Should Minnesota Legalize Hemp Production?

Minnesota is among a number of states considering legalizing the growth of industrial hemp.

A pair of Minnesota legislators teamed up this week to introduce a bipartisan bill aimed at creating an industrial hemp production industry in the state.

Reps. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis) and Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) introduced HF 736—also known as the "Industrial Hemp Development Act"—which aims to develop the use of industrial hemp to "improve the state's economy and agricultural vitality."

Industrial hemp, as defined in the legislation, includes all parts and varieties of the plant Cannabis sativa L containing less than three-tenths percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp plants can be used to create fabrics, plastics, paper, ropes and other merchandise.

While it's perfectly legal to own, purchase or sell hemp products in the U.S., industrial hemp growth is still banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a controlled substance. That hasn't stopped a handful of U.S. states like Kentucky, Washington and North Dakota from proposing similar legislation to license the technically illegal industry.

Franson and Kahn's bill claims the production of industrial hemp can be regulated to the point that it won't interfere with the "strict regulation of controlled substances in this state."

"The purpose of the Industrial Hemp Development Act is to promote the state economy and agriculture industry by permitting the development of a regulated industrial hemp industry while maintaining strict control of marijuana," the bill reads.

Minnesotans would have to apply to the commissioner of agriculture to be able to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes, including a full background check by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Patch wants to know what you think about the proposed legislation. Would it create issues for law enforcement personnel tasked with controlling marijuana in the state? Or does it simply bring a potentially beneficial industry to Minnesota? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Kristie Martinka February 24, 2013 at 12:20 AM
There is no reason to restrict the production of industrial hemp. It is an agricultural product that could help our economy and diversify the crops farmers grow. It has nothing to do with marijuana use.
don korpi February 24, 2013 at 06:35 AM
I do not believe this would create an issue with law enforcement. If anything it should help them a little bit, as you (should) know hemp would destroy a marijuana crop. law enforcement would know where not to look for marijuana.
Kevin_Hunt February 24, 2013 at 04:27 PM
It's about time we tossed reefer madness in the trashbin of history. Colorado farmers are growing industrial hemp this spring.
Mark Edwards February 27, 2013 at 10:18 AM
the concern I have with the leagalization process, is that we have the uneducated in charge of making the rules. Remember the Thylidmyde drug that was the greatest thing since napkins...till all the birth defects. Or the fact that some in charge want 18yr olds to drink? even after it was seen as a disaster in the mid 70's, I lost friends to death because of that brilliant error. We need people that use cannabis to work with the uneducated to make commonsense rules.
Kevin_Hunt February 27, 2013 at 03:30 PM
You are comparing Thalidomide to industrial hemp? How bizarre. Industrial hemp does not cause birth defects. Neither does marijuana. 18 year olds are allowed to pilot tanks and get maimed by IED's in Iraq...perhaps they are old enough to be trusted with a beer if they sign up for the military?


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