Knox County Legislator Proposes Hemp Legalization

Nov 12, 2013

Credit Gregory Jordan, via Flickr

A Tennessee state senator wants the state to become the eleventh in the nation to legalize the growing of hemp. But he acknowledges it won't be easy.

Frank Niceley, who represents eastern Knox County, is proposing the legalization of growing hemp, mainly for industrial uses. Hemp can be used to make items ranging from medications to textiles and even plastics. But it's also a cousin of marijuana, and that connection could scare away legislative support.

“Their biggest fear is that, if they support hemp, people will think they support marijuana,” Niceley told the Nashville Tennessean. “That’s a cousin of hemp, but cornbread is a cousin of moonshine.”

Perception isn't the only hurdle for potential hemp growers in the state. Even if Tennessee legalizes growing the plant, it growers will still be bound to federal laws that treat marijuana and hemp the same way.