Oregon is about to become the seventh state in the nation, and the second in the West, to permit cultivation of industrial hemp. Although it’s similar to marijuana, hemp is not exactly the same thing, in that it doesn’t contain more than trace amounts of psychoactive THC. So it can’t get you high. However, it can produce material for clothing and other uses, and some think research could allow its oil to help ease our greenhouse-gas problems. David Steves’ article in the Eugene Register-Guard notes that Oregon doesn’t have the greatest climate for raising hemp. But farmers in Canada are growing it, so it might work as a niche crop in Oregon. Hawaii is the other Western state that allows hemp cultivation. Despite the state laws permitting hemp, it’s still verboten under federal law — a situation not unlike that of medical marijuana, which was the subject of an interesting story out of California over the weekend by the AP’s Marcus Wohlsen and Lisa Leff.