ALASKA: Parlaying the recent passing of Alaska’s Ballot Measure 2, which legalized cannabis for recreational sale in the state, Democratic Senator Johnny Ellis has pre-filed a bill seeking to make hemp – marijuana’s non-psychoactive sibling – the state’s next agricultural cash crop.
According to reports, “Ellis had been considering proposing an industrial hemp bill for several years and after seeing bipartisan support for hemp in the U.S. Congress’ 2014 Farm Bill, he decided to introduce legislation.”
It’s no surprise that Alaska is joining the discussion regarding hemp legalization, given the worldwide popularity of hemp products for everything from textiles and building materials to bio-plastics and auto parts. Countries from Uruguay to Romania have for many years been capitalizing on this rich natural resource.
Still, U.S. states face considerable hurdles when pursuing legalization due to hemp’s misperception as a psychoactive substance, first misclassified in the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, which placed hemp in the Schedule I drug category along with marijuana, heroin and LSD.