Politico has this item on how influential politicians are coming around to the benefits of hemp. Excerpt:

Forget legalizing pot: Two of the most powerful Republicans in the Senate believe there’s a much stronger chance to legalize growing hemp in the U.S., opening up an entirely new market for crops, health food, oil, shirts, towels and even dog toys.

Kentucky’s Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie are pushing legislation in both chambers of Congress that would remove the less-potent member of the cannabis family from the federal list of controlled substances, allowing its return to America’s farmland after more than 40 years.

It’s a states’ rights and economic growth issue, the Republican lawmakers argue. Legalizing hemp would create jobs. …

Mitch McConnell

Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Flickr: Gage Skidmore

Imported hemp products — there’s no other way to get them in the United States — represented a $580 million market in 2013 “with double-digit annual growth,” according to Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industry Association.

Politico says hemp is already legal to produce in at least 30 countries, including the one immediately to our north.

Locally, hemp production has also gained new traction.

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