Latest Oregon pot battle: Marijuana growers vs. hemp growers

SALEM — Pot growers worry that Oregon’s emerging hemp industry could take the buzz out of their recretional and medicinal weed.

Some lawmakers hope to clamp down on the state’s still-embryonic industrial hemp crop due to concerns that through cross-pollination hemp could harm outdoor medical marijuana grows, particularly in southern Oregon.

Hemp — a cousin of marijuana which contains much lower levels of THC, marijuana’s psychoactive component — can ruin valuable marijuana crops through cross-pollination, by lowering marijuana’s THC content, pot advocatese say.

Hemp fiber can be used to make cloth, rope and other products. And, like marijuana, hemp, consumed as an oil, has medicinal value, hemp supporters say. But you can’t get high from smoking it. Hemp was first approved for cultivation by Oregon lawmakers in 2009, but a longstanding ban at the federal level blocked any legal hemp grows here.

That changed with the 2014 federal Farm Bill,...

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