Legislation to establish an industrial hemp pilot program has been given approval by Louisiana’s House of Representatives. The bill’s passage is the first step towards the state’s full acceptance of hemp as a legal agricultural commodity, according to the bill’s primary sponsor, State Representative Jack Montoucet.
House Bill 1085 was given approval on Tuesday with a 67 to 25 vote, sending the measure to the Senate with strong bipartisan support. Specifically, the measure would allow either public higher education institutions or the Department of Agriculture to set up a pilot program to explore whether Louisiana should make hemp cultivation legal for commercial purposes statewide. Montoucret argues that legal hemp cultivation would give farmers another viable option for making a living.
“It could make a difference between them making money and losing money,” Montoucet said during the House’s debate of the bill. “Hemp is very good for the soil. It doesn’t need pesticides or herbicide, so when you look at the level of THC in industrial hemp, you have to come to the conclusion that it’s for agricultural purposes only and it’s certainly not going to play into the unintended consequences.”
If passed by the Senate, House Bill 1085 would go to Governor John Bel Edwards for final consideration.