The University of Tennessee is jumping on the prospect of a new cash crop for state farmers.
A bill that allows the growing of hemp is expected to be sent to Gov. Bill Haslam this week, joining Kentucky as allowing the growing of the crop. UT is reportedly joining with the University of Kentucky to ask Congressman Hal Rogers to get funding for research and development. The Kentucky congressman is chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
The federal government made such crops legal in the recently passed farm bill.
It has not been illegal to possess hemp, which is used for a variety of products, usually imported from Canada or China. But it was illegal to grow it because it is a cousin of the illegal marijuana plant.
Hemp farming was once a major source of fiber for paper, cloth, and other manufacturing before it was outlawed.