Bismarck, North Dakota — Last year the North Dakota Legislature was the first in the United States to officially recognize and legalize industrial hemp. Assistant House Majority Leader David Monson (R-Osnabrock) sponsored three bills making the controversial plant legal. “A person in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, sell or buy industrial hemp,” the first bill stated, which passed the Senate 44-3 and the House 86-7.
The second bill removed hemp from the noxious weed list and the third urges Congress to acknowledge the difference between hemp and marijuana. A resolution sponsored by Sen. Joel Heitkamp (D-Hankinson) permits and subsidizes North Dakota State University to grow experimental industrial hemp crops.
Since North Dakota’s cutting edge legislation on April 17, 1999, Hawaii, Minnesota, Illinois and Maryland have passed bills, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Vermont, Montana and Virginia have passed resolutions, South Dakota, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon and Tennessee have legislation in the works and Alaska, Colorado and Michigan are calling for voter initiatives.
Growing industrial hemp is legal in Canada by permit and in many parts of Europe. Last year alone, 241 Canadian farmers were issued licenses to grow industrial hemp. It included 92 in Manitoba, 90 in Ontario, 32 in Saskatchewan and nine in Alberta. Growing industrial hemp has been legal in Canada the past three years.
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