North Carolina lawmakers vote to delay smokable hemp ban

Another set of policymakers in North Carolina has signed off on banning smokable hemp until December 2020 in hopes that tests will be developed by then to distinguish the plant from marijuana.

The state House Judiciary Committee voted to approve the original measure passed by the Senate, which would make smokable hemp legal until December 2020, allowing time for the differentiation of hemp from marijuana and for the hemp industry to work with law enforcement to develop a compromise.

Earlier this month, the House Agriculture Committee approved a measure to ban smokable hemp by December.

Last week, the House Finance Committee approved another measure to criminalize smokable hemp and classify it as marijuana.

House Agriculture chair Jimmy Dixon, who had pushed for the earlier ban on smokable hemp and championed the measure to criminalize the product, changed his position, Raleigh TV station WRAL reported

He instead encouraged the House Judiciary Committee to continue to differentiate smokable hemp from marijuana and vote in favor of the Senate version of the bill, which would delay the ban until next year.

North Carolina’s Bureau of Investigation is pushing for the ban, saying it is difficult for law enforcement to discern smokable hemp from marijuana.

Hemp industry members testified in the Judiciary Committee hearing that the earlier ban would devastate hemp farms producing smokable hemp flower.