Indiana lawmakers may allow farmers to grow industrial hemp

Indiana lawmakers are considering allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp.

Members of the Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources heard from farmers Monday.

Don Zolman is CEO of Zolman Farms in Kosciusko County. He says having an alternative crop for Indiana farmers is vital at a time when the farming industry is difficult.

Only researchers at institutions are currently allowed to grow the plant. The committee toured Purdue University’s hemp program to learn about how the plant’s fibers, stalks and seed oil can be used in a variety of products. Purdue researchers say the plant is a different type of cannabis that doesn’t produce a high.

Jeff Cummins is with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. He says the state will need time to create regulations for hemp.