Lawmakers in Montpelier are considering whether to permit farmers to grow hemp.
Industrial hemp can be refined for a variety of needs, including rope, food and heating oil.
Growing it is currently illegal under both state and federal law. A new state law seeks to change that.
But even if the state allows hemp, it would still be outlawed from a federal standpoint. The feds could seize property and farmers could lose their aid under the farm bill.
Much of this, according to the Vice-Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, stems from the misperception that hemp can be used as a drug.
"Hemp and marijuana -- the real difference is the quantity of THC, the drug that actually gives someone a high -- for lack of a better term," says Sen. David Zuckerman (P/D- Chittenden County). "And when you're growing hemp, the plant has got extremely low levels of THC, in our bill it says below .3 percent, and really no one would ever want to smoke hemp, it doesn't do any good for anybody."
The Senate has already passed the bill. It's now in the House Agriculture Committee.
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