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Montgomery Supervisor to Albemarle: VA Should Industrialize Hemp - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Montgomery Supervisor to Albemarle: VA Should Industrialize Hemp

Posted: Updated: Jan 9, 2013 06:49 PM EST

The debate over whether hemp is the same as marijuana has been contentious for law enforcement and legislatures alike.

But Albemarle County supervisors are open to what could mean an economic boost for the county.

Wednesday's presentation on the topic highlighted many of the positives. It could mean thousands of jobs, and growing hemp is environmentally friendly. But convincing Congress could be a tough sale.

Jim Politis, a Montgomery County supervisor, argued that industrial hemp would be good for the commonwealth, saying the $360 million market could restore manufacturing and tobacco jobs. He's asking supervisors to support a resolution to present to Congress.

Currently, hemp falls under the Controlled Substance Act and to grow or produce it in the United States would mean shifting regulation from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Department of Agriculture.

Politis says he wants to work with law enforcement.

"Now if I have a hundred-acre hemp field and I get my permit to grow it, then we're going to put it on a GPS map and when the helicopters fly over looking for drugs and they see it's a certified hemp field, they don't have to stop," he said.

Politis says he has a few more than a dozen resolutions passed by different localities, but wants to take at least 50 to Washington.

Supervisors did not make a decision to support or reject the resolution at Wednesday's meeting. The matter will return to the board on February 6.

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