A downstate senator has sponsored legislation to help correct a wrong that he says will benefit Hoosier farmers and businesses by being on the leading edge of a potential new cash crop in the state-hemp.
A press release from Senator Richard D. Young's office, a democrat from Milltown, says that with the Agricultural Act of 2014 and other legislation being signed into law, hemp can become a vital economic development tool for farmers and manufacturers." But, according to the release, that can only happen if the federal government retracts its prohibition of the plant, which mistakenly was lumped into the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 along with marijuana outlawing production of both. So, the senator urges federal approval and continued support of the new state law.
During World War II, southern Indiana was key in producing industrial hemp rope and as part of the war effort, the government encouraged all farmers to grow hemp.
The Indiana State Seed Commissioner is currently working to make sure research institutions and universities have the proper permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Drug Enforcement Agency to study the cultivation and production of industrial hemp in Indiana, according to the relase.
The senator says that first steps at the state level have been taken, but now Hoosiers need Congress and federal officials to continue to rally support for future legislation that will "help Hoosiers utilize hemp's potential market value and grow our economy."
SEA 357, authored by Senator Young, was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence last month. The Act will also make it possible for farmers and businesses in Indiana to apply for permits to grow hemp and produce hemp products, according to the release.
(photo/Indiana Senator Richard D. Young D-Milltown)