North Carolina might soon have a new crop to begin growing: hemp. A law passed by state legislatures has opened North Carolina up into growing industrial hemp. This would benefit the state because of more jobs and opportunities.

“North Carolina being such an agricultural state, it just makes sense,” Davidson Co. State Sen. Stan Bingham, stated.

Bingham has been hoping for industrial hemp in North Carolina for a long time. The issue has been, though, that when many people think of hemp, they think of marijuana. However, those that know about the hemp industry know that the differences are tremendous. The main one is that Hemp can not get you high while marijuana cannot. Now, though, North Carolina farmers will have a chance to grow and sell the product.

“No one is making money growing tobacco,” Thomas Shumaker, with the NC Industrial Hemp Association, said. “No one is making money growing soybeans. No one is making money growing corn this year. Hemp is a crop that our farmers can grow, and it’s an alternative.”

During the last days of 2015’s legislative session, lawmakers proposed and approved a law that states that industrial hemp production would be legalized in North Carolina. There are many more things to do to make sure that the production is in line with federal laws, but this is a huge first step for the industry.

“Thomas Jefferson is quoted that anywhere tobacco grows well, hemp will grow well,” Shumaker stated.

Before being prohibited, North Carolina was on top of the hemp industry. It is ready to try to be on top of the industry once again. Also, with more than 25,000 uses for the plant, from textiles to food, advocates say the market could be huge.

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