Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed S.B. 357, the Industrial Hemp bill, into law. We now become the 11th state to relegalize industrial Hemp.
Industrial Hemp is a type of Cannabis that produces no psychoactive components, but is a boon to sound environmental policy. Over 50 thousand products can be produced from Hemp including fiber, fuel, paper, plastic and building materials. It will be a shot in the arm to farmers who have had extreme weather problems in the last few years, and Hemp will potentially create thousands of new, sustainable and green jobs for Hoosiers.
Indiana has a long history with Hemp. The earliest report of Hemp farming in Indiana is in the early 1800’s from Union County. At one time there were over 20 rope walks along the Wabash and Ohio rivers. During World War II, Jasper County, Indiana, received an award from the United States Department of Agriculture for prolific Hemp production for the war effort.
Hemp was de facto made illegal in 1937, but it wasn’t until Hemp was lumped in with Marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 that it was actually made illegal to grow in the U.S. Possession of Hemp goods such as clothing, bags, seed oil and plastic has always been legal, but we couldn’t grow anywhere in the United States.
This law will be administered by Dr. Robert Waltz, the Indiana Seed Commissioner, working out of Perdue University. No plan has yet been unveiled.
S.B. 357 also is dependent upon approval of the federal government. Under the recent federal farm bill, the 10 states that had already relegalized industrial Hemp could proceed with test crops. Indiana will have to be added to that list before we can grow Hemp again in Indiana.
Indiana NORML has advocated for industrial Hemp since the early 1990’s, in addition to advocating relegalization for medical and personal use of Marijuana. To quote Jack Herer, in his support of industrial Hemp as well as Marijuana, “You’ve got to have a planet to party on.” We sincerely thank organizations like the North American Industrial Hemp Council, Flexform Technologies in Elkhart, and thousands of Hoosiers who learned about Hemp and made a stand for a better Indiana.