President Obama has officially signed a nearly $1 trillion national farms bill which includes a provision that legalizes hemp cultivation for research purposes. The bill was signed this afternoon at Michigan State University, only two days after the Senate approved the measure.
Under the new law, universities and state departments of agriculture would be authorized to cultivate hemp for research purposes in states where its been legalized; prior to this law, a license from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was required to research hemp, a license which was virtually impossible to receive.
There are currently nine states in the U.S. that have legalized hemp cultivation; California, Oregon, Colorado, Montana, West Virginia, Vermont, North Dakota, Kentucky and Maine.
Although advocates should clearly continue to work towards the full legalization of hemp – not just for research purposes – this move is still a significant step in the right direction.