Hemp is grown from the same type of plant as marijuana, but experts say it has countless uses that don’t include getting high. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would legalize hemp agriculture in Florida.
Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lakeworth) is sponsoring the bill.
“Let me start off with what this bill is not so everybody understands that this is an industrial hemp bill. This has nothing to do with marijuana, medical marijuana in its psychoactive form,” Clemens says.
Clemens has filed legislation to legalize the use of medical marijuana in years past, but this year he says he’s focusing on a different use for the cannabis plant.
“Hemp can be cultivated for the use in a list of wide-ranging products including foods, beverages, cosmetics, personal care products, nutritional supplements, fabrics, textiles, paper, construction and also insulation materials,” Clemens says.
And the variety of plant grown for those purposes is different from the kind used for marijuana. First it has a much lower level of THC, so Clemens says a person would likely get no euphoric effect from using it as a drug. And he says the two varieties tend to look a lot different. Cannabis plants grown for marijuana are less fibrous. They’re grown for the buds and flower.
“Those farmers who are wanting to grow industrial hemp do not grow the same varieties because they don’t have the interest in the psychoactive properties. They have interest in the kind of plant they can use for all the different types of things I talked about before – textiles, paper, construction materials–those kinds of things. That requires a very sturdy type of plant and it grows vertically.” Clemens says.
And lawmakers like Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) say they’ve noticed some of the positive effects hemp can have.
“I use towels that have hemp in them and they are terrific! Really. I’ll tell you why. Because in this state you buy towels in the store and they don’t dry. I mean they’re wet after you dry yourself, but hemp towels dry,” Sobel says.
Meanwhile others are touting the plant’s health benefits. Hemp seeds are said to be super foods filled with amino acids. Robert Clayton conducted a study on behalf of the Florida Hemp Industry Association. He says he …Read More