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North Carolina Senate passes bill that would avoid shutdown of the cannabis industry

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The state Senate has passed farming legislation that would firmly establish the legality of industrial hemp in North Carolina.

Yesterday the Senate approved the annual farm bill, including updated language that would remove hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances, a change necessary because hemp was only legal in the state under a pilot cannabis program that began in 2017 and ends July 1.

The measure, which now goes to the state House of Representatives, would also set the official THC level that specifies marijuana cannabis at 0.3%.

Oversight by the US Department of Agriculture

Both articles would bring the state into line with federal rules after legalizing hemp as a result of the 2018 US Agriculture Act. If the bill fails, North Carolina’s industrial hemp program will have to close at the end of June.

The North Carolina government chose not to regulate a state hemp production program as the pilot program ended, leaving farmers to work under the USDA beginning this year.

The chances of the bill in the House of Representatives are unclear. Law agencies in North Carolina have opposed the legalization of cannabis, suggesting that it could cause confusion in the enforcement of marijuana laws.

Advocates in North Carolina see hemp as a rotation crop, and as an alternative to declining tobacco fields.

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