Maryland latest to legalize hemp production

Maryland will start allowing hemp production, joining at least 33 other states that have changed their laws to allow the crop.

The Maryland bill passed Thursday after a unanimous vote in the state Senate.

The measure now awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who is expected to sign it.

Maryland’s hemp law takes effect in July. The law doesn’t limit how the plant can be used, though final rules will be developed by state agriculture officials.

Interested farmers can apply for $250 licenses to grow the crop.

Maryland lawmakers are also nearing completion on a bill to diversify the state’s medical marijuana industry.

According to The Washington Post, that bill would increase the number of licenses for growers and processors and specify that those permits be awarded in a process that gives preference to minority-owned businesses.

A lawsuit challenging Maryland’s process for awarding MMJ licenses was settled in February.