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

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

By    |   Monday, 23 Nov 2015 05:26 PM

During the past 15 years, states, including Tennessee, have begun legalizing hemp production for industrial and commercial purposes, going against the decades-long ban on the plant, which is related to cannabis, the plant used in marijuana production. Hemp, unlike its high-inducing relative, is strictly a cash crop, used for centuries in the production of products such as building materials.

The federal government eased its ban with the 2014 Farm Bill, but even before that several states were legalizing hemp production and setting up programs to regulate industrial hemp farming. The following people and organizations playing key roles in legalizing the crop in Tennessee.

Urgent: Should Marijuana Be Legalized in All States?

1. State Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby)
In 2014, State Rep. Jeremy Faison introduced House Bill 2445, which legalized hemp production not only for research purposes, but also for commercial use. It also legalized the possession and sale of the plant. At the time, the federal government had not eased restrictions on hemp production, which Faison addressed when speaking to The Jefferson County Post. He said: "Because there is regulation of this product on the federal level as well, we would have to wait to utilize it. But by addressing the issue here, we can send a message to Washington that this decision rests with the states."

2. State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains)
State Sen. Frank Niceley co-sponsored HB 2445 along with Rep. Faison, and has frequently spoken out in support of legalizing industrial hemp farming in the state. He has also spoken out about the difficulties farmers face when attempting to obtain permission for hemp farming from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In 2015, he told Tennessee newspaper Knoxville News Sentinel: "All we want to do is just lift that ban on raising and let us compete with Canadian farmers, Chinese farmers. And for some reason the DEA in Washington will not give us a number so we can buy our seed from Canada."

3. The University of Tennessee
In many states, local colleges and universities are among the first to apply for industrial hemp farming permits. As the Knoxville News Sentinel reported in 2015, the University of Tennessee secured a permit for a 1-acre plot to test several varieties of hemp to determine how well each grows in the state's soil and environment.

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During the past 15 years, states, including Tennessee, have begun legalizing hemp production for industrial and commercial purposes, going against the decades-long ban on the plant, which is related to cannabis, the plant used in marijuana production.
industrial hemp farming, Tennessee, key players
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2015-26-23
Monday, 23 Nov 2015 05:26 PM
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