Indiana’s legislature has given approval to Senate Bill 357, a proposal to legalize industrial hemp. The measure was approved unanimously through the Senate last month, and was approved with a 93 to 4 vote through the House of Representatives earlier this week; given that the House amended the bill, the Senate needed to sign-off on it one more time, which they did today. The measure now heads to Governor Mike Pence for consideration.
Under the proposed law, the cultivation of industrial hemp would be legal for those who become licensed with the state to do so.
Although the measure is contingent on a change in federal law, the federal government’s recent legalization of hemp research in states that have legalized hemp will allow Indiana to begin researching hemp almost immediately (this July) if ipproved into law.
According to congressional research released last year, the U.S. imports half a billion dollars in hemp from other countries, primarily China and Canada, while retaining the illegality of its cultivation. The same congressional research found that the hemp market consists of over 25,000 various products.