Washington Legislature studying hemp issue

SPOKANE — With recreational marijuana use now legal in Washington, state legislators are discussing whether the state should also launch an industrial hemp industry.

Hemp, like marijuana, comes from the cannabis plant. But it has much less THC, the active ingredient in marijuana that makes people high. The hemp plant also has thousands of industrial uses and could provide a new cash crop for farmers.

The state Senate is considering a bill that would authorize Washington State University to conduct a study of the feasibility and possible value of an industrial hemp industry in Washington.

State residents passed Initiative 502 in 2012, which legalized recreational marijuana and gave new life to the hemp movement.

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