by Dorothy Chomicz, News Miner
FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks City Council member Lloyd Hilling will introduce a resolution at the next council meeting urging the state government to legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp in Alaska. This is Hilling’s first resolution since regaining the council seat that he lost to Emily Bratcher in 2008.
Hilling said he has several reasons for writing the resolution.
“Well, I’ll tell you, my primary motive is that this is something that should be legal, and should be investigated and should be explored. It should be experimented with openly and possibly be developed into something relatively big for Alaska,” Hilling said.
Hemp, or Cannabis sativa, has only minute quantities of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol, and cannot be used as a recreational drug. Hemp grows quickly, and the plant and fibers can be used for many purposes such as paper products, textiles, plastics, animal bedding, rope, essential oils, medicine, food and construction.
Cannabis indica, commonly referred to as marijuana, is not suitable for industrial use and is cultivated almost exclusively for recreational or medicinal drug use. The cultivation of marijuana, and consequently its close cousin hemp, has been illegal in the U.S. since the 1930s.
Even though it is illegal to grow hemp in the U.S., it is not illegal to use it industrially.