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North Dakota Licenses Industrial Hemp

After Jan. 1, you'll be able to apply for a license to grow industrial hemp in North Dakota.

But you may not be able to actually produce a crop.

The North Dakota Agriculture Department announced last week that the state cleared the last hurdle in setting up the rules to govern hemp production in the state.

Applicants cannot actually begin growing industrial hemp until they receive a license from the state and are approved by the federal government.

"Our rules clearly state that persons who hold licenses to grow industrial hemp must also obtain permission from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). It will be up to the DEA to allow producers to compete with other countries for the profits from this potentially valuable crop," says Roger Johnson, North Dakota agriculture commissioner.

So far, the DEA has rebuffed attempts by North Dakota and other states to legalize industrial hemp production.

State licensing is an attempt to force DEA to make a decision on the issue or to push the question closer to a court hearing.

Industrial hemp is widely grown in Manitoba and around the world. The fiber is used to manufacture textiles, paper and rope. The seed is used for food and feed. Oil derived from the plant is used in cosmetics, paints and medicinal compounds.

The industrial form of hemp contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive drug delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana.

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