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Indiana Senate Votes to Legalize Industrial Hemp

Christopher Furlong, Getty Images

Indiana is one step closer to legalizing industrial hemp. Earlier this week, the state Senate voted unanimously to pass legislation making it legal in the Hoosier state to farm hemp for profit.

Hemp has received a lot of resistance in recent years because some less than insightful lawmakers believe it is merely a ruse to substantiate full-blown marijuana legalization. However, hemp is only related to marijuana, and does not contain any psychoactive cannabinoids that could be consumed for recreational pleasure.

The industrial cultivation of hemp has been illegal in the United States for many years; therefore, if this bill is passed, Indiana will be forced to apply for a waiver from the federal government before area farmers can begin reaping the benefits of this mega cash crop.

Proponents of industrial hemp in Indiana say approval of this bill was inevitable. “This was a corporate backed bill with the farmers union holding hands,” said Bill Levin, cannabis lobbyist with Re-Legalize Indiana. “It was a pre greased bill — meaning it was agreed behind closed doors that everyone pass it. There was no democratic republican fight on this bill at all.”

However, Levin says hemp production in Indiana will mean higher revenues for farmers and spawn a wealth of overall good for the state. “Our farmers will be able to grow more money per acre than before; our companies have to pay less shipping and all the new companies that will blossom from hemp textiles is going to be ground breaking,” he said. “The first person with a machine that makes thread from hemp clearly wins here in Indiana, as does the fuel producers and animal feed companies. We have by default a very gourmet natural hemp seed here in Indiana — big fat and juicy fill with all sorts of good omega 3s.”

Levin says Hoosiers can expect this bill to receive approval from the House and then again, when it reaches the desk of Governor Pence. “Like a greased chimp… this bill has been greased from the top,” said Levin.

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