Ag secretary: US must figure out hemp production

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Posted: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:25 pm | Updated: 9:04 pm, Sat Nov 1, 2014.

DENVER (AP) — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he's trying to work with the Department of Justice to allow the importation of hemp seeds for cultivation.

The farm bill signed into law this year allows the industrial production of hemp. But two states that want to grow the crop are having a hard time obtaining the seeds they need. Kentucky has sued the federal government to force it to release hemp seeds. Colorado is waiting on Vilsack's go-ahead to get seeds from Canada.

Vilsack spoke Tuesday at a news conference in Denver on the upcoming wildfire season. He says his agency is trying to resolve a conflict between what the farm bill permits and what federal drug laws prohibit.

Vilsack says large-scale hemp cultivation represents an "extraordinary income opportunity." He says he's discussed the issue with Attorney General Eric Holder.

Hemp is the non-intoxicating agricultural cousin of marijuana.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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