- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Once banned, hemp will be the focus of research at Virginia State University and Virginia Tech.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed legislation in March to clear the way for the research. The law is effective July 1, with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services designated as the licensing agent for the state.

The research has the backing of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

Hemp was once a versatile farm crop. It was used to make fabric, rope and paper. It was among the 100 plants members of the Virginia Company were ordered to grow 400 years ago.

Industrial help was grown in the U.S. until 1945. It 1970, all forms of the cannabis plant were banned under the Controlled Substances Act.

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