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Bill Could Allow Colleges to Begin Researching Hemp for Cultivation

April 25th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Hemp. It’s not exactly marijuana, but it’s close and still illegal in the state, but legislation moving in both the House and Senate would allow universities begin researching the plant for industrial use.
Hemp doesn’t get you high, but it is used in dozens pf products you use everyday. 
Items ranging from beauty products to rope, drywall, and  even some car dash boards.
“So when your head hits the dashboard during an accident, it actually molds to the point where you don’t have the damage in your head,” said House sponsor Representative Ralph Massullo.
Despite hemps many uses it’s still illegal to grow in Florida. 
“The US imports $570 million of hemp products every year, but because it’s scheduled as a schedule one drug like cannabis, you know the recreational cannabis, it hasn’t been grown here for 70 years,” said Jeff Sharkey with the Medical Marijuana Business Association.
Legislation to allow Universities with an agricultural program to begin researching Hemp is ready for a floor vote in both the House and Senate.
The University of Florida and Florida A&M would qualify.
“You’re testing different seeds. So you’re trying to optimize the growth, minimize any restrictions to the growth, evaluate how hemp interacts with the climate, other crops. One big comment people have had is to make sure it’s not an invasive species,” said Rep. Massullo.
Supporters believe the bill comes at an opportune time for Florida’s agricultural industry.
With crops like oranges not succeeding at the level they have previously, hemp could become one of Florida’s cash crops.
The bill requires a minimum of 2 years of research.
If hemp is found viable legalizing hemp could be on the horizon.
If the bill passes, Florida will become the 31st State to legalize the cultivation of hemp in some capacity.

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