Alaska Closer To Commercial Industrial Hemp Industry

Industrial hemp in Alaska
Image: Valyxyz

Commercial industrial hemp farming in the U.S. state of Alaska is a step closer after passing of a related bill in the House of Representatives earlier this week.

The Bill, SB 6, covers the regulation and production of industrial hemp in the state. Importantly, it also distinguishes industrial hemp from marijuana, thus removing it from the state’s list of controlled substances. It also excludes cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of hashish oil and clarifies that adding industrial hemp to food does not result in an adulterated food product.

It was just over a year ago that state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office enforcement officers raided stores selling products containing CBD derived from hemp. What will happen in those cases remains to be seen; however, industrial hemp related regulation would change from the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources under SB 6.

The Bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 36-0. In April last year, the same Bill passed in the Senate with a unanimous 20-0 vote in favor.

The Bill’s champion, Sen. Shelley Hughes was very pleased the result, one that she was confident would be achieved in the House.

“Before long, Alaskans will be able to grow hemp just like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams did,” said Senator Hughes earlier this month in the leadup to the House vote; just after the Bill passed out of its final committee of referral. “Look forward to the economic opportunities that will open up as a result of this bill’s passage!”

21 Senators and Representatives were co-sponsors of SB 6.

As in most other states, under the legislation, industrial hemp products intended for human consumption and on a dry-weight basis will not be able to exceed 0.3 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

According to KTVA, the bill now requires a Senate concurrence vote – a date for which is yet to be determined. The full text of SB 6 can be viewed here.

Alaska may not seem the ideal location for industrial hemp, but history shows the crop can grow quite well in the state during summer months.