Natural Foods Merchandiser

Farmers prepare to cultivate hemp

In January, North Dakota farmers could be the first in the United States to plant industrial hemp.

"After Jan. 1, 2007, North Dakotans will be able to apply for licenses to grow industrial hemp," state Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said. "Our rules clearly state that persons who hold licenses to grow industrial hemp must also obtain permission from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. It will be up to the DEA to allow producers to compete with other countries for the profits from this potentially valuable crop."

Provisions of the rule include: Producers must consent to a criminal background check, including fingerprints; buyers and the amount of harvested hemp sold must be documented; the location of hemp fields must be provided using geopositioning instrumentation; and planted hemp seed must contain less than three-tenths of 1 percent tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the main psychoactive component found in marijuana. In October, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California vetoed a similar bill, AB 1147, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 1/p. 28

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