North Carolina lawmakers are moving closer to banning smokable hemp starting next year.
An agricultural bill that includes a ban on selling smokable hemp products in December 2020 advanced through a committee in the state House this week, The Charlotte Observer reports.
The measure has already passed the North Carolina Senate and could be heard on the floor of the full House this week, the newspaper says.
Hemp farmers say the limit would undercut one of the fastest-growing markets for the new crop in a state with a legacy of tobacco production. Law enforcement in North Carolina argues that smokable hemp is too hard to distinguish from illegal marijuana.
Lawmakers have said they hope that improved testing will satisfy both sides and allow the ban to be lifted before it takes effect.
Police in neighboring South Carolina have ordered smokable hemp products taken off store shelves because they say that state law there doesn’t allow its sale.