Senate Bill 241, a measure which would enable the state’s Department of Agriculture to license farmers to cultivate hemp beginning this year, has passed out of the House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee, as well as the House Appropriations Committee, both unanimously. In addition, the measure was approved yesterday through its 2nd reading in the full House of Representatives. The bill now awaits one more House vote, where its expected passage will send it to the governor for final approval, given that it’s already passed the Senate with a 34-1 vote.
Under the proposal farmers would have the option of applying for a 10-acre plot in order to study the viability of various hemp varieties, or they could apply for a larger, full-scale hemp farm – one that wouldn’t be limited by the number of plants, but rather by the THC content in said plants.
With the passage of Amendment 64, which legalized small amounts of marijuana for adults, hemp was removed from the state’s controlled substances list, though a provision of the initiative states that that hemp cultivation is contingent on legislative action – this bill would be that required action necessary to legalize hemp and authorize the state to begin distributing hemp licenses.
Recent congressional research indicates that the hemp market consists of over 25,000 various products. The same research found that America imports over $400 million worth of hemp from other countries.