A wide and green fan leaf from an outdoor hemp plant.

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Alaska’s Legislature has passed an industrial hemp legalization bill, which moves next to Gov. Bill Walker’s desk for his signature. The measure, if signed, will allow farmers to register with the state to grow the crop under a pilot program.

Bill sponsor Sen. Shelley Hughes has said that farmers in her district wanted to use hemp as an inexpensive livestock feed, and the bill received more than 20 letters of support from Alaskan farmers.

According to a fiscal note attached to the measure, the Department of Natural Resources expects about 25 farms to register with the state to grow industrial hemp in the first season. The Department is seeking $10,000 to draft regulations in conjunction with the Department of Law. The Department of Public Safety fiscal note also indicates that the agency does not anticipate needing any additional funds to ensure the products meet the 0.3 percent THC threshold to determine whether they are industrial hemp.

Alaska does permit recreational cannabis sales.

“It was time to remove hemp from the marijuana statutes. There’s no psychoactive impact from hemp. If you were to smoke acres and acres and acres of hemp, all you would get would be a sore throat and a cough.” – Hughes to KTUU

Once signed, Alaska will become the 35th state to allow industrial hemp production.

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