Having navigated the necessary political channels, the U.S. Farm Bill is expected to be signed into law by the President. This would mean farmers would be able to plant and harvest hemp.
The new bill defines hemp as an agricultural product — so hemp farmers and researchers will now get the same benefits farmers and researchers of other crops do.
Previously, hemp production was regulated similarly to marijuana.
Senator Tim Kaine said he believes the perennial crop can have a “whole variety” of benefits for Virginia farmers.
“Hemp has so many different uses — in things like production of clothes and fibers and rope and, all kinds of production. And, the research at Virginia institutions will enable Virginia farmers to add that in to their mix of crops and hopefully keep their farms more economically viable,” he said.
Also of regional interest — the bill will increase funding for Chesapeake Bay clean up efforts.