Washington State’s House of Representatives has voted unanimously, 97 to 0, to pass Senate Bill 6206, a bill authorizing the state Department of Agriculture to license farmers interested in cultivated hemp for research purposes. Given that the measure has already passed the Senate 48 to 1, it will now go to Governor Jay Inslee for consideration.
“Sending this bill to the governor’s desk now is a very important move for Washington industry,” said House Commerce and Gaming Committee Chairman Chris Hurst (D-Enumclaw). “We have other states that are really pressing forward quickly to get ahead of Washington, and that’s to our detriment, to our state, our farmers.”
Many hemp advocates, though supportive of the move, believe it doesn’t go far enough.
“Marijuana possession is legal for everyone 21+ in our state… it’s an embarrassment that out lawmakers can’t even legalize hemp without requiring it to be for “research” purposes”, says John Wickly, a farmer in eastern Washington who’s waiting for the laws to change so that he can become a licensed hemp cultivator.
Marvin McCale, another farmer from eastern Washington, agrees; “The fact that politicians still put a stigma on hemp, and don’t just legalize it, is a definitive example of why people have no trust in the political system. We don’t need to research hemp, we know the benefits!”
The full text of Senate Bill 6206 can be found by clicking here.