By Antonio Cordero
A legislative conference committee has reached a compromise on a bill geared towards legalizing the production of hemp but the deal must now get approval from both the House and Senate.
The House of Representatives had previously amended the bill to cover a broader spectrum of hemp production and its uses, including fuel manufacturing. However, the committee - including the bill's authors, Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, and Sen. Richard Young Jr., D-Milltown, - decided to limit the bill strictly to the legalization of hemp.
Young said the bill is important in light of the federal government's move toward allowing some hemp production.
"It will get us ready for when the federal government gets their act together and legalizes hemp so we can start growing the product and benefitting economically from it," Young said.
Young said hemp has great potential and could put Indiana on the map when legalized.
"I'm not sure why we would allow other countries to benefit at our expense," he said. "It's a travesty that we can't benefit ourselves from it. This bill is important because now Indiana will be at the forefront of when it happens."
The bill must get final approval from the House and Senate before it moves to Gov. Mike Pence for consideration.
Antonio Cordero is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.