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State seeks comments on industrial hemp production

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OLYMPIA — The state Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it’s seeking public comments on proposed rules establishing a pilot program to grow, process and market industrial hemp.

Called the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot, the program would license researchers in the production of hemp, a controlled substance under federal law. A state law approved last year allows the crop to be grown for research purposes.

Proposed rules would cover how to apply for licenses, how to handle and transport industrial hemp seed, how the state will inspect and test hemp products and other issues.

View the pilot program’s proposed rules and other background material at ow.ly/NrTN309WW3m. Comments are due April 7 and may be submitted:

<> By email at wsdarulescomments@agr.wa.gov.

<> By mail to Henri Gonzales, WSDA Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia, WA 98504-2560.

<> In person at public hearings at 11 a.m. April 6 at 21 N. First Ave. in Yakima; and 11 a.m. April 7 at 1111 Washington St. SE in Olympia.

Industrial hemp is an agricultural product with many potential uses, said a WSDA press release. It is a source of fiber used in textiles, rope, paper and building materials, and its seed is used for food, oil and other products. 

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.