Industrial Hemp Development Act Introduced

ST.PAUL, MN. – On Wednesday, the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee heard and passed legislation chief authored by Senator Kent Eken (DFL- Twin Valley) concerning the regulation of industrial hemp production and research in Minnesota.

During WWII, industrial hemp was a widely produced crop used to support the war effort. In fact Minnesota was a national leader in hemp production. After WWII, hemp was banned due to its resemblance to marijuana. Banning industrial hemp for its resemblance to marijuana would be similar to throwing someone into jail for resembling a cousin who committed a crime; although they are related, industrial hemp is not marijuana and you cannot get high from it.

Eken says industrial hemp in Minnesota is an economic opportunity for the state through both farming and manufacturing. “Hemp can be used for many purposes such as foods, paper, rope, clothing, building materials, plastics – it really is limitless.” Another benefit to growing hemp is that it can be grown on land otherwise unusable for common Minnesota crops like corn or soybeans. “We can invest in this industry and make it become a valuable asset across the state,” said Eken. Currently, hemp products are legal to sell, use and consume in the US, but must be imported from countries where the plant is legal to grow and process, such as Canada and China. Sen. Eken is carrying legislation that if passed would allow Minnesota to join a growing list of states which currently have laws allowing for hemp pilot studies.

“I’m pleased to have bipartisan support for this exciting economic opportunity,” added Sen. Eken.

The bill passed through the Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and will be moving on to the Judiciary Committee.

For information on this or any legislation, please contact Sen. Kent Eken at 651-296-3205 or by email at sen.kent.eken@senate.mn.

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Senator Kent Eken
Kent Eken represents District 4, which includes portions of Becker, Clay, and Norman counties in the northwestern part of the state.

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