A pair of Minnesota legislators teamed up this week to introduce a bipartisan bill aimed at creating an industrial hemp production industry in the state.
Reps. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) and Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) introduced HF 736—also known as the "Industrial Hemp Development Act"—which aims to develop the use of industrial hemp to "improve the state's economy and agricultural vitality."
Industrial hemp, as defined in the legislation, includes all parts and varieties of the plant Cannabis sativa L containing less than three-tenths percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp plants can be used to create fabrics, plastics, paper, ropes and other merchandise.
While it's perfectly legal to own, purchase or sell hemp products in the U.S., industrial hemp growth is still banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a controlled substance. That hasn't stopped a handful of U.S. states like Kentucky, Washington and North Dakota from proposing similar legislation to license the technically illegal industry.
Franson and Kahn's bill claims the production of industrial hemp can be regulated to the point that it won't interfere with the "strict regulation of controlled substances in this state."
"The purpose of the Industrial Hemp Development Act is to promote the state economy and agriculture industry by permitting the development of a regulated industrial hemp industry while maintaining strict control of marijuana," the bill reads.
Minnesotans would have to apply to the commissioner of agriculture to be able to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes, including a full background check by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Patch wants to know what you think about the proposed legislation. Would it create issues for law enforcement personnel tasked with controlling marijuana in the state? Or does it simply bring a potentially beneficial industry to Minnesota? Share your thoughts in the comments below.