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Alaska Bill Legalizing Industrial Hemp Awaits Governor's Pen

A measure legalizing the production of industrial hemp in Alaska awaits Gov. Bill Walker's signature.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A measure that would legalize the production of industrial hemp in Alaska has passed the state House and Senate.

The bill awaits Gov. Bill Walker's signature before becoming law, Alaska Public Media reported Wednesday.

The legislation would allow registered participants into a pilot project to grow hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant that produces useful fiber, but almost none of the psychoactive compound that alters people's mental state.

Republican state Sen. Shelley Hughes of Palmer introduced the bill. Hughes said she was approached by local farmers in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough looking to grow hemp, which can be used as feed and bedding for livestock, as well as material to clean up oil spills.

"It was time to remove hemp from the marijuana statutes," Hughes said. "There's no psychoactive impact from hemp. If you were to smoke acres and acres and acres of hemp, all you would get would be a sore throat and a cough."

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