Farmers in Mississippi can apply to legally grow hemp

Published 9:45 am Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mississippi farmers or those interested in becoming farmers can start applying for hemp grower licenses.

The Daily Leader reports the license application period began Saturday and runs through Oct. 31 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Industrial hemp has been promoted as a new cash crop for struggling farmers.

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Hemp is a member of the cannabis plant family but contains only traces of the THC chemical compound that causes a high for marijuana users. Hemp is used for textiles, fuels, clothing, body lotion, paper, rope and chemical absorbents, among other products.

Congress paved the way for state hemp programs in the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed industrial hemp from the list of federally controlled substances.

The new Mississippi law legalized the cultivation of hemp and allowed Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson to create a state plan for hemp farming. But state lawmakers didn’t appropriate money for a state hemp program, so Gipson said he asked the USDA to issue the licenses for Mississippi hemp growers.