On Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee heard legislation concerning the regulation of industrial hemp production and research in Minnesota. If passed, the legislation would allow Minnesota to join a growing list of states which currently have laws allowing for hemp pilot studies.
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 when Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act. Further research has found that the THC content (the psychoactive components in the plant) is vastly different between industrial hemp and marijuana. Industrial hemp has no more than 0.3% THC, whereas marijuana has between 3-20% THC – you cannot get high from hemp.
Industrial hemp in Minnesota is an economic opportunity for the state’s farming and manufacturing sectors. Hemp can be used for many purposes such as foods, paper, rope, clothing, building materials, vehicle parts, and other uses. Another benefit to growing hemp is that it can be grown on land otherwise unusable for common Minnesota crops like corn or soybeans. 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 or China.
Some concerns were raised about the possibility of marijuana being mixed in with hemp in the packaging process.
The bill passed through the Judiciary Committee and will be moving on to the State and Local Government Committee. (S.F. 618)