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For Michigan Farmers, Growing Hemp Is No Laughing Matter

For going on a century, Americans spoke of hemp in the same breath as marijuana. Both were for joking, smoking and getting arrested. And both were made illegal by the U.S. Congress in 1937.

Yet, although marijuana and hemp come from the same plant — called cannabis sativa— they’re not the same. Traditional hemp can’t intoxicate a flea, and it has a long history as staple farm crop. Early Americans made hemp into everything from rope and cloth to animal feed and soap.

Now, as marijuana gains acceptance, hemp is quietly creeping back onto store shelves. Much of it comes from Canada, where hemp has been legal to grow for 20 years.

But Michigan farmers can’t grow a single stalk of hemp, not without running the risk of being raided by drug agents, said state Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Port Huron.

Lauwers notes that he’s no fan of easing the war on drugs and he was just rated on June 1 as being in the top 90th percentile of conservative Michigan lawmakers by the American Conservative Union. [Read more at Detroit Free Press]

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