Friday, January 22, 2016
INSIDE SCOOP: Industrial Hemp on the slow road to reality in NC
By Joe Killian
Industrial hemp - the fabric, rope and paper *not* Phish concerts and Funyuns cousin of marijuana - has been legal since October.
That's when Gov. Pat McCrory let legislation decriminalizing it become law without his signature.
But private donors will have to raise $200,000 to cover the cost of regulating the industry, and they're not there yet.
Now, the News & Observer reports, at least one state legislator wants to see the process of legalization vetted a bit more before it moves forward.
Rep. Jimmy Dixon told the News & Observer Thursday he didn't like the way legalization got through - stuck it in a state senate bill on special license plates a few days before the end of the legislative session.
Dixon, a Duplin County Republican who chairs the N.C. House Agriculture Committee, says the issue should have gotten a hearing there - and he intends to put it on the committee's agenda when the legislature returns in April.
Dixon voted "no" on legalization in September - but he said he may be convinced to support it now. He wants regulation decided on by the General Assembly though, not appointees who raise the $200,000 to cover the regulation.
"I’m not saying that we should or should not go in this direction," Dixon told the News & Observer. "I’m just upset and perturbed in the manner in which it was forwarded."
Hemp is related to marijuana and has a similar look, but doesn't have the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana that gets you high. That's why supporters of hemp feel it's a bit silly that we're still arguing about its legalization in so many states across the country.
But if we stopped arguing over silly things, the General Assembly's sessions would be about the length of a Super Bowl half-time show.