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Industrial hemp bill proceeds to Oklahoma governor’s office

April 12, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Legislation paving the way for the production of industrial hemp in Oklahoma is heading to Gov. Kevin Stitt after the state House passed the proposal.

The bill would allow the state Department of Agriculture to develop and manage a hemp production program under the 2018 federal farm bill. The House approved the bill without opposition on Thursday, the Tulsa World reported. Stitt is expected to sign the bill.

Rep. Jon Echols, the bill’s sponsor, noted his first attempt to get an industrial hemp bill passed in Oklahoma was met by confused silence several years ago.

“For this, I’ve probably had calls from 15 members,” Echols said. “I had a call today from Commerce Secretary (Sean) Kouplen telling me to hurry and get this done.”

Hemp, like marijuana, is derived from the cannabis plant, but it contains 0.3% or less THC, which is the compound that gives pot its high. Industrial hemp can be used in paper, cosmetics, construction materials and other products.

“Farmers in western Oklahoma are very excited about this,” said Rep. Kenton Patzkowski.

In December, when the Farm Bill was enacted, cannabis market research firm New Frontier Data predicted that federal legalization could triple the U.S. hemp market to $2.5 billion by 2022.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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