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Mississippi task force considers the risks and benefits of ‘hemp’

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A new group is examining what growing hemp might mean for Mississippi’s economy.

A new group is examining what growing hemp might mean for Mississippi’s economy.

Legislators created the hemp cultivation task force, and the group held its first meeting at the state capitol.

The session was more of a meet and greet for supporters, opponents and those interested in how hemp works.

The U.S. Congress last year approved allowing production of non-intoxicating hemp in heavily regulated programs.

Here in Mississippi it’s still against the law.

“Hemp remains a schedule one control substance and that is why the legislature put in this bill our mandate to research this,” Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson

Task force members include legislators, employees from universities, the attorney general’s and secretary of state’s offices, the state health department and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.

Commissioner Gipson leads the force.

“There are many challenges and also opportunities with regard to potential cultivation of hemp in Mississippi the task force will consider both the challenges and the opportunities,” said Gipson.

And the confusion among some in law enforcement is about the difference between hemp and pot.

“It’s a difference between hemp and marijuana and as it was defined in the federal law in the farm bill hemp is not to have a THC content of more than 0.3 percent so that is the distinction,” he said.

Each year the task force must make its findings available to the state legislature one month before the session .

The public is allowed to weigh in during these meetings— public meeting notices will be provided by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture.

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