RICHMOND – When people think of hemp, marijuana often comes to mind – because the two plants are varieties of cannabis.
But hemp has a variety of uses, from making textiles and building materials to feeding livestock. The settlers at Jamestown grew hemp. So did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. In the 1940s, Henry Ford reportedly built a car body of hemp fiber and ran it on hemp oil.
In the 1950s, however, the United States banned hemp because of its association with marijuana. That prohibition has remained in effect – until now.
Virginia soon will legalize the growing of industrial hemp under legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov....