The probability that Idaho farmers will be able to grow hemp for industrial usage received a positive boost this week after the bill that was authored to allow for the growing and transport of Cannabis Sativa passed by a margin of 18 more votes in favor.

House Bill 126 passed this week by a 44-26 vote, and will now await further approval. The 2018 Farm Bill made it possible for national growers to pursue permits from the Drug Enforcement Agency for industrial production and distribution.

Industrial hemp has a much lower tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) percentage than most recreationally grown strains, thus being better suited to be used for the sole production of goods such as clothing, therapeutic oils, recreational gear and other materials. The seeds, fiber and oil from hemp are used to produce products in the country that gross hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The type of industrial hemp that could be allowed to be grown in Idaho if it is legalized would have to contain THC levels that are substantially lower (90% or higher) than strains used for recreational purposes. Testing is closely monitored and evaluated by state drug enforcement agencies.

Idaho's ban on growing for any means still remains however, and those who are found to be in possession, growing or transporting the product will face heavy punishment, which can include a prison term of up to 15 years and a $50,000 fine. There are presently 15 states that allow for recreational growth and usage.

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