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Farm bill provision legalizes industrial hemp production


FARGO (KFGO-AM) A provision clearing the way for production of industrial hemp is among hundred's of policy and spending details contained in the new farm bill.

Hemp, produced in other countries, is used for everything from food to diapers and medicine but has been banned in the U.S. for decades because the crop was classified as a controlled substance.

The measure authorizes land grant universities to grow industrial hemp for research in states that have laws on the books that permit growth and cultivation. North Dakota is one of the few states that have legalized industrial hemp farming.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says the change could mean good things for state producers looking for a new cash crop. Goehring says federal restrictions made it impossible to grow hemp despite the fact legislators gave it the go-ahead. Goehring says this is a step in the right direction because it will offer more crop diversity. The farm bill still faces a Senate vote next week.