Source: Hanford Sentinel

HANFORD — With all the focus on Proposition 64’s legalization of recreational pot, many people didn’t notice a section of the new law that legalizes something else: industrial hemp.

Hemp, which is a variety of cannabis without the mind-altering properties usually associated with marijuana, was grown like any other agricultural crop in the 1940s to supply material such as rope and clothing for World War II.

But since 1957, it’s been declared illegal by the federal government.

Local hemp advocates hope that in the wake of Prop. 64, large fields of the tall, leafy stalks will appear in Kings County.

“Industrial hemp is one of the main reasons I really wanted to push for Prop. 64,” said Hanford resident Brian Neves Jr. “I think that hemp has so many practical uses. There’s almost a countless variety [of products] that hemp can be turned into.”

Neves Jr. said biodegradable hemp bags could replace plastic bags and produce an environmental benefit.

Neves Jr. thinks hemp could be a valuable cash crop for local farmers facing high groundwater pumping costs.

“I think it would revitalize the agricultural industry here in our area,” he said. “I think a lot of farmers should be looking toward hemp.”

“We are discussing this topic as an organization but have not finalized our position at this time, so I can’t comment yet,” said Dustin Ference, executive director of the Kings County Farm Bureau.

Stratford farmer Charles Meyer said he wanted to try hemp farming for years, but said he ran into too many regulatory roadblocks.