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FAIRBANKS-A resolution was introduced to the Fairbanks City Council by Lloyd Hilling, and passed on a 4-1 vote on Monday. The resolution will urge the state to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp. It also asked that the state petition the United States to constitutionally justify the ban currently in place on the plant or to allow cultivation and distribution in the country.
The only no vote was made by Councilman Bernard Gatewood. Gatewood pointed out that he understood the difference between industrial hemp and the euphoria-inducing variety of the plant but could not afford to be associated with the legalization of marijuana in any shape or form. He said that he wants to support the resolution however, but is struggling with the implications. Gatewood is the superintendent of the Fairbanks Youth facility.
Hemp is the term used for the low THC-containing strains of the sativa plant. Strains have been developed that produce very minimal amounts of THC. Sativa is the fastest and tallest growing varieties of the cannabis family. The fiber yield from hemp is used for cordage and high durability clothing and is usually blended 55/45. Its uses go far beyond that however, and has a myriad of uses from fodder to food.
The United States is the largest importer of Hemp from various countries and China is the world’s largest producer of the plant. The plant has been cultivated for at least 12,000 years, but hemp production in the United States was slowly brought to a halt in the 1950’s, after WWII where hemp production was highly encouraged.
While many confuse Hemp with Marijuana, hemp is grown much differently and cross-pollination is avoided by marijuana growers as it introduces high levels of CBD into their crops. CBD is an anti-psychoactive ingredient found in all hemp plants.