One of Oregon's first hemp farmers says a lack of seed is making it tough to get going. Josephine County Commissioner Cheryl Walker says that fertile seed is expensive and hard to come by, because the federal government prohibits imports. Harvesting machinery is expensive, and there is no plant in Oregon to process the plants into fiber, seed and oil. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)

Oregon hemp expansion approved by Legislature

SALEM, Ore. — A proposal to ease commercial hemp cultivation has passed the Oregon Legislature.

Under a measure approved by the Senate on Saturday, hemp seed would be classed as an agricultural seed. The state Department of Agriculture must lay out standards, including identification documents. A variety of cannabis, hemp is bred to produce fiber which is used to manufacture paper, fabric, and other products.

The measure passed the Senate unanimously during a special Saturday meeting of the Legislature, as lawmakers moved through the last bills of the 2018 session.

Before the vote, Rep. Carl Wilson said he hopes the bill will help farmers, who he said have struggled with unclear hemp standards.

The measure now goes to Gov. Kate Brown for signing.