SEVERE WX : Flash Flood Watch View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Indiana lawmakers tour Purdue hemp farm

Lawmakers visit Tippecanoe County for hemp summer study.

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 7:42 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) - Indiana lawmakers spent Monday discussing a rather controversial subject: industrial hemp.

It looks like marijuana but is a different type of cannabis, according to experts in a Purdue University hemp project. Industrial hemp will not get you high. In a summer study, lawmakers are talking about growing and producing this stuff across the state.

Since 2015, Leah Sandler has cared for cannabis plants at Meigs Farm, part of the Throckmorton Purdue Agricultural Center. State lawmakers toured the farm Monday.

As part of the university's hemp project, Sandler's goal is figure out through research how to best grow hemp in Indiana. A graduate student, she said Monday, "From my three summers of research, if you can get in in May and you don't have heavy rains, it will establish well."

Ronald Turco heads Purdue's department of agronomy, the science of soil management and crop production. He said his team provides research to lawmakers. He heard some concerns from lawmakers Monday.

"Worries about comparison to marijuana," Turco said. "We've shown them how we're different. How you do things different. How hemp is a different material and how it's grown versus marijuana."

There's no doubt you can use hemp for things such as paper, animal bedding or eating the seeds. But, Turco said, the other question he hears: Is Indiana hungry for industrial hemp?

"We think there's a market for it, but It just has to develop," the agronomist said.

A member of the summer study committee, state Sen. Randy Head, a Logansport Republican, said the Indiana Department of Agriculture is not set up as a regulatory agency, which would have to be figured out before industrial hemp can be grown in the state.

Head also said money to fund regulatory efforts might have to come from the state budget.

Head, who is the assistant minority leader-communications, said he would like to see lawmakers create a state system similar to Kentucky's. "Anyone that wants to grow, they have to have a permit issued by their state government. They have to have GPS coordinates for their growing operations so if the police want to come in and inspect, they know exactly where to go. Then, anything not being grown at those GPS coordinates is illegal."

Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council said they're neutral about industrial hemp in Indiana. The council is an independent state judicial branch agency created by state law.

David Powell, executive director of the council, said, "Our major concern is: Can it be regulated? Is it feasible? Does it make sense for Indiana? What's it look like? Our biggest concern is the only real market in place for marijuana is the illicit drug market. We just want to make sure safeguards are in place."

The people who work the hemp farm tell me they're going to continue to work with lawmakers.

West Lafayette
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 51°
Kokomo
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 51°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
Fowler
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 51°
Williamsport
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 51°
Crawfordsville
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 50°
Frankfort
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 50°
Delphi
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Monticello
Mostly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Logansport
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: °
Rain & storms ahead with Flash Flood Watch with risk of isolated severe storms.
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1007681

Reported Deaths: 16470
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1355212121
Lake664101166
Allen57993801
Hamilton46350465
St. Joseph44397615
Elkhart35949510
Vanderburgh32251480
Tippecanoe27933260
Johnson25107445
Hendricks23897359
Porter22929365
Madison18748409
Clark18557252
Vigo17479303
Monroe15263200
LaPorte15173250
Delaware15073263
Howard14748290
Kosciusko12348148
Hancock11728176
Bartholomew11639180
Warrick11292189
Floyd11108215
Wayne10986253
Grant10082220
Morgan9472176
Boone8926115
Dubois8271131
Henry8229152
Dearborn822393
Noble8031106
Marshall7939135
Cass7546121
Lawrence7457171
Shelby7189119
Jackson698289
Gibson6597115
Harrison649192
Knox6421106
Huntington6395100
DeKalb632399
Montgomery6264111
Miami593398
Putnam581278
Clinton576171
Whitley565755
Steuben562576
Wabash5332104
Jasper532079
Jefferson511297
Ripley500586
Adams482576
Daviess4677114
Scott438974
Greene425196
Wells424888
Clay423360
White418764
Decatur4169102
Fayette406587
Jennings387361
Posey376644
Washington359151
LaGrange359078
Randolph3452100
Spencer340243
Fountain335760
Sullivan329452
Starke317171
Owen314771
Fulton312667
Orange293664
Jay284645
Franklin265643
Perry265452
Rush262432
Carroll261934
Vermillion258654
Parke231426
Pike229243
Tipton228159
Blackford193142
Pulaski183757
Crawford159823
Newton158348
Benton150617
Brown146747
Martin138719
Switzerland135011
Warren121116
Union107016
Ohio84613
Unassigned0540

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events