RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A proposed ban on smokable hemp may go into effect in North Carolina one year earlier under an amendment to a bill moving through the state House.
The House Agriculture committee passed the amended bill Friday, expediting the Senate’s ban to this December from December 2020.
The Senate passed the original act last week and some Senate lawmakers opposed accelerating the ban during Friday’s meeting.
Law enforcement is advocating for an immediate ban over concerns that legal hemp, which does not produce a high, is indistinguishable from illegal marijuana. The state Agriculture Department told lawmakers that they are working on verifying field tests that could differentiate the substances. Farmers say a ban on the lucrative product would hurt them.
The bill now moves to the House Finance Committee.