Michigan launches pilot program for farmers to grow hemp

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan is launching a pilot program to aid farmers and processors interested in growing industrial hemp during the 2019 planting season.

The U.S. government is implementing a national program to start in 2020. But the state already has the authority to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.

Participating farmers and processors will have to obtain a license and enter into a research agreement with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The agency said Thursday it will schedule several events where people can apply for and obtain a research agreement.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan is a "natural fit" to grow, process and manufacture industrial hemp. She says the emerging crop not only is a new opportunity for farmers but also is an opportunity for new businesses to form.

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