Legalize industrial hemp

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Years ago, the U.S. erroneously determined that industrial hemp is a drug and enacted the only remaining laws in the world that make it illegal to grow. This is much to the dismay of our farming, manufacturing and retail industries. Hemp has been demonized and outlawed for being a distant relative of marijuana, yet it doesn’t have enough psychoactive ingredients to be used as a drug.

As the price of oil goes up, the mystery of hemp prohibition gets more mind-boggling. Industrial hemp has extraordinary, ecological and very diversified uses: fibers, biodiesel, cosmetics, medicines, paper and oils.

I am particularly interested in the hemp bale construction in Canada.

Over the years, there has been an active campaign by U.S. farmers who would not only like to prosper from hemp but would also like another crop that benefits their crop rotations. The California Assembly recently passed bill 1147 allowing their farmers to grow and sell hemp to California businesses instead of importing hemp from Canada, Europe, Russia, Poland and China.

Assemblyman Mark Leno said, “This measure will put California at the top of a $270 million industry that’s growing by $26 million each year.”

Maine should follow suit.

Jan Kubiac, Bethel

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