Colleges and universities can now apply to participate in a new industrial hemp program that will oversee the research of the crop as a possible addition to Oklahoma’s agricultural landscape.
Lawmakers this year approved the pilot program. Individuals cannot hold a license, but they can contract with colleges and universities to produce hemp for industrial use.
Farmers in the state once grew hemp and used its fibrous product for things like cloth sacks and rope. Because of its genetic similarity to marijuana, however, hemp faced legal barriers to production as cannabis was made illegal in the early 20th century. It can also be used for paper products, construction, livestock bedding, molded plastic or CBD oil, a product that has shown some success treating medical conditions.
Hemp is nonintoxicating and has little to no value as a recreational drug. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture will only accept the use of hemp seeds containing less than three-tenths of a percent of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana.
Law enforcement has long believed that hemp farming could be used as a cover for marijuana cultivation, something hemp proponents dispute. [Read more at the Oklahoman]