House bill 1436, signed by North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, is the states first step to a commercial hemp industry. Not only that, but the bill cuts the federal government out of the state’s licensing process. Along with North Dakota, other states have implemented hemp laws; such as Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont. Unfortunately, Federal drug policy doesn’t consider any differences between hemp and other strains of Cannabis, which means it’s still a Schedule 1 Drug with strict restrictions.  But there weren’t always such harsh federal restrictions on hemp. The hemp plant thrived throughout civilizations; it was used for incense, cloth, rope and even medicine. At one point in the United States, Hemp proved to be so critical to the nation’s economy that the government deemed it legal tender. Mandatory cultivation was enforced to the point that a farmer could be incarcerated for not growing it. The article states that, “According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. is the only developed nation that hasn’t developed an industrial hemp crop for economic purposes.” The many uses of hemp are no mystery. I praise North Dakota diplomats for attempting to grow, harvest, and produce this valuable plant and progress towards helping the environment recover from its damage.

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