Louisiana readying the rules for industrial hemp farming

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FILE – In this Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, an industrial hemp plant is shown in Clayton Township, Mich. With industrial hemp promoted as a new cash crop for struggling farmers, Louisiana’s agriculture department is fast-tracking the regulations for the newly legal commodity, with the first grower licenses expected to win approval in February 2020. Interested farmers are packing orientation sessions to learn about the lengthy paperwork, licensing, testing and reporting requirements the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry is enacting to govern industrial hemp production in Louisiana, under a program overwhelmingly backed by lawmakers earlier this year. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP)- Industrial hemp is being promoted as a new cash crop for Louisiana’s struggling farmers.

The state agriculture department is fast-tracking the regulations for the newly legal commodity, with the first grower licenses expected to win approval in February.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to legalize industrial hemp growth and processing earlier this year to help farmers diversify their crops.

Hemp is a member of the cannabis plant family but contains only low levels of the THC chemical compound that causes a high for marijuana users. Hemp is used for textiles, fuels, clothing, rope and other products.

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