FILE -- Hemp Field

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and a key legislator say proposed rules for hemp production will help position North Carolina farmers to compete and thrive in the emerging industry.

Troxler, Sen. Brent Jackson and other senators on Wednesday unveiled the new state regulations in Jackson's annual "Farm Act" legislation.

The hemp proposal comes after a new federal law permits wide-scale production following pilot programs were initiated in North Carolina and other states. Hemp producers would still be licensed and could only grow hemp that contains a very low amount of THC, the compound that gives marijuana its high.

Industrial hemp can be used for paper, clothing, construction materials and biofuels. Troxler says interest in hemp is surging in North Carolina, with over 600 licensed growers and 400 registered processors.

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