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House approves higher ed, hemp legislation

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In this April 24, 2018, file photo, a hemp plant is pollinated at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

SANTA FE — Two of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s legislative priorities passed the state House on Friday — one that would create “centers of excellence” at state colleges and another to promote the manufacturing of hemp grown in New Mexico.

Both bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 7, co-sponsored by Rep. Micaela Lara Cadena, D-Mesilla, would establish centers of excellence at four New Mexico colleges and universities to promote innovation in bioscience, agriculture and other subject areas. It passed 50-14.

House Bill 581, sponsored by Rep. Derrick Lente, D-Sandia Pueblo, would regulate the production, testing, research, manufacturing and transportation of hemp and similar products. It passed 62-2.

“The hemp industry is a natural fit for New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham said. “It’s about time we help our farmers and manufacturers get into the business, and this landmark legislation helps us establish the framework through which it will grow and, ultimately, flourish

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