RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It used to be big business here in Virginia, but for decades hemp farming has been illegal, classified as a schedule 1 drug by the DEA.
While it looks like marijuana and is related, its THC levels — the chemical that makes you high — are significantly lower.
“It is (listed) right there with heroin and LSD; it needs to be dropped from that. This is not a psychoactive plant,” Graham Redfern said with the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition.
Redfern has been working to get hemp farming legalized in Virginia and says they’ve made some progress. A bill passed by the General Assembly last year allowed for the research of hemp.
Virginia Tech, JMU and VSU planted the first seeds in nearly 70 years last spring, and the crops were harvested last month. The project’s aim is to see the economic possibilities for the plant.
Some now say Virginia shouldn’t wait on the federal government in regards to hemp, saying it’s costing the state.
“This is a cash crop. Half a billion plus dollars were imported in last year alone from other countries,” Graham Redfern with the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition said.
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