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General Assembly passes bill to legalize industrial hemp

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A bill to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in Indiana is headed to Gov. Mike Pence after it passed the House on Wednesday night and the Senate on Thursday.

Democratic Sen. Richard Young of Milltown said that over a period of years Senate Bill 357 would have a large impact by providing Indiana with hundreds or even thousands of jobs, especially in agriculture.

“While the cultivation and production of industrial hemp will create jobs in the agricultural sector, the current costs of importing and transporting hemp from countries like Canada prevent our manufacturers from really prospering while making hemp products,” Young said in a press release.

“Producing hemp in the state will cut those costs and help our manufacturers create jobs,” he said.

Young said industrial hemp products could be made right now but it’s expensive to import hemp from out of the country. He said manufacturers in Indiana choose to use other products instead. But being able to grow hemp right next to industrial facilities will cut down on the transportation costs and make it really cost-effective.

Industrial hemp has numerous uses, including medicines, textiles, ropes, paper products, plastics, automotive factory material and building materials. Hemp and marijuana both come from the same species of plant, cannabis, but hemp lacks the intoxicating effects of marijuana.

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, noted it could be an alternative crop for farmers because it grows wild and doesn’t need “all that fertilizer and all that stuff that we have to so carefully tend corn and beans.”

Both Young and Tallian noted hemp’s ability to act as an alternative to corn and beans.

“If you’ve got another crop that you can grow instead of corn and soy beans then it’ll help to hold the market up on corn and soy beans,” Young said.

Young said there are bills in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives to do away with the prohibition on industrial hemp.

Ten states have already passed legislation to legalize the production of industrial hemp but it remains against federal law. However, the farm bill recently passed by Congress allows some experimentation that could eventually lead to federal approval.

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  • Oh, Jack...
    Let's get real. It's not at all amazing that they managed to pass this, along with a host of other things, at the last second. Don't want to miss last-call at St. Elmo's, the last day this year that we are picking up the tab!!!
  • Astonshing
    I can't believe it, the Indiana General Assembly actually found the courage to nullify an unconstitutional federal law! Quite surprised Speaker Bosma and Senate Pre, Pro Tem Long would allow something this "revolutionary" to happen under their watch.
  • The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure.
    The "War on Marijuana" has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful "War on Drugs" that has cost our country over a trillion dollars. Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our tax dollars fighting a never ending "War on Marijuana", lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It's a no brainer. The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason? Marijuana is much safer, and healthier to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink? Let's end this hypocrisy now! The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less "crimes" because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune. Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that's approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it! Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

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