Bid to legalize hemp production advances in Louisiana House

Adrian Cable / CC BY-SA 2.0 / MGN

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana farmers could expand into the hemp-growing business, if lawmakers agree to a proposal heading to the full House for debate.

The measure by Republican Rep. Clay Schexnayder would legalize growing and processing of industrial hemp in Louisiana, in line with what's allowed under the 2018 federal Farm Bill.

The House agriculture committee advanced the proposal Thursday without objection.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain supports and helped craft the legislation. He would have regulatory authority over licensing of farmers interested in growing hemp, along with processors and transporters.

Hemp is a member of the cannabis plant family but contains only traces of the THC chemical compound that causes a high for marijuana users. Hemp is used for textiles, fuels, rope, and chemical absorbents among other products.

House Bill 491:

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