Industrial Hemp Eyed to Help Farmers

Pointing to potential opportunities for farmers, state House members Tuesday continued moving forward with a plan that would help set the stage for an industrial-hemp industry in Florida.

The state is trying to move quickly to take advantage of a 2018 federal law that legalized industrial hemp as an agricultural product. The House and Senate are working on bills that would set up a regulatory framework for hemp, which backers say can be used in numerous types of products, ranging from building materials to clothing.

One of the selling points of lawmakers acting quickly is that developing a hemp industry could help Northwest Florida farmers and timber growers who sustained heavy damage in October during Hurricane Matthew. But it was clear during a meeting Tuesday of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee that farmers in other regions of the state also are interested in getting into the hemp business.

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