Photo via AndrisTkachenko
Hemp has been cultivated by cultures around the world for millennia, grown for its strong fibers and used to make clothing, fuel, paper, rope, and many other of life’s necessities. But hemp cultivation in the U.S. was put to an end in the early 20th century, when the federal government prohibited the cultivation of cannabis, which includes both hemp and marijuana, even though hemp itself isn’t psychoactive. In 2014, the federal Farm Bill finally legalized low-THC hemp, and the majority of U.S. states have now passed laws allowing the cultivation of hemp for research or industrial purposes. Last year, the cultivation of this long-prohibited crop almost tripled, and over 30 universities are currently growing hemp for research purposes.
Co-signing the hemp rush, this week the Alaska House of Representatives voted unanimously to legalize industrial hemp farming in the state. The bill was originally drafted in the state Senate, who unanimously voted to approve the bill last year. State Rep. Harriet Drummond, who supported the bill in the House, said that “the commercial possibilities of hemp are numerous and versatile,” the Juneau Empire reports. State Sen. Shelly Hughes, who drafted the original bill, said that it is “not going to solve our fiscal gap and economic woes, but for a number of individuals, it will create new opportunities.” The