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For all Virginians

Ed Gillespie’s Support for Hemp: ‘A Real Economic Opportunity’

Ed’s Agriculture and Forestry Agenda, announced last week, outlines his support for industrial hemp farming:

“Industrial hemp is a cash crop and can be found in a variety of products such as paper construction materials, food, personal care items, rope, canvas and nutritional supplements. Ed will work with the federal government, General Assembly and licensing boards to explore industrial hemp production as an option for Virginians.”

It’s a move supported by advocates in the General Assembly and beyond:

The Roanoke Times Editorial Board lauded the announcement, writing:,

“Gillespie’s endorsement is kind of a big deal. Politically, it might reassure skittish legislators in a Republican-controlled General Assembly. Beyond the politics, though, hemp represents a real economic opportunity for rural communities. It’s not just farmers who would benefit by having a new cash crop. Presumably, any hemp processors would want to be near the crops, so here’s an opportunity to create manufacturing jobs in rural Virginia. Gillespie deserves credit for some creative thinking on this one.”

The Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial Board agreed:

“The other day the Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, signaled his support for the commercial farming of hemp. Hemp has a long and storied history. At one point in Colonial times farmers were required by law to grow it, and the federal government encouraged its cultivation in WWII. It can be used for a surprisingly large number of commercial products. As tobacco has lost favor, the agriculture industry has looked on hemp with longing…Gillespie’s commendable willingness to change that is welcome.”

During a recent Facebook Live Q&A, Ed also addressed the question of medical marijuana, saying,

“Medical marijuana is something that I am studying very carefully. I’m talking to a lot of people about it. I am going to have a policy that I’m going to announce this summer on it. I think there has been a growing case for tightly regulated, strictly regulated medicinal marijuana. I’ve not reached any final conclusions. I want to talk to a few more people, but it is something I’m looking at very, very carefully.”

Make sure you’re following Ed on Facebook to be updated when this policy is announced.