Tennessee Votes to Grow Hemp, Hopefully Not Like California

Tennessee could be the second state to grow hemp after the state senate voted 28-0 and the House voted 88-5 in favor of it.

"The department shall issue licenses to persons who apply for a license to grow industrial hemp," the bill says. "The department shall initiate the promulgation of rules … concerning industrial hemp production within 120 days of this act becoming law."

Colorado is the only state where licenses to grow hemp have been issued (as of March 1) although Oregon and Vermont have passed bills to allow it.  

Hemp also made it into the Farm Bill this year, allowing it to be grown for research purposes in states that pass industrial hemp farming legislation.  

Recently, Mother Jones published a scathing article on the damage marijuana production is causing in California – "The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming."

It points out that with the exception of Colorado and Washington, whose laws dictate where, how, and by whom marijuana may be grown, regulations in California are sorely lacking.

Estimates are that a mind-boggling $31 billion worth of marijuana is grown each year in California, more than the combined value of the state’s top 10 farm commodities.

"Whether grown in bunkers lit with pollution-spewing diesel generators, or doused with restricted pesticides and sown on muddy, deforested slopes that choke off salmon streams during the rainy season, this "pollution pot" isn’t exactly high quality, or even a quality high," says Mother Jones. "It simply isn’t regulated, and the upshot is that nobody really knows what’s in their cannabis."

How sad, because one of the great things about growing marijuana and its cousin, hemp, is that it doesn’t need external inputs like pesticides. The last thing we want is for this otherwise benign crop to put more pressure on our fragile, precious environment and our health.

Entrepreneurs Jump In

Meanwhile, a former Wall Street banker hopes to solve that problem by growing marijuana in greenhouses using sustainable practices.

Terra Tech Corp (OTC:TRTC) has an interesting strategy – grow herbs and other leafy greens in states that are likely to pass pro-marijuana legislation. As soon as the state legalizes it, they switch over to cannabis production.

Unlike typical growers who combined, use 1% of US electricity to grow the crop indoors, Terra Tech’s outdoor greenhouses rely on sunlight. Its Edible Garden subsidiary uses LED grow lights and another subsidiary, GrowOp Technology, supplies medical marijuana growing equipment.

Marijuana

Read our article, Marijuana Growers Are High on Greenhouse Gases.

Read the article in Mother Jones:

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