Hemp legalization could benefit farmers, patients alike

Hemp legalization

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp from the controlled substances act and allows for the transport and sale of hemp products across all 50 states in the U.S.

Unlike marijuana – a cannabis relative – hemp only contains 0.3 percent THC and cannot get you high.

Hemp can be used to make rope, used as a fiber alternative for car exteriors, used in different plastic processes, can make animal bedding and is very absorbent, so can be used with oil and gasoline.

Hemp products such as CBD oil can also be used for health benefits.

“It’s a superior product to many other options that are allowed in the market right now,” said Coleman Hemphill, president of the Texas Hemp Industries Association. “With the opioid epidemic we’re seeing, any kind of natural remedy that can help alleviate some of those issues without going toward a very harmful opioid is something we want to promote.”

Hemp products are sold in most large retailers and some local health food stores, but Texas farmers are not able to grow the crop.

That will soon change.

The passing of the 2018 farm bill makes the industrial growing of hemp legal, but until the USDA finalizes its rules for growing the crop or the Texas Department of Agriculture passes laws about doing so, farmers are not yet able to.

“For our farmers, it’s critical that we have an alternative crop because since 2013, we’ve seen over 150,000 family farms lost to bankruptcy due to commodity prices,” said Hemphill. “Texas is the largest producer of cotton in the United States with over 7.5 million acres of cotton, which is heavily water-intensive, so having some diversity and another option [for farmers to grow] is critical.”

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