Maine Gov. Paul LePage Doing a Good Job?

The new law also allows growers to purchase hemp seeds from any certified seed source, rather than only approved Canadian producers, as originally introduced in the first version of the bill.

Ann Gibbs, acting director of the Animal and Plant Health Division for the Maine Department of Agriculture, said federal Drug Enforcement Administration restrictions may make it difficult for Maine producers to import certified hemp seed for commercial use, which could impact efforts to plant, the Bangor Daily News reported.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, testified that Unity College has stepped forward to create a research program to develop a quality control program for industrial hemp seed that could provide farmers with the certified hemp seed varieties, which will grow in Maine soil.

“We have people in this state who are ready to make capital investments — real investments — in this (hemp) industry, capital investments that will create jobs and inject money into this economy,” Sanderson told the Portland Press Herald.

Hemp is classified as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act because it contains trace amounts of the same hallucinogen found in marijuana.

The Maine Farm Bureau testified that farmers felt that it could be another “value added” crop they could grow and add to their rotation.

URGENT: Should Marijuana Be Legalized in All States?

Maine is one of 13 states to establish a commercial industrial hemp program, but production is limited to pilot projects. The federal farm bill passed in 2014 opened the door for universities and state agriculture departments to begin cultivating hemp for research projects.

Supporters of legalizing hemp in Maine say it has many uses and production can help boost the agriculture industry, especially in struggling rural areas of the state. Hemp can be used to make numerous products, including fabric, food, fuel, plastics, construction material, and paper.

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A new law legalizing industrial hemp cultivation in Maine is in effect after the legislature in June 2015 overrode a veto by Gov. Paul LePage. The new law authorizes individuals and businesses to engage in the farming, production, and commerce of hemp in Maine.
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2016-29-26
Tuesday, 26 Jan 2016 07:29 PM
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