Oklahoma's governor signs bill allowing farmers to plant and harvest hemp

In this Sept. 23, 2014, file photo, a tractor cuts a small plot of hemp at a University of Kentucky research plot near Lexington, Ky. The Oregon Agriculture Department has begun accepting applications to grow industrial hemp, in time for spring planting. Industrial hemp is the cousin of marijuana that doesn't cause a high. AP PHOTO.

Oklahoma's governor has signed legislation allowing farmers to plant and harvest hemp.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed HB 2913 April 23. The bill creates the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program and was authored by Rep. Mickey Dollens, Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols and State Sen. Lonnie Paxton.

The program will be overseen by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. Universities will work with Oklahoma farmers to cultivate certified hemp seed for research.

“This measure could broaden Oklahoma’s economic base and become a steady source of revenue for our state. I’m confident the pilot program will reap valuable data that Oklahomans can then use to efficiently increase our agricultural and business portfolio," Dollens said.

The bill takes effect immediately.

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