CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A cash crop banned in Virginia for decades will soon be legally grown in the commonwealth, thanks to some new legislation.

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a bill this week that will let people legally manufacture industrial hemp products. That law goes into effect July first this year.

The Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition (VIHC) calls it a historic milestone after years of lobbying for legalization.

Hemp had been banned because of its association with marijuana, but unlike its cannabis cousin, hemp has many harmless, lucrative uses. It is refined into hemp seed foods, hemp oil, rope, cloth, paper, and fuel. France, Canada and many other countries legally grow hemp.

“This is going to open up our farmers to that global market, and it's experiencing double digit growth as well because of the great reasons of the nutritious seed. BMW has it their cars, a lot of people don't realize that. They're looking at putting manufacturing plants here in Virginia already,” said Jason Amatucci with VIHC.

The hemp coalition says the United States is the largest importer of industrial hemp products, so being able to grow it at home should be a big opportunity.

Despite Virginia's victory, many states cannot legally produce industrial hemp due to a national ban from the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.