USDA approves Indiana’s plan for commercial hemp growing

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A picture taken on June 5, 2019 shows a female cannabis plant in a grow room at the “Hemp Embassy” store in Milan, one of the first shops in Italy dedicated to cannabis. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Indiana’s plan to allow farmers to commercially grow and process hemp.

The plan will take the Office of the Indiana State Chemist’s pilot hemp program and transition it to one allowing for commercial hemp production. Previously, hemp growers needed a research proposal and to be associated with a university to apply for a license. Under this newly approved plan, however, farmers can become independently licensed.

Applications will open online in November for the 2021 growing season.

“This plan approval is a huge accomplishment for both farmers and our team,” Don Robison, seed administrator for the Office of the Indiana State Chemist, said in news release. “We are looking forward to growing this program and offering more efficient licensing for Hoosier farmers and processing companies.”

Indiana is now one of 29 states with approved hemp plans. Twelve other states are currently negotiating with USDA on their plans.

Earlier this month, the USDA also signed-off on hemp plans for Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota, as well as the Comanche Nation, the San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

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