Virginia legalizes industrial hemp

A new hemp market was legalized last week, in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed Senate Bill 691 into law last Monday, which simply removes any criminal penalties for growing industrial hemp or for making any products from it, a local NBC affiliate reported.

Virginia is just the latest state to get on board with the hemp movement, as many others with suffering agricultural economies have looked to hemp as a possible savior, including Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington State.

The Virginia law goes into effect July 1, and requires farmers to pay a four-year $250 licensing fee in order to start growing indusrial hemp.

The legal hemp industry has been on the rise for years now, with many of the advocates who support reforming marijuana laws also backing the full legalization of hemp, for use in a variety of industries that range from textiles to clothing to food. The value of the hemp product industry in 2014, according to the Hemp Industries Association, was an estimated $620 million.