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Legalizing Weed: 7 Facts About Virginia's Legalization of Industrial Hemp Farming

By    |   Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 02:38 AM

While there as been great debate around the country on marijuana, with some states legalizing weed in all its forms, Virginia has gone ahead with the legalization of industrial hemp, the "buzzless" commercial version of the cannabis sativa plant.

Industrial hemp, as it is usually called, has been an important part of the world economy for hundreds of years, providing rope, sails, textiles, oilseed, all manner of fiber products, and more.

It was grown in the American colonies from the earliest days, and didn't fall out of favor in the U.S. until the "Reefer Madness" days of the Depression. The federal government outlawed it just after World War II.

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The federal government still outlaws it, but loosened up restrictions when President Obama signed the Farm Bill of 2013, which allowed states to cultivate hemp for research purposes in institutes of higher learning.

Here are eight facts about industrial hemp legalization in Virginia:

1. The path to legalized industrial hemp in Virginia started as early as 1999 when the General Assembly passed Resolution No. 94, which petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the directors of Drug Enforcement Agency and the Office of National Drug Control Policy "to revise the necessary regulations so as to permit the controlled, experimental cultivation of industrial hemp in Virginia."

2. In 2015, the Virginia General Assembly passed unanimously Senate Bill 955 and House Bill 1277, effective July 1, which "allowed for the cultivation of industrial hemp by licensed growers of industrial hemp as part of a university-managed research program."

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3. The first universities in the state to sumbit applications for conducting hemp research were James Madison, Virginia State, and Virginia Tech, according to WTVR.

4. In 2016, Senate Bill 691 and House Bill 699 were signed into law by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The legislation removed "any criminal penalties for growing industrial hemp or for making any products from it," according to Marijuana Business Daily.

5. All seeds must to cultivate industrial hemp must come the Virginia Department of Agriculture.

6. Farmers must be associated with a hemp research program at a public institution of higher learning, WTVR reported.

7. A background check is required to obtain a license, according to Commonwealth Hemp.

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While there as been great debate around the country on marijuana, with some states legalizing weed in all its forms, Virginia has gone ahead with the legalization of industrial hemp, the "buzzless" commercial version of the cannabis sativa plant.
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2016-38-10
Thursday, 10 Mar 2016 02:38 AM
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