Hemp is in flower at a Colorado test plot in Boulder County in the summer of 2014. (Elana Ashanti Jefferson, Cannabist file)

Opportunity’s knocking: Bill may allow Narragansett Indians to grow hemp

The bill would also allow universities to grow hemp for research or educational purposes.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Narragansett Indian Tribe would be able to grow hemp in Rhode Island under a new bill proposed in the state’s General Assembly.

Rep. Helio Melo, an East Providence Democrat, introduced the legislation on Thursday.

The bill says the tribe historically used hemp products for clothing and housing and wants to use it again as a business opportunity. The bill would also allow universities to grow hemp for research or educational purposes.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says at least 28 states have laws in place related to industrial hemp.

It’s legal to import hemp from abroad, but federal law only allows cultivation of hemp as a research project by states and universities.

Industrial hemp is related to marijuana but has a lower concentration of the drug’s mind-altering ingredient.