Due in part to pressure from Kentucky, U.S. Congress is looking into making hemp legal for research purposes in the 2013 farm bill, which could benefit universities or institutions looking into pursuing studies involving the crop.

Kentucky’s Murray State University has stated it would like to conduct research involving hemp’s benefits if the crop is legalized.

Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons
The U.S. Congress is looking into making hemp legal for research purposes in the 2013 farm bill. Photo credit: Barbetorte, Wikimedia Commons  

"Anytime a legal and newly recycled crop comes up, well, we are interested in how we can help," Tony Brannon, dean of the university’s agriculture school said to the Kansas City Star. "We certainly want to stay in tune to opportunities that may arise and there would be a lot of investigation required there."

The Georgetown, Kentucky Toyota plant would also benefit from legalization of hemp as it was looking into using the industrial version of the crop for making its auto parts, added Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to the Murray Ledger & Times.

Currently, three states have passed legislation allowing hemp research or have set up commissions on hemp, while eight have passed legislation calling for its study. Nine other states have passed bills that allow hemp production.

However, according to the Murray Ledger & Times:

“Hemp production was effectively banned in the U.S. after the Cannabis sativa became associated with causing reckless behavior and was regulated as a drug in every state; 35 also adopted the Uniform State Narcotic Act of 1932 that was adopted by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Later, it received strong public support from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

It is expected congress will make its final decision on hemp legalization in the next few weeks.

- With files from the Kansas City Star and the Murray Ledger & Times