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Hemp farms trying to come to Cenla

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 10:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 10:34 PM CDT
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LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - Hemp farms could be on their way to Cenla after the plant became legal in 2019. Many people are familiar with the plant's distant cousin marijuana, but local politicians say more research needs to be done before they move forward with a farm.

“Before the city council and I are willing to vote on that we will have to educate ourselves on this product,” Rick Allen, the Mayor of Leesville, said. “It’s new to the country and it’s definitely new to us.”

John Facey, a local entrepreneur, wants to be one of the first people in Leesville to sell the product. Hemp is similar to marijuana but contains a lower THC level, which is less than .3 percent. Facey believes a hemp farm could be a booming operation for the city and state.

"The U.S. imports 1.6 billion dollars in raw hemp from China," Facey said. "If we grow it here we could sell a lot of it here without having to import so much."

The food, clothing, and several other industries use the plant, but the city is not yet sold on the idea.

"We got a lot of work to do before we can deny or approve this gentlemen's request for a permit," Mayor Allen said.

Mayor Allen and other city council members are still doing their research visiting other farms.

"A long way to go," Mayor explained. "But they have submitted to the state for their permit. Then it will go to the planning and zoning [board] for the property to be rezoned."

Residents living near where the farm would be along sent emails to KALB, voicing their concerns about rezoning. In the email, residents asked for the city to place the farm outside of the city's limits, but according to Mayor Allen, the rezoning has already been done.

"I'm understanding that's already been done," Mayor Allen said. "Then it will have to go before the city council."

Right now, it is not clear when the city council will hold a meeting to move forward with the hemp farm, but one thing is for sure. There will not be a hemp farm without the city’s approval.

Copyright 2020 KALB. All rights reserved.

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