The Indiana state chemist is requesting approval from the federal government for permission to regulate hemp.
Growing hemp has been banned for decades, but the Indiana legislature and Congress recently passed laws allowing hemp production for research.
If the federal government approves its request, the state chemist’s office will begin taking steps to create permits for universities that want to research hemp.
State Chemist Robert Waltz says there are many questions that still need to be answered.
“What are the regulations we need to consider that would allow the commodity to be produced in a responsible way?” Waltz asks. “What are the issues in terms of markets and market access?”
A bill the state legislature passed addresses some of these issues.
For example, it requires people who want to grow hemp to tell the state chemist where they plan to grow the crop. It also requires people to get a background check before they’re given a permit.
The approval and regulation process for hemp is new for both Indiana and the federal government, so Waltz says he doesn’t know how long it will take before groups would be able to start hemp research.