Hemp: the new soybean

Image courtesy of TheTruthAbout... on Flickr
A state legislator says letting Minnesota farmers grow industrial hemp --in other words, the non-ingestible variety -- could pad their bottom lines.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-West Nicollett Island) has introduced a bill to make industrial hemp legal in Minnesota. The bill is set for a hearing on Monday.

Industrial hemp looks completely different from the kind grown under the bed, according to Kahn. "The best way you could stop any outdoor growing of the drug cannabis is have everybody growing the hemp cannabis," Kahn says.

The crop can be used to make clothing, fuel, biodegradable plastics, and even concrete.

North Dakota's already done it. North Dakota's Republican Speaker of the House, David Monson, pushed to pass an industrial hemp law in his state. Monson is a barley farmer who grows crop near the border of Canada.

"In a year when barley had been ravaged by disease, he looked across his border and saw his neighbors planting hemp and getting a very high profit compared to what he was getting," Kahn says.