NC Senate passes bill expanding hemp industry, bill goes to House

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FILE – In this April 19, 2018, file photo, a man displays hemp seeds being prepared for sale to industrial hemp farmers at his facility in Monmouth, Ore. A global hemp research lab announced Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Oregon, is part of a larger movement to bring the standardization to hemp that traditional crops like corn and cotton enjoy. (AP Photos/Gillian Flaccus, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Legislation designed to further develop North Carolina’s fast-growing hemp industry, increase agritourism and make it easier for industrial-scale hog farms to overhaul their open-air waste storage systems has cleared the state Senate.

The legislature’s annual “Farm Act” passed on Monday after floor debate by a 31-14 vote. It now goes to the House.

The bill’s proposed ban on smokable hemp in December 2020 has received a lot of attention during committee debates.

Smokable hemp doesn’t produce a high, but it looks and smells a lot like marijuana, which law enforcement says is a problem. Many hemp farmers in the state have previously spoken up against the ban and say smokable hemp can sell for as much as $1,000 per pound.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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