Industrial hemp has plenty of uses, and its benefits are far-reaching. Although it was legalized on the federal level in early 2014, it still faces one serious obstacle—its relation to the psychoactive cannabis plant. However, state legislators from South Carolina are now trying to legalize the crop that can significantly help the state’s farmers that are still having trouble due to the flood damage.
Rep. Lucas Atkinson, who represents the Pee Dee region of South Carolina, believes that getting involved in the billion-dollar hemp industry is a great way to support the state’s struggling farming sector. A new bill that would establish the “South Carolina Hemp Program” would also allow farmers to cultivate enough industrial hemp to satisfy an increasing national demand and expand the market. Moreover, industrial hemp could easily boost the profits of the state’s farmers and provide economic growth for the state as a whole.
The new program would allow farmers to apply for a license to cultivate hemp and give universities and colleges a possibility to research it. Although hemp originates from a plant similar to cannabis, it does not have any psychoactive properties. Thus, it will not get anyone high.
Janel Ralph, the owner of Palmetto Harmony, a well-known producer of hemp goods from South Carolina, said that there were hundreds of things that hemp could be used for. Hemp oil and products have changed the quality of lives of many people, including her daughter Harmony’s. Hemp has already helped reduce Harmony’s seizures by a whopping 90 percent, Ralph shared.
Many fear that growing hemp will also lead to the illegal cultivation of real cannabis. However, farmers cannot grow these two near each other without ruining their crop.
House Bill 3559 has been passed to the Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs for further consideration.