California Legalizes Industrial Hemp Farming

A reaction from the federal government is still pending.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a landmark bill into law on September 28 to legalize industrial hemp farming in the state—as long as the U.S. Department of Justice gives the go-ahead. The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, or SB 566, was authored by Calif. Senator Mark Leno and allows farmers to cultivate hemp and sell seed, fibers, and oil to businesses and manufacturers, pending federal government approval.

The new industrial hemp legalization comes on the heels of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the federal government will not intervene in states that want to legalize and self-regulate cannabis. Officials and farmers alike are waiting on the U.S. Department of Justice to clarify whether Holder's announcement regarding cannabis extends to the hemp industry in addition to the recreational and medical marijuana industries.

Currently, as in the rest of the country, California companies that use hemp products import them from other nations. Hemp is the only crop that is illegal to cultivate, but legal to import and sell, in the U.S.

An independent hemp industry would open up a world of new economic potentials for the debt-stricken, but agriculturally savvy Golden State.

- Read the entire article at AlterNet.

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