North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed into law Friday House Bill 1436, a proposal to legalize the production and cultivation of industrial hemp.
The proposal, which passed the state’s Senate with a 46 to 1 vote, and was approved by the House of Representatives with an 87 to 5 vote, will legalize the production and cultivation of hemp, which will be defined as having 0.3% THC or less. The measure establishes a regulatory framework that will allow farmers wanting to grow the crop to become licensed with the state.
The measure also authorizes the state’s Agriculture Department, and North Dakota State University (as well as anyone else who becomes licensed to do so), to import, cultivate and resell hemp for the use of conducting research.
House Bill 1436 clarifies that the state will not be required to receive federal approval, or wait for a change in federal law, to begin implementation of the measure.
Although hemp cultivation as part of a state-sanctioned research program is legal under federal law – and despite congressional research indicating that the U.S. imports half a billion dollars in hemp from other countries – hemp cultivation for commercial purposes is illegal for any purpose.