INDIANAPOLIS, IN — An Indiana state Senator has introduced a bill to authorize industrial hemp cultivation by the state’s farmers.
Senate Bill 357, introduced by Sen. Richard D. Young (D), would authorize the Department of Agriculture to license the cultivation and production of industrial hemp, pending federal approval.
The bill would also licensing requirements and authorize the Indiana State Police to inspect licensed hemp crops for compliance with the program.
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
If the bill passes, the state would need to apply to the federal government for a waiver to allow the state to grow industrial hemp, which is currently banned by the United States Controlled Substances Act.
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only trace (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.
Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing.
Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.
The world’s leader in hemp production is China.