INDIANAPOLIS— On Friday, State Senator Richard D. Young, Jr. (D-Milltown) sent a letter to U.S. Representative Frank D. Lucas, the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, to encourage him to support future legislation that will grow the hemp industry for the manufacturing and agricultural sectors of the United States, as well as Indiana.

With H.R.2642, the Agricultural Act of 2014, and Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 357 being signed into law on both the federal and state levels, Sen. Young noted that hemp can be a vital economic development tool for farmers and manufacturers once the federal government decides to end its prohibition on the harmless plant.

“The Indiana State Seed Commissioner is already hard at work to make sure research institutions and universities have the proper permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Drug Enforcement Agency to study the cultivation and production of industrial hemp in Indiana.

“Indiana has the unique opportunity to be on the forefront of this agricultural commodity that can serve as the next cash crop for Hoosier farmers and Indiana’s manufacturing sector,” said Sen. Young.

Southern Indiana produced industrial hemp rope as part of the war effort during World War II when the United States encouraged all farmers to grow hemp. However, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 erroneously lumped industrial hemp with marijuana and outlawed production of either, despite their differences.

Sen. Young stated the importance of continued support for industrial hemp on the federal level so Hoosier farmers will shortly be able to take advantage of the new laws. SEA 357, authored by Sen. Young and signed into law by Governor Mike Pence on March 26, also sets up the framework for farmers and businesses in Indiana to apply for permits to grow hemp and produce hemp products.

“We have farmers and businesses in Indiana that can immediately benefit from growing, cultivating, marketing and manufacturing hemp and hemp products.

“On the state level, we have taken the first step. What Hoosiers need now is for Congress and federal officials to continue to support future legislation that will help Hoosiers utilize hemp’s potential market value and grow our economy,” said Sen. Young.

Sen. Young also sent the letter to Indiana Governor Mile Pence, Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner Robert D. Waltz, as well as the entire U.S. Congressional Delegation for the State of Indiana.

A copy of the letter can be found here: http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/files/YoungHempLettertoUSRepLucas.pdf

Sen. Young represents Senate District 47 which encompasses portions of Crawford, Dubois, Harrison, Orange, Perry and Washington counties. For more information on Sen. Young, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business, call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s47.

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