Indiana Senate panel discusses bill to speed up federal approval of industrial hemp production


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INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana Senate committee is considering a bill that lawmakers say could speed up the federal approval process to grow industrial hemp in Indiana.

Senate Agriculture Committee members discussed a proposal Monday that would specify the exemption of hemp from the state's marijuana laws. It would also legally protect people using hemp oil for medicinal purposes.

Hemp is a non-intoxicating cousin of marijuana and is used for many legal products including clothing and oil. It also has medicinal benefits but cannot be grown without permission under federal law.

An Indiana law passed last year legalized the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp once federal officials approve. The state's application is still pending.

Committee Chairwoman Jean Leising, an Oldenburg Republican, says she'll hold a vote after further discussion.

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