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Maine approves bill designed to protect producers of hemp

A Calloway, Ky., County farmer, harvests hemp at Murray State University's West Farm in Murray, Ky.Ryan Hermens/The Paducah Sun via Associated Press/File/The Paducah Sun via AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers in Maine have overwhelmingly signed off on a bill designed to make clear that production and sale of hemp-derived food products are allowable in the state.

Democratic Representative Craig Hickman of Winthrop introduced the bill earlier this year after guidance from state regulators to retailers to stop sales of food products containing the hemp derivative cannabidiol, or CBD.

Hickman’s bill is intended to align the definition of hemp in state law with the definition included in the most recent federal Farm Bill. The Farm Bill makes clear hemp is not marijuana.

The Maine House of Representatives approved the bill 116-1, while the Senate signed off by a count of 32-1. The proposal now heads to Democratic Governor Janet Mills for signature. It would take effect as soon as signed.