House committee approves industrial hemp research study


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina lawmakers are pushing a proposal to authorize the cultivation of industrial hemp with the goal of allowing researchers to begin planting next spring.

The House Agriculture Committee approved a bill Thursday allowing for state land grant universities to grow hemp under the guidance of a nine-member commission and the Department of Agriculture.

Hemp is a variety of cannabis with low levels of the psychoactive THC chemical. It has high nutritional value and can be used to make biodegradable plastics, fuels, clothing and rope.

The bill would allow the commission to fine growers up to $2,500 for growing marijuana on property designated for hemp.

Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, assured the committee hemp grows differently than medical or recreational marijuana plants, and growers are unlikely to mix the two.

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