© 2022 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Main Banner Background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Language to keep North Carolina's hemp industry going is approved by the state Senate

Elsa Olofsson
/
Unsplash

North Carolina's hemp industry would become permanently exempt from the state's controlled substances law in omnibus agricultural legislation approved unanimously by the Senate on Tuesday.

The legislation differentiates marijuana, which would still remain unlawful, from hemp and hemp products, which contain a very low amount of the chemical that gives the high to marijuana users.

Without the approved language, North Carolina's industrial hemp program — approved in 2015 as a pilot and now operated through a federal production program — would have to shut down at the end of June. Making the hemp exception permanent would allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue operating the program.

Farmers and hemp retailers have been worried that the product would become illegal without the language contained in the Senate's annual farm legislation, which now heads to the House.

Meanwhile, a separate Senate bill that would legalize marijuana for medical use in the state is scheduled to be heard in a chamber committee on Wednesday.

Senate leader Phil Berger told reporters Tuesday that the measure, which worked its way through other Senate committees last year before idling, could be heard by the full Senate later in the week. Its prospects in the House are unclear.

Copyright 2022 WFAE. To see more, visit WFAE.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.