Final North Carolina farm bill sets smokable hemp ban date

Final North Carolina farm bill sets smokable hemp ban date

The smell of hemp plants as harvesting season approaches has become annoying for students and school bus drivers.

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina's annual agriculture measure is getting final votes because negotiators have worked out differences, particularly on when to outlaw production and possession of smokable hemp.

The House and Senate scheduled floor votes for Monday evening on the 2019 Farm Act, much of which describes the regulatory framework to expand the state's industrial and medicinal hemp industry.

[ALSO READ: Some NC lawmakers want to help make hemp the state's next cash crop]

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But the measure declares smokable hemp - which lacks the concentration of the compound that gives marijuana its high - illegal starting next June 1. Law enforcement want the ban because smokable hemp looks and smells like pot, making it difficult for police to differentiate. The bill says a ban repeal could occur if a field test to distinguish the products is found reliable.

Hemp growers are anxious because smokable hemp is profitable.