2117 59 1 LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE

The movement to legalize the production of industrial hemp in Tennessee is building steam in the state House.

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a hemp bill sponsored by local lawmakers Sen. Frank Niceley and Rep. Jeremy Faison.

The bill would make it legal for farmers to produce, sell, possess and research industrial hemp in the state.

This is the second victory hemp supporters have scored in as many days.

The House overwhelmingly voted for the same legislation Monday by a vote of 88 to 5.

More Information: Read the Legislation

Amber Keirn co-owns the store "Hemp Monkeys" in Bearden. She said the progress of the legislation is a step in the right direction for those looking to produce their own clothes or food out of hemp.

"I mean we need to do this," she said. "This is something that will generate local income, the economy would be stimulated by it."

The bill would also require hemp farmers to be licensed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

If it were to become law, it's predicted that at least 10 farmers would request licenses to grow hemp over the next year.

Previous Story: Tennessee considers legalizing hemp

Tennessee Department of Agriculture spokesperson Tom Womack said there is some merit to the economic claims made by hemp supporters.

But, he cautioned there are still some legal questions that need to be answered.

While Congress recently made it legal for some people to produce hemp for research purposes, the production of hemp is still illegal throughout most of the country.

Womack said it is unclear how that ban would impact the Tennessee bill if it were passed into law.

2117 59 1 LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wbir.com/1fp3LYx