CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Senate is considering protecting industrial hemp from being tagged as an illicit drug.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on a House-passed bill Thursday that would forbid industrial hemp, a botanical cousin to marijuana, from being listed as a controlled substance. It would only go into effect after the Drug Enforcement Agency certifies that at least two other New England states have adopted such legislation.

Supporters say hemp was once an important crop in the United States, but has not been grown in New Hampshire for decades. They say the plant has lower levels of THC, a principal chemical in cannabis, than marijuana and can be used for a variety of non-illicit products.

Copyright 2012 The AP.

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