Two Senate Committees in Arizona have back-to-back approved a bill that would explicitly legalize industrial hemp.
Senate Bill 1337 was approved by the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee on Monday with a 6 to 1 vote. The next day it was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee with a unanimous 10 to 0 vote.
The proposal – which has 29 bipartisan cosponsors – now moves towards a vote in the full Senate, where its passage would send it to the House of Representatives. Passage in the House would send it to Governor Doug Ducey for final consideration.
Specifically, Senate Bill 1337:
1. Authorizes industrial hemp production, processing, manufacturing, distribution andcommerce.2. Designates industrial hemp as an agricultural product that is subject to regulation by theDepartment [of Agriculture]3. Requires the Director to adopt rules for the licensing, production and management of industrialhemp and hemp seed and set fees to recover the cost of licensing, testing and supervisingindustrial hemp production.4.Prohibits the Director from restricting a person from growing industrial hemp based on thelegal status of industrial hemp under federal law.5.Declares the Legislature’s finding that the development and use of industrial hemp can improvethe economy and agricultural vitality of the state and that the production of industrial hemp can be regulated soas not to interfere with strict regulation of controlled substances.
Particularly interesting is section four, which prohibits the state from restricting growers based on the fact that hemp is illegal to cultivate under federal law: Often state-level hemp laws are passed with the opposite provision; that hemp is legal but only once there’s a change in federal law.
Click here for the full text of this measure.