ANCHORAGE (KTUU)- It's a proposal that supporters say will create agricultural opportunities for Alaskans and the possibility of a growing hemp industry in Alaska.
The Alaska House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 6 Monday, legalizing industrial hemp and establishing a pilot program for its growth and production.
Senator Shelley Hughes first introduced the bill in January. Hughes said farmers in Matanuska-Susitna Borough wanted to grow hemp, as an inexpensive way to feed livestock.
The bill separates hemp from marijuana's definition and regulations.
"The bill that was passed today defines hemp as a plant that is less than .3 percent THC," said Senator Hughes. " So it does not have the psychoactive response and a person could smoke acres and acres and all they would get is a cough and a sore throat. "So there are no psychoactive impacts from hemp so it is now an agriculture crop product and it is not under the marijuana statutes," said Hughes.
Aaron Ralph, Alaska Cannabis Exchange Owner, has a hemp business in Colorado and wants to bring it to Alaska."Being able to grow hemp with 50,000 different uses for hemp it is a no-brainer that we can utilize what we are growing here in some form or facet to help benefit Alaska and it’s economy," said Ralph.
The next the steps will be for Senate Bill 6 to go to Senate for a concurrence vote.