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Hemp growing approved by House

Posted on March 24, 2005

Concord, New Hampshire — The House voted Wednesday to allow farmers to grow hemp — a close relative of marijuana — despite federal hurdles to planting the controversial crop.

Supporters argued that hemp, which has a very low content of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, has unfairly been characterized as the same as marijuana.

“This is not marijuana. This is hemp,“ insisted Hopkinton Democrat Derek Owen, who added that hemp has been grown for thousands of years.

Hemp, known for its strong fiber, is used in a wide range of products, including clothing, canvas, rope, fiberglass, insulation, automobile clutch- and brake-liners, cement and paper. It can be grown legally in other countries, including Canada and China.

Owen argued it would provide a niche crop for the state‚ farmers.

But opponents said hemp should be considered as dangerous to children as marijuana and remain outlawed. When young, hemp leaves can cause a similar hallucinogenic effect to marijuana, argued Merrimack Republican Peter Batula.

Milford Republican Ryan Hansen argued New Hampshire should wait until federal rules are changed to permit the crop.

Copyright © 2005, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.