By R. Brownell
This week, the Maine Legislature made a bold move in the effort to allow for industrial hemp farming within the state, despite pushback from the Governor of Maine and the current federal ban on the planting and farming of the product:
Introduced by Rep. Deborah Sanderson (R-Chelsea) and cosponsored by a bipartisan coalition of seven Senators and Representatives, LD4 amends the current hemp farming law in the state by removing a requirement that licenses are contingent on approval by the Federal Government.
This new law differs from similar bills passed in states such as Kentucky, where hemp was grown for strictly research purposes, instead of allowing businesses to grow, farm, and eventually sell the plant in order to make a profit. The benefits of this bill highlight the ability for the U.S. economy to grow its current agricultural market drastically, if other states were to follow suit and defy the Federal Government’s current ban:
Recent economic reports suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is at least $600 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.
For more information on the specifics of Maine House Bill 4, please click this link.