Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul criticized the government ban on the cultivation of industrial hemp at a North Dakota campaign. Paul said to a group of more than 300 people in James Town that free-market approach is ideal for protecting the environment according to an AP report.

Paul, known for his bold stand on freedom, non-interventionist foreign policy and free-economy and a liberal and reduced federal administration, received cheers from the group for his support to hemp cultivation.

Cultivating industrial hemp is banned by the federal government in the country though neighboring Canada and several other countries grow it as an industrial crop. Hemp is normally used to make paper, clothing, bio-fuels and as an alternative to oil-based products.  

Though hemp belongs to the same family as marijuana, it doesn't have the psychoactive properties of cannabis as it has a very low level THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) content.

Paul, speaking to the group, said that farmers should be allowed to cultivate hemp as an alternate crop. Though several attempts were made by the farmers and representatives in the state to legalize cultivation of hemp, attempts, so far, have not been successful.  

There is no reason, in a free society, that farmers shouldn't be allowed to raise hemp, Paul said during a Jamestown appearance. Hemp is a good product, Paul added according to the report.

North Dakota is holding its GOP caucus on March 6 and has 28 delegates to offer. However, the caucus is non-binding and hence the delegates are free to vote for whoever they choose in the GOP convention.

Paul's campaign got a good boost from the Maine caucus final county results where he got more than double the votes polled for Romney. He has attracted huge crowds in the state through his free-spirited speeches on less government, free market, individual freedom, less taxes and sound money which finds support with North Dakota's independent-minded GOP voters.