Some Massachusetts lawmakers are hoping to legalize the growth and production of industrial hemp in the Bay State, saying it’ll be an economic boon to a region of the state with high unemployment.
While they’ve displayed reluctance to approach legalizing marijuana for recreational use as an independent group has a question on track for the November ballot to do just that, hemp is another matter that has some legislators’ support.
Lawmakers argue that hemp is a whole other crop, too. On Tuesday they hosted television star Tim Gunn in an effort to push for a bill (H 773) that would “establish policy and procedures for growing industrial hemp” in order to help the state’s agricultural industry.
The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Chris Walsh, D-Framingham.
North Carolina legalized industrial hemp in 2015.
Supporters of the Massachusetts bill say Fall River was once a leading supplier of hemp rope before hemp production was banned at the federal level.
“We’re intent on getting this back and getting it back to Massachusetts,” said Gunn, who has appeared on “Project Runway” and “How I Met Your Mother.”