Many of the founding fathers of the U.S. grew hemp. The early pilgrims were forbidden to NOT grow hemp. 30 states currently allow the cultivation of industrial hemp. Now, Alaska is very close to becoming the next state to legalize hemp production. Senate Bill (SB) 6, sponsored by a Republican and Democrat together, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 36-0 on Monday, February 19, 2018. A similar bill was unanimously passed by the state Senate last April but must receive a concurrence vote in light of the House changes in order to go to the governor’s office for final execution. A date for the Senate vote is yet to be determined.
SB 6 also distinguishes industrial hemp from marijuana, thus removing it from the state’s list of controlled substances. It also excludes cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of hashish oil and clarifies that adding industrial hemp to food does not result in an adulterated food product.
Alaska may not seem the ideal location for industrial hemp, but history shows the crop can grow quite well in the state during summer months. Cary Carrigan, speaking for the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association said, “People don’t understand just how dynamic an impact a plant like hemp can have. I’ve been a huge proponent of hemp personally for a long time, but the industry is all for it as well. We feel like a step toward the acceptance of hemp is a step toward the acceptance of cannabis.”