Hemp on the ropes
Efforts to liberalize hemp growing could offer jobs and revenues
Published: February 9, 2011
Hemp can be grown in any state and some 17 of them have passed resolutions to study the possibility of hemp agriculture. A handful of states have passed legislation allowing some experimental hemp farming with DEA approval. However, the feds have not handed out any approvals.
Michigan is not one of those states pursuing hemp, but Swift hopes some state legislator picks up the idea and runs with it. Lemmons says he has talked to one current legislator who has an interest but wants to know more. That's not a ringing endorsement, but Lemmons has some hope that hemp will have its day.
"It can create thousands of jobs," says Lemmons. "In Detroit I'm happy if someone creates 12 jobs. But there are potentially tens of thousands of jobs with hemp. We can ship it anywhere from here. We can do the agricultural part in the many farms throughout the state and the processing in Detroit. With the large amount of vacant land in Detroit, we could do some of the agriculture right here."
Last week, state attorney general Bill Schuette's spokesman John Selleck called medical marijuana the "No. 1 growth industry in Michigan," in an argument disparaging it. Flip the coin to the hemp side and it looks like you could tie up some tidy profits with a nascent hemp industry.
And, as we should all know by now, you can't smoke rope.
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