Plants maturing on a hemp farm in Pueblo, Colo., in June 2016. (Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press file photo)

You can’t grow legal weed in Rhode Island yet – but you can now grow hemp

New law allows people to obtain license to cultivate hemp for commercial products

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — It’s now legal to grow Rhode Island hemp.

A new law that went into effect Jan. 1 allows people to get a state license to cultivate hemp for clothing, oil, food, fuel and other commercial products.

Lawmakers originally wrote the bill so that members of the Narragansett Indian Tribe could grow hemp, but later expanded the language to allow any licensed grower.

The legislation was signed into law in July by Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo. It also allows universities to grow hemp for educational and research purposes with the approval of state health officials.

It’s already legal to import hemp from abroad, but federal law only allows cultivation of hemp for research.

Industrial hemp is related to marijuana but has a lower concentration of the drug’s mind-altering ingredient — less than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.