Alaska is one step away from becoming the latest state to fight back against the federal government's "War on Nature" after a bill to legalize the production of industrial hemp passed the state House and Senate and is now awaiting the governor's approval.
Residents are hopeful that Gov. Bill Walker will sign Senate Bill 6 into law, which would legalize the regulation and production of industrial hemp, and provide for hemp pilot programs. It would also separate hemp from the definition of "marijuana," and clarify the fact that adding industrial hemp to food does not create an adulterated food product.
Hemp is the product of a variety of the cannabis plant, and although it is non-psychoactive, it is still treated as a drug in the United States. However, hemp has the potential to be used in more than 25,000 products, including fibers, textiles, paper and construction and insulation materials—which may explain why the federal government seems intent on keeping it from the public.
Alaska Republican Sen. Shelley Hughes told Alaska Public Media that she introduced the bill more than a year ago after she was approached by local farmers who wanted to grow hemp to use for feed and bedding for livestock and to clean up oil spills.