If voters OK hemp, unclear farmers would grow it

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SEATTLE (AP) -- Residents of Washington, Oregon and Colorado won't just be considering whether to let adults buy pot at state-sanctioned shops when they vote next month on legalizing and taxing marijuana.

They'll be voting on whether to let farmers grow marijuana's far less potent cousin -- hemp -- for clothing, food and biofuel among other uses.

Even if the measures pass, federal law would still prohibit growing the plant. Roy Kaufmann, a spokesman for Oregon's pot initiative, says most farmers aren't interested in breaking federal law, but it was important to include hemp in the ballot measures to encourage changes in federal hemp policy.

Nine states have passed laws allowing for research or hemp cultivation, but it hasn't been commercially grown in the U.S. since the 1950s due to the federal prohibition.

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