- Associated Press - Thursday, February 15, 2018

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A proposal to ease the cultivation of hemp, a less-potent cousin of marijuana, is moving forward in the Oregon Legislature.

The bill would expand a hemp research program run by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. The bill would classify hemp seed as an agricultural seed, and direct the agency to set standards for the seed, and create standard identification documents for hemp products. A House committee approved the bill on a 9-0 vote Thursday.

A close cousin of marijuana, hemp is a variety of cannabis plant that has lower levels of intoxicating chemicals, like THC, and that has been bred to produce fiber. The fiber from the plant has been used to manufacture paper, fabric, and other products. Hemp seeds are also a food.

The bill was approved in the Agricultural and Natural Resources committee, sending it to the Ways and Means committee for approval before a full vote.

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