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Home health, hospice nurses in OR call for union contract agreement; MS ranks low among states for long-term care services, supports; and a look at how adopting children changed the lives of two Texas women.

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Former Vice President Mike Pence reportedly tells investigators more details about efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley wins the endorsement of a powerful Koch brothers' network and a Senate committee targets judicial activists known to lavish gifts upon Supreme Court justices.

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Congress has iced the long-awaited Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents speak out about a planned road through Alaska's Brooks Range a dream destination for hunters and angler.

Will Hemp Get Over the Hump in Florida?

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Monday, February 23, 2015   

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A table full of hemp products recently made for a strange sight inside Florida's Capitol building, especially when growing the plant here is illegal.

The display was set up to promote new legislation to legalize and regulate the cultivation of hemp farming, for use in beauty care, food and other products.

Hemp itself is benign, but leaves from other species of cannabis plants can produce hallucinogenic forms of marijuana, so it is lumped in with the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Jodi James, executive director of the Florida Cannabis Action Network, says Florida is missing out.

"There's millions of dollars, actually half a billion dollars worth of hemp products being imported in to the United States every year,” she advises. “They're on the shelves in our Targets, our Costcos, our health food stores. This is a great industrial opportunity for our state."

In Florida, it's technically illegal to sell any hemp product, though James says the law is only selectively enforced.

If the bills pass, the Florida Department of Agriculture would set up guidelines for farmers to begin growing hemp, which James says could be harvested year-round in the state's warm climate.

James adds her group will be working hard to erase what she calls the marijuana stigma that's improperly attached to hemp.

"It's totally non-euphoric,” she stresses. “There's no harms to it. It's not going to get someone high. It's not going to do anything except feed you, clothe you and house you."

That's right. In addition to its applications in food, cosmetics, paper and clothing, hemp fibers are also being promoted as materials for home construction.

Structural engineer Bob Clayton got approval to build his Florida house with what’s called hempcrete.

"I imported $6,500 worth of hemp from England to build my house,” he explains. “And it's about a 1,600-square-foot house, three-bedroom. This housing is perfect for Florida."

Clayton says his energy bills are a fraction of what they used to be and that hempcrete is even strong enough to stand up to Florida's strict hurricane building codes.




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