It’s not often I get to talk about the Farm Bill in this blog but contained within its 1400 pages is an important provision legalizing hemp in states that choose to authorize its farming and production. States including New York have been urging banks and credit unions to provide banking services to hemp farmers.
Hemp is a close cousin of the cannabis plant but it has a tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 50.3 percent on a dry weight basis. Proponents of its production believe that it has many potential benefits ranging from skin care products to stronger ropes. Like marijuana, its production and distribution has been illegal as a matter of federal law for decades but since 2014, federal law has permitted hemp to be produced in tightly controlled settings.
Although cannabis legalization has gotten most of the attention, states such as New York have urged credit unions and banks to help fund hemp farming and hemp has found a champion in the form of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whose Kentucky farmers want to see hemp as a potential growth crop. But banks and credit unions have been reluctant to do so because of the continuing federal prohibition.
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