<National Report>Indianapolis, IN–Multiple states are rushing to get in on the trend of legalizing marijuana and Indiana is taking the next step in the process by not only allowing adults to buy, possess and consume up to 2 ounces of marijuana, but also opening the gates for farmers to grow and manufacture hemp and hemp related products.
For farmers within the state, a proposed annual fee of $150 in addition to $2 for every acre of hemp planted would be accessed. Plants will be regularly inspected to ensure they contain less than .3 percent THC (keeping it below the concentration of the psychoactive ingredient which causes the “high” from smoking or ingesting marijuana).
Indiana has seen its better days. As the Midwest has shifted away from traditional agrarian type lifestyle into the modern age of technology, states like Indiana have struggled to keep up. The state has been hit hard by losses in manufacturing coupled with fluctuating commodities markets which have made America’s farmers some of the lowest paid of all industrial workers.
A bipartisan group of legislators in the predominately Republican state Senate have held several closed door sessions to discuss the benefits of legalization for the states struggling economy. According to a high ranking state official, who chose to speak to National Report on the condition of anonymity: “It’s a great idea. As Republicans we have the upper hand in these discussions. We are a party that thrives on individual freedoms, we believe strongly in state’s rights and are fierce defenders of capitalism. Legalization provides a real opportunity for Republicans to shift public opinion and could lead to a permanent super majority at both the state and federal levels.”
JC Franco, Director of the group Reform Indiana, told local ABC Affiliate WISHTV:
“What we have seen within the GOP in Indiana is a real paradigm shift away from the Reefer Madness type portrayal of marijuana and marijuana users towards one of competition and economics. It only makes sense for a state like Indiana to embrace such reforms. The fed has been subsidizing Indiana farmers for decades, growing corn that is processed into high fructose corn syrup and fed to us at every turn. This new legislation will allow a certain number of farmers to apply for permits to convert their corn farms into industrial hemp operations. Indiana is the perfect place for growing, processing and manufacturing hemp related products. By taking this bold move, Indiana could see a large boom in jobs as outside groups rush to get in on the ground floor of the hemp industry.”
A recent poll conducted jointly by Reform Indiana and the state’s Department of Agriculture found a surprising number of Indiana farmers support the initiative. Paul Horner, an 89-year old local farmer, was pleased to hear the news. “I think it is a great idea. From what I hear, this hemp can be used to make all kinds of things from clothing to plastics and papers, and to be honest, we have more farmland in Indiana than we know what to do with,” said Horner.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that the Department of Justice would allow states to enact new marijuana laws despite the fact the US government still considers help and marijuana to be a Schedule 1 controlled substance that is therefore illegal to cultivate on US soil. Colorado has also passed legislation allowing for the cultivation of hemp on a large scale.
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