Four months ago, West Virginia farmers and entrepreneurs were gearing up to grow industrial hemp — legally — for the first time since World War II. But a bill passed with minutes remaining in this year’s legislative session that effectively thwarts the chances of a revived hemp industry has some calling the bill’s amendments a “business horror story.” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has until Friday to sign the bill (SB 159), a rules bundle that makes a few key changes to the Department of Agriculture’s regulations on growing industrial hemp for research pilots. Under those changes, only the department or a state institution of higher education may conduct hemp research programs. Under the bill, all but one of the growing permits the department issued to West Virginia residents would be nullified. [Read more at the Charleston Gazette-Mail]
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