Alaska governor signs hemp bill – with pen made of hemp

Alaska has become at least the 35th state to allow hemp cultivation, after Alaska Gov. Bill Walker signed the bill with a pen made of hemp.

The measure, which passed unanimously in the state legislature, will “create a great opportunity for Alaska farmers,” Walker announced late Thursday.

Alaska’s new hemp law doesn’t set license fees nor limit the number of growers who will be allowed to try the new crop.

The law allows farmers to “retain” plants that contain up to 1 percent THC, though plants intended for human consumption can’t exceed 0.3% THC, the federal definition of hemp.

Alaska’s law doesn’t elaborate on what farms could do with plants that test between 0.3% and 1% THC; those rules could be written later by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, which regulates agriculture.

The measure excludes hemp from the state definition of marijuana and does not give the duty of regulating hemp to the Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

Walker tweeted a picture of the bill-signing ceremony and added the caption: “Fittingly? Signed with a hemp pen.”

A 1916 report from federal agriculture agents scoping the new Alaska territory noted that hemp was being grown and “fruited abundantly” on a small outdoor plot. But Alaska has no estimate of the crop’s market potential today.