Hemp Is on the Menu for Colorado and Washington Livestock

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Oh, Colorado and Washington State, you are such trendsetters. First you legalized pot for us, and now you’re going to feed hemp to your cows.

The Colorado State Senate voted 34-0 in favor of a bill directing the state’s Department of Agriculture to study the feasibility of allowing farmers to use hemp in animal feed.The Washington State Legislature passed a similar bill in 2015.

In Washington State, however, agriculture authorities recently concluded that hemp is not safe to use in poultry feed, saying there is not sufficient research on whether THC, the psychoactive chemical in weed, passes on to the birds, according to the Associated Press.

Although research done by the North American Industrial Hemp Council authoritatively concludes that hemp contains very little THC, but perhaps even a little is too much for birds.

Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world and is known as the most versatile plant on earth, used for making all manner of essential objects such as paper, textiles, cloth, biodegradable plastics, paint, biofuel—the list is long. In fact, Henry Ford once made a hemp car.

But… because it is part of the marijuana plant, it was declared illegal in the U.S. in 1937, and the industry is just barely getting back in shape again thanks to the  2014 farm bill.

Kentucky moved quickly after the farm bill was approved and began growing hemp in 2014 for research purposes. The Department of Agriculture recently notified 209 applicants who will be involved in its 2017 Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, in which they will cultivate 12,800 acres of hemp.

Minnesota, Tennessee, South Dakota, New York, Pennsylvania and other states have similar programs and are taking applications from farmers.

Because hemp grows quickly, naturally resists plant diseases, requires little weeding, thrives in most climates and enriches the soil it grows in, even the country’s more conservative states are encouraging their farmers to partake in its numerous benefits

This week, Arizona’s Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety voted 6-1 to approve industrial hemp production, processing, manufacturing, distribution and commerce by licensed growers and processors, according to a Capitol Media Services report.

Wyoming, a very red state indeed, got educated this week from one of its legislators who apparently did an excellent job teaching other House members who incorrectly associated hemp with pot.

“It’s not the devil weed, it’s not a gateway drug,” said Wyoming Republican Bunky Loucks, sponsor of House Bill 230. “I’m not trying to turn this into Colorado.” God forbid.

The proposal passed the chamber 52-6, and Loucks was ecstatic after ensuring his colleagues that no one is going to smoke hemp, but if they did, they would just get a “sore throat.”

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