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Industrial hemp production may be on the horizon

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Updated: 5/28 11:19 pm

(KING) Washington state legislators have their eyes and pens on a new cash crop. It's cannabis - but not recreational marijuana.

"Honestly I was a little skeptical about, 'What is this?'" explains State Representative Vincent Buys.

Buys kept an open mind and later decided industrial hemp might be exactly what his farmland covered district needs.

"You name it and they produce the seeds," he said about Skagit Valley.

One seed farmers can't produce right now, however, is industrial hemp.

The most recent federal Farm Bill allows for its growth in states where an academic research institution is studying the plant. Washington State University has been selected as that institution, but Washington State must also pass legislation for farmers to cultivate the crop.

Two bills recently proposed never made it to a final vote due to time constraints.

Buys plans to sponsor a new bill in the 2015 session.

"Everybody's on board with it," he said. "Farmers, rather than to keep a field fallow or have a low value crop, then they can put in a high-value crop."

-- Alison Morrow reports

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