BATON ROUGE, La. – (KNOE) The Louisiana legislative session does not begin till April 6th but currently there’s speak of a bill to legalize industrial Hemp. Hemp is a cousin to marijuana but you cannot get “high” off hemp.

A workshop on industrial hemp in New Orleans. | Photo: KNOE

Industrial hemp is component of the Cannabis plant species that is grown particularly for industrial makes use of, like fiber, plastics, asphalt, and even clothes. Hemp is not a thoughts-altering drug.

“We consider there are some possibilities with our farmers to develop industrial hemp. It can’t have above .three % THC in it. So we have some farmers we talked to are pretty interested,” stated Dr. Bill Richardson, Vice President of Agriculture for LSU.

But developing hemp is illegal in Louisiana. You harvest hemp from the stalk. So a law legalizing it would have to pass the legislature for it to be an alternative for producers.

“It’s going to be a large procedure of education exactly where we in agriculture, not just the urban legislators but everyone watching this procedure, what industrial hemp does for the citizens and farmers of Louisiana,” stated Joe Mapes, Legislative Specialist with Louisiana Farm Bureau.

Joe Mapes with Louisiana Farm Bureau has been researching the possibility of industrial hemp as a rotation crop for Louisiana farmers. Lately, at the American Farm Bureau convention in New Orleans, a workshop on industrial hemp had a standing area only crowd. But he admits it will an uphill battle.

“We’ve got some social challenges attached with it. That is what we’re going to have to pass 1st. Could have a law if issues go nicely,” stated Mapes.

But the 1st hurdle to jump would be acquiring the bill by way of agriculture committee. Senator Francis Thompson of Delhi is the chairman of the Senate agriculture committee. He says at this time he couldn’t assistance such a bill.

“We gotta make certain that it is not some thing that would trigger our youngsters to be involved like marijuana for recreation use and I’m afraid that some thing of the interests from out of state might not have our finest interest in thoughts,” stated Senator Francis Thompson of Delhi.