Despite the federal government’s ban on hemp production, a THC-free cannabis trend is gaining some momentum across the United States, with even the ultra conservative armpit of America making efforts to cash in on marijuana’s boring cousin.
The Indiana legislature recently approved a measure aimed at legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp in the Hoosier state. In February, Senate Bill 357 passed by way of unanimous vote in the state senate, and then through the House of Representatives in a vote of 93-4, earlier last week.
The measure now advances to the desk of Republican Governor Mike Pence for his seal of final approval.
If the governor signs this bill into law, Indiana farmers would have the green light to begin cultivating industrial hemp as well as manufacture hemp-related products, including CBD oils used to treat children with epileptic seizures. That is as soon as the feds decide to repeal its current outlaw status, once and for all, and revitalize this cash crop for the first time since 1937.
Marijuana activists say the Indiana legislature is hell bent on fast tracking this bill and nothing will stand in the way of it becoming law.
“This was a corporate backed bill with the farmers union holding hands,” said Bill Levin, cannabis lobbyist with Re-Legalize Indiana. “It was a pre greased bill — meaning it was agreed behind closed doors that everyone pass it. There was no Democratic-Republican fight on this bill at all.”
Under this bill, hemp production would be heavily regulated by state law enforcement agencies to ensure farmers are not producing a crop with more than 3-percent THC. In spite of this hemp bill not being the most sought after piece of legislation in the eyes of Hoosier pot proponents, most agree hemp manufacturing will be very good for Indiana.
“Our farmers will be able to grow more money per acre than before; our companies have to pay less shipping and all the new companies that will blossom from hemp textiles is going to be ground breaking,” said Levin. “The first person with a machine that makes thread from hemp clearly wins here in Indiana, as do the fuel producers and animal feed companies. We have by default a very gourmet natural hemp seed here in Indiana — big fat and juicy fill with all sorts of good omega 3s.”
Levin says Governor Pence will undoubtedly pass this measure into law, “Like a greased chimp… this bill has been greased from the top,” he said.