The Columbian / Associated Press

Oregon stops issuing new permits to grow hemp

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Agriculture has stopped issuing new permits to grow industrial hemp.

The department announced Tuesday it won’t issue permits for the 2016 growing season until it has consulted with policy makers and the industry.

Specifics of the problem were not immediately made clear in the announcement, but the Legislature considered a bill last session to ban hemp growing in the prime marijuana-growing region of southern Oregon due to concerns that cross-pollination could reduce the potency of marijuana grown for medical use and retail sales. The bill failed to pass.

So far the department has issued 13 permits to grow hemp around the state, including two in southern Oregon.