(A version of this story first appeared on Hemp Industry Daily.)
Montana lawmakers are considering laws that would require medical marijuana growers to limit their operations to indoor facilities and only leave the outdoor area for hemp production.
MMJ producers reject the measure.
A state Senate committee heard from hemp and marijuana growers Thursday about the bill to prevent cross-pollination between hemp and marijuana, the Independent Record of Helena reported.
The bill would require that marijuana be grown indoors in greenhouses or tire houses.
Bill sponsor Senator Tom Jacobson said most marijuana growers are already growing indoors to maximize year-round production, while outdoor Montana farmers could use hemp to diversify their operations.
The Montana Department of Agriculture also supports the bill.
But medical marijuana growers protested, saying the bill would affect the investments they have already made in outdoor facilities.
They also argued that the industry is more lucrative and has been in operation longer than the state hemp program and does not need to change in favor of hemp.
The proposal wouldn’t make grandfather marijuana growers already licensed to grow outside.
Voters in Montana legalized adult marijuana last November, which will make the industry more economically resilient than hemp, according to MMJ makers.
The rules for adult marijuana production in Montana are still under development.
The Montana debate comes as outdoor marijuana and hemp growers are increasingly clashing over pollen drift, creating the conditions for growing disputes in areas with flourishing outdoor cannabis production.
According to researchers at Michigan State University, a single male flower of cannabis can produce 350,000 pollen grains that can travel great distances in the wind.